Sunday, July 17, 2011
A Fight In Indian Territory
Confederate General Douglas Hancock Cooper had command of troops made up mostly of the Five Civilized Tribes. Cooper was to meet with soldiers of General William Cabell’s command from Fort Smith, Arkansas. Cooper moved toward Honey Springs a Confederate supply depot in the Indian Territory with plans to rest and link up with Cabell. Union General James G Blunt received information about the Confederate movement and decided to attack them. On the morning of July 17th 1863 the battle opened with light skirmishing, which exposed that the Confederates troops had wet gunpowder. The Union troops began a full scale attack in the afternoon, when a heavy rain increased the Confederate’s gunpowder problems. Blunt ordered his 1st Kansas Colored Infantry, under the command of Colonel James M William to attack. The Confederates held there ground and the 1st Kansas withdrew. Cooper’s men moved back toward the depot at Honey Springs for more ammunition, and the Union troops continued to engage them. Making a stand on the bridge over Elk Creek, Cooper’s men fell back further, allowing Union soldiers to turn his left flank. The Confederate troops fell back another half mile, near the Depot, where the Chickasaw and Choctaw regiments made a strong stand while the rest of Cooper’s men retreated.
Union troops moved into Honey Springs, where they burned all the supplies in the depot. The battle was a Union victory. The Battle of Honey Spring was the largest fought in Indian Territory, and opened the way for Union capture of Fort Smith.
A recommended web site on this subject is HONEY SPRINGS, BATTLE OF