Honey Springs Battlefield - Checotah, Oklahoma
Posted by: gparkes
N 35° 32.807 W 095° 28.459
15S E 275703 N 3936498
Quick Description: On July 17, 1863, this battle was fought in Indian Territory.
Location: Oklahoma, United States
Date Posted: 12/2/2009 11:12:53 AM
Waymark Code: WM7TP4
The area around the Honey Springs Battlefield was a Confederate depot. Located on the Texas Road, the Confederate was strategically located. In command of the area was General Douglas H. Cooper over 5,600 troops. Having control over this area gave the Confederate Army free reign across northern portion of the Indian Territory to Fort Smith, Arkansas.
In the autumn of 1862, Colonel William A. Phillips, challenged the Confederate authority in the Indian Territory. Surging forward into the Indian Territory, this was the first attempt of the Union to regain control of the region.
Getting word of an impending attack on Fort Gibson, Confederate troops abandoned the fort. This allowed Federal troops to take Fort Gibson without force.
As spring of 1863 arrived, Colonel Phillips received word of Confederate plans in the area. First, Confederate troops under the command of Brigadier General William L. Cabell from Fort Smith, Arkansas, were on the move to join the troops at Honey Springs Depot. Second, Confederate troops wanted to drive the Federal troops away from Indian Territory. That meant expelling the troops at Fort Gibson. Third, the combined force from Arkansas and at Honey Springs would join and take on the Federal forces in the area. Rather than allow this, Colonel Phillips made the decision to go on the offensive, and attack Honey Springs.
In July, General Blunt, now reinforced by troops from Kansas and Colorado went on the attack. General Blunt’s troops had the best equipment, well armed, good uniforms, and generally had good rations, as they were supplied from Fort Scott. His troops numbered about 3000 and were now emboldened by word of victories at both Gettysburg and Vicksburg. In comparison, the troops under the command of General Douglas, were poorly armed and ill equipped.
The battle of Honey Springs commenced on July 17, 1863. The battlefield was a densely wooded area, split by the Texas Road. Splitting the forces from each other was a deep creek, with a single bridge crossed the creek. The Union forces decidedly took victory in the battle, dispersing the Confederate forces from the field, allowing the depot to be burned to the ground.
This was the single largest battle in Indian Territory, and determined the future for the area. With all major Confederate troops dispersed from the northern portion of Indian Territory, Union forces could now focus their attention on northwest Arkansas, and particularly Fort Smith.
Only one other engagement would endanger Union troops. The Second Battle at Cabin Creek, with troops under the command of Brigadier General Stand Watie overtook a supply train worth $1.5 million. The supplies were enroute to Fort Gibson, however, the supplies were soon replaced and this battle had little impact to operations.
From I-40, take exit 264B then N on US69 2.5 mi to "Bus US69" exit then follow signs 4 mi to site.
PO Box 362
Checotah, OK USA
County / Borough / Parish: McIntosh County
Year listed: 1970
Historic (Areas of) Significance: Event, Military
Periods of significance: 1850-1874
Historic function: Defense, Battle Site
Current function: Agriculture/Subsistence, Landscape, Park
Privately owned?: yes
Primary Web Site: [Web Link]
Secondary Website 1: [Web Link]
Season start / Season finish: Not listed
Hours of operation: Not listed
Secondary Website 2: Not listed
National Historic Landmark Link: Not listed
Please give the date and brief account of your visit. Include any additional observations or information that you may have, particularly about the current condition of the site. Additional photos are highly encouraged, but not mandatory.
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