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Civil War Salvos

December 19, 2001

Historian's Notes

I know, I know; I can hear you saying, "another Civil War story?" Well, if you want something different why donít you write it?! There, that stopped your sassy pants didn't it!! The Civil War was an incredible event, severely disrupting the lives of almost everyone in the nation, especially those in the Indian Nation as Oklahoma was sometimes called. There are countless stories to tell and I feel that as many of them as possible should make their way to the general public.


Chronicles of Oklahoma (Spr. 1970). 48 (1).

Almanac Transcript

Civil War salvos this week on the Oklahoma Audio Almanac.

Hello, Iím Steven Knoche Kite.

The Civil War battle of Honey Springs was one of the largest such events to occur in Indian Territory and a major victory for the north or Union forces. Because of their victory there, as well as their control of Forts Gibson and Smith, the northern forces in Indian Territory held control of most of the northern sections of the land. In order to weaken that control and to shake up the confidence of pro-northern supporters, Confederate Colonel Stand Waite led a raiding party of 500 to 800 cavalry troops through northern held parts of Indian Territory. The raiders led by Waite terrorized villages and burned down houses and holdings belonging to those Cherokee Tribal leaders friendly to the northern cause.

In the town of Park Hill Waite and his men burned the house of Cherokee Chief John Ross kidnapping and killing numerous slaves in the process. In Tahlequah the raiders rode through the streets shooting indiscriminately through store and house windows. The Confederate raiders were fast, intelligent and knew the land well, they continued their raid for almost a month and throughout the entire period were able to elude northern forces. Finally, in a desperate attempt to end the destructive raids federal troops embarked on an all out effort to locate and destroy the Confederate cavalry.

It was in this week of 1863, on a frozen December day, that the two forces collided near the junction of Barren Creek and the Illinois River. The Union troops met a well entrenched Confederate force and The Battle of Barren Creek commenced. With a greater number of men and the topographical advantage, the Confederate raiders should have held their ground. The federal troops, however, carried with them a field howitzer and it was this artillery that turned the tide for the north. Unable to withstand the powerful shot and shell from the cannon, the southern troops fled south ending forever their days of raiding in Indian Territory. In the scale of Civil War conflicts The Battle of Barren Creek was minute yet it had larger consequences. The battle effectively put an end to southern incursions into northern Indian Territory and signaled the northern control of the region for the remaining years of the war.

Barren Creek battling this week on the Almanac.

I'm Steven Knoche Kite.

The Oklahoma Audio Almanac is a joint production of the Oklahoma State University Library and Oklahoma's Public Radio.

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