Battle of Honey Springs virtual memorial event set for July 18

07/13/2020 02:30 PM
CHECOTAH – The Honey Springs Battlefield near Checotah will host a memorial event honoring the 157th anniversary of the Battle of Honey Springs at 10:30 a.m. on July 18. People can join the virtual event online at

The event commemorates the largest of approximately 107 documented Civil War military engagements throughout Indian Territory, in present-day Oklahoma. The Battle of Honey Springs took place on July 17, 1863, just two weeks after the famous Battles of Gettysburg and Vicksburg. Approximately 9,000 Union and Confederate troops, mostly Native Americans and African Americans, were involved in the battle. Of those, approximately 200 total casualties were suffered. After a decisive Union victory, Confederates lost control of Indian Territory north of the Arkansas River. The Union victory also ensured federal control of Fort Gibson in Indian Territory and Fort Smith in Arkansas.

The Cherokee Regiment and 1st Cherokee Mounted Rifles fought on Confederate side while the 1st and 2nd Indian Home Guard, made up of men from Cherokee, Choctaw, Seminole, Muscogee (Creek) and Chickasaw tribes, fought on the Union side.

The battleground is about 4.5 miles northeast of what is now Checotah and 15 miles south of Muskogee. It was also about 20 miles southwest of Fort Gibson.

At the start of the American Civil War, for cultural and economic reasons, all of the Five Civilized Tribes’ governments in Indian Territory opted to side with the Confederate States of America, raising Native troops under the leadership of General Douglas H. Cooper. They drove out pro-Union Creek Indian forces after a short campaign culminating in the Battle of Chustenahlah. However, by 1863, Confederate forces began to weaken and lose ground in eastern Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma Historical Society manages the battle site. In 2013, the National Park Service named the battlefield a National Historic Landmark, and the Civil War Trust and its partners have acquired and preserved 84 acres of the battlefield.

Call 918-473-5572 or email for information.


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