Friday, October 24, 2008
Battle of Honey Springs, Oklahoma - Part Eight
This view shows the trace of the old Texas Road at the point it crossed through the center of the primary Confederate lines during the Battle of Honey Springs.
Eyewitness accounts indicate that the battle raged along this position for about two hours until a bizarre series of events determined the outcome of the day.
According to Union reports, the 1st Kansas Volunteer Infantry (Colored), an African American regiment, was heavily engaged with the center of the Confederate line when suddenly a unit to its right, the 2nd Indian Home Guards made an incorrect adjustment of their line and moved in front of the infantrymen from Kansas. The commander of the Kansas regiment ordered his men to hold their fire until the 2nd Indian could be moved back into a proper position.
The Confederates saw this movement and, mistakenly, thought the Union lines were beginning to retreat. Colonel Bass, commanding the 20th and 29th Texas Cavalry regiments (dismounted), ordered his men to charge. As the Southern troops came storming out of their covered position, they charged right into the face of the loaded muskets of the 1st Kansas. The Union infantrymen fired a volley literally into the face of the charging Texans, shattering their attack and forcing them back.
This caused the center of the Confederate line to bow or bend backwards, leading the men on the right of Cooper's line to believe they were unsupported. As a result, the Confederate right flank began a withdrawal from its initial position. The entire Southern line collapsed and the Confederates began to stream back toward the bridge and crossings over Elk Creek, fighting as they went.
The Union troops pushed forward and an intense fight now began for control of the Texas road bridge and adjacent fords.
Our series will continue. You can also read more by visiting our site in development on the battle at www.exploresouthernhistory.com/honeysprings1.