Thursday, November 6, 2008
Battle of Honey Springs, Oklahoma - Part Thirteen
This is the monument area at the southern end of the Honey Springs Battlefield. Memorials here honor soldiers of both sides and all races.
The monuments stand on the slope of a ridge near the site of the Honey Springs Depot. This entire area was a massive Confederate supply center at the time of the battle. General Cooper was gathering material here for his planned move north against the Federals at Fort Gibson (Blunt) and elsewhere in the region.
As the Federals pushed south, fighting the resisting Confederates, Cooper ordered the supplies that could be removed quickly taken out and the rest of them burned. Union eyewitnesses reported seeing massive clouds of smoke rising over the depot as they fought their way across the battlefield.
Realizing that the battle was lost, General Cooper finally ended the fighting and pulled his men from the battlefield. Instead of retreating south as expected, he moved his men east, believing that this might slow any Federal pursuit by creating the ruse that he was moving to effect a junction with reinforcements coming up from Fort Smith.
The Union force, however, was exhausted from its long march down from Fort Gibson and the day of fighting. General Blunt ordered his men to take up positions on the battlefield for the night and, other than occasional skirmish fire, the fighting came to a close.
Our series on the Battle of Honey Springs, Oklahoma, will continue.