My 2008 book, The Battle of Massard Prairie: The 1864 Confederate Attacks on Fort Smith, Arkansas, is now available as an instant download for the Amazon Kindle reading device or Amazon's free Kindle software for your computer or smart phone. The instant download is priced at only $4.95.
Fought on July 27, 1864, the Battle of Massard Prairie was the largest Civil War action in the immediate Fort Smith area and resulted in the virtual annihilation of a battalion of the 6th Kansas Cavalry in a devastating open field attack by a Confederate cavalry force.
The battle developed when Confederate General Douglas Cooper learned that a battalion of the Union 6th Kansas was camped in the "Diamond" or "Picnic" grove on Massard Prairie, outside the fortifications that surrounded the City of Fort Smith. He sent General Richard Gano and a large mounted force to attack the Federals, hoping to draw them back into an ambush at the Devil's Backbone ridge south of Fort Smith.
When Gano's cavalry force assembled just across the line in what is now Oklahoma, however, he realized that he had fewer men than expected. He took the initiative and altered his plan of attack, deciding instead to sweep down on the unsuspecting Union soldiers from three directions at daybreak on the morning of July 27, 1864,
The attack was a brilliant success. The Union line of battle crumbled almost as soon as it was formed and Gano's force of Texas, Choctaw and Chickasaw cavalry chased the Federals for more than one mile across the open prairie. By the time the smoke had cleared, the 6th Kansas Cavalry had lost 144 of the roughly 200 men camped on Massard Prairie. The Confederates lost 34 men in the battle.
In addition, Gano's men captured 200 Sharps rifles, 400 six-shooters, horses, supplies, camp equipment and more. The action was described in military reports of the time as "a right gallant little affair."
The Kindle download can be ordered by clicking the ad at the upper left. You can also learn morea bout the Battle of Massard Prairie by visiting www.exploresouthernhistory.com/massardindex.