THE CIVIL WAR IN INDIAN TERRITORY:
A Multicultural Conflict
November 5–12, 2012
Historian Guides: Ed Bearss and Neil Mangum
Nowhere was the long, bitter struggle of the Civil War better demonstrated than in Indian Territory (Oklahoma). Here, Union redmen, whites, and blacks clashed with similar Confederate opponents. The war splintered the Five Indian Nations into Unionist and Confederate camps, destroying much of their culture, and giving rise to blood feuds.
The campaign of 1861 forced the pro-Unionist Creeks under aged leader Opothleyahola to flee Indian Territory, thus giving the Confederacy early control of the region. But by 1862, Union incursion began to push back Confederates. Victories at Locust Grove and Cabin Creek followed by successes at Pea Ridge and Prairie Grove added to overall Union dominance.
The major battle of the Civil War in Indian Territory occurred at Honey Springs in 1863, where a multi-racial Union force crushed a similarly composed Confederate army. In short order came the fall of Fort Gibson, and then the fall of Fort Smith, the "Little Gibraltar on the Arkansas."
Union strangleholds on the Territory continued throughout 1864. The one bright note for the Confederacy was the rise of Cherokee Indian leader, Brigadier General Stan Watie, whose cavalry drubbed a Union wagon train at the Second Battle of Cabin Creek. In June 1865, he surrendered his forces at Doaksville, Indian Territory, the last Confederate general to do so.
Only HistoryAmerica TOURS can take you to this little-traveled Civil War venue with the incomparable team of Neil Mangum and the "Pied Piper of History," Ed Bearss.
Cost: $2,995 Single Occupancy, $2,675 Double Occupancy
Click to request a 2012 printed Travel Guide.
Monday, November 5
Gather in Tulsa for a briefing and welcome dinner hosted by Ed Bearss, Neil Mangum and HistoryAmerica TOURS.
Tuesday, November 6
We take up the "flight of Opothleyahola" from Indian Territory in 1861, first at the Round Mountains battle, and then at the battle of Caving Bank. Here Confederates including Texans, Choctaws-Chickasaws, Seminoles and Creeks struggled to route Opothleyahola's Creek-Seminole camps posted along Bird Creek. This afternoon we follow the Confederate pursuit to the decisive battlefield at Chustenahlah fought near the present town of Skiatook. Overnight in Tulsa.
Wednesday, November 7
This morning finds us east of Tulsa at the 1862 skirmish at Locust Grove, a Confederate disaster. Later it's a tour of the two battles of Cabin Creek, a Union victory in 1862 and a Confederate victory in 1864 under Cherokee leader Brigadier General Stan Watie. We will tour the Baxter Springs Battlefield in southeastern Kansas, and our final stop today is Newtonia, Missouri, scene of two major rearguard actions, one in 1862 and the other in 1864. Overnight in Neosho, Missouri.
Thursday, November 8
The important northwest Arkansas battles of Pea Ridge and Prairie Grove are the subjects today. Brigadier General Samuel R. Curtis defeated Confederate forces under Major General Earl Van Dorn at Pea Ridge, thus preserving Missouri for the Union. The December 7, 1862, battle at Prairie Grove was another Union triumph, helping to pave the way for Union occupation of Indian Territory. Overnight in Bentonville, Arkansas.
Friday, November 9
We return to Oklahoma, first stopping at the diminutive Polson Cemetery and the final resting place for Stan Watie. Turning southwest we halt near the site of the 1862 battlefield known as Old Fort Wayne or Beaty's Prairie. At Park Hill, "the Athens of the Cherokee Nation" in Tahlequah, we visit the George Murrell House, a surviving antebellum-style mansion and the gravesite of Cherokee Chief John Ross. En route to historic Fort Gibson, we visit the site of the battlefield of Bayou Menard. Overnight in Muskogee, Oklahoma.
Saturday, November 10
The morning features the largest battle of the Civil War in Indian Territory, the Union victory at Honey Springs. We have a comprehensive tour of Ft. Smith, Arkansas, and then travel to our overnight in Antlers, Oklahoma.
Sunday, November 11
Today's first stops are Ft. Towson and then the ghost town of Doaksville, surrender site of Confederate forces under Brigadier General Stan Watie. We visit the Confederate installation located at Boggy Depot, which also was a stop on the Texas Road and Butterfield Overland Trail. Return to Tulsa for our farewell dinner.
Monday, November 12
Depart at your leisure following breakfast.