|Monuments at Honey Springs Battlefield|
Confederate commander Brig. Gen. Douglas H. Cooper had ordered Col. Tandy Walker's 1st Cherokee and Choctaw Regiment up to Chimney Mountain the previous afternoon, along with Capt. L.E. Gillett's squadron of Texas cavalry. They were there to watch for the approach of the Union column and resist its approach to the main Southern camps along Elk Creek at Honey Springs in the Creek Nation.
|Chimney Mountain, Oklahoma (upper left)|
About daylight on the morning of the 17th, the advance of the enemy came in sight of the position occupied by the Choctaws and Texans; commenced a brisk fire upon them, which was returned and followed by a charge, which drove the enemy back upon the main column. Lieutenant Heiston reported the morning cloudy and damp, many of the guns failing to fire in consequence of the very inferior quality of the powder, the cartridges becoming worthless even upon exposure to the damp atmosphere. - Brig. Gen. Douglas H. Cooper, CSA (August 12, 1863).
The primary force engaged by the Confederates at Chimney Mountain was the Sixth Kansas Cavalry. Lt. Col. William T. Campbell reported that the fighting began just as the sun was rising:
|Brig. Gen. D.H. Cooper, CSA|
Campbell brought up the full force of his regiment and the Confederates began to fall back. According to General Cooper, a heavy rain began to fall as the Union resistance stiffened, causing even more problems with the inferior ammunition with which his men had been equipped. Unable to fire their weapons, they began to fall back "slowly and in good order to camp, for the purpose of obtaining a fresh supply of ammunition and preparing for the impending fight."
The Sixth Kansas Cavalry lost 1 killed and 5 wounded (2 minor) in the skirmish at Chimney Mountain. Confederate losses were not reported.
|Place where Union forces halted prior to the battle.|
When the Federals came within sight of these men, the halted to rest briefly and deploy for battle. Lt. T.B. Heiston, Cooper's aide-de-camp, commanded the skirmishers and soon reported back to the Confederate commander that the Union force was deploying and appearing to number 4,000 men. The actual number was around 3,000.
|Where the Confederate line formed in the brush|
While the column was closing up, I went forward with a small party to examine the enemy's position, and discovered that they were concealed under the cover of brush awaiting my attack. I could not discover the location of their artillery, as it was masked in the brush. While engaged in this reconnaissance, one of my escort was shot. - Maj. Gen. James G. Blunt, USA (July 26, 1863).
The two main forces were now within sight of each other and began to deploy for the coming engagement. I will have more on the Battle of Honey Springs later today in a second post. Until then, you can read more at www.exploresouthernhistory.com/honeysprings1.