Honey Springs Battlefield Memorial Park has gained national prestige as being listed on the National Map of Civil War Sites. On July 17, 1863, smoke billowed and cannons roared when nearly 6,000 Confederates were defeated by 3,400 Federals just 3 1/2 miles northeast of Checotah, Oklahoma.
In 1990, the site was listed by the Secretary of the Interior as one of the 25 most significant spots for preservation in the United States and one of the top three west of Mississippi. The battle was important as one in which Native Americans representing 13 tribes fought on one or both sides and where the 1st Kansas Colored Infantry was able to clearly demonstrate the fighting abilities of African-Americans when it defeated three veteran Texas cavalry regiments.
Every three years, the Oklahoma Historical society, the Friends of Honey Springs and the city of Checotah host and plan a reenactment of the battle interpreted by 1,500 participants, the state's largest such event. The 1993 reenactment was chosen Oklahoma's Event of the year.
The battlefield's 1000+ acres with 6 walking trails contain 55 interpretive signs. A visitor information center is located at the Battlefield.
The Battle ...
The Battle of Honey Springs was one of the largest and most famous Oklahoma battles of the Civil War. On July 2, 1863, Stand Watie's confederate forces were defeated at the first battle of Cabin Creek trying to prevent a federal supply train, traveling the Texas road, from reaching Fort Gibson. Col. Watie and his remaining troops joined Gen. Cooper's troops at the Honey Springs supply depot where the Texas Road crossed Elk Creek two miles east of present Rentiesville. Gen. Cooper had perhaps 4,000 men with probably another 2,000 Confederates available from Fort Smith. Gen. Cooper decided to get the 200 troops from Fort Smith and attack Fort Gibson, against the advice of Col. Watie, who felt the Union forces had superior weapons and ammunition. Union scouts learned of the plan and Gen. James G. Blunt marched with about 3,000 men (including another regiment) to effect a surprise attack on the Confederates before their reinforcements could get there from Fort Smith. On July 16 and 17, the Federals attacked the advance Confederate force at Elk Creek and drove them back over the McIntosh Bridge to Honey Springs where they were defeated. Gen. Cooper blamed the defeat on his inferior ammunition and weapons, but he had made several tactical blunders and was removed from command. Stand Watie replaced him and was raised to a Brigadier General.
Hours: Open daily [except Monday and Holidays] from 8 to 5; Sundays 1 to 5. The visitors center is open at 9 am Tuesday-Saturday and at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
Address: 1863 Honey Springs Battlefield Road (7 mi. n & e)
Our Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Come visit us in Checotah, Oklahoma