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Union troops defeat Confederates at Honey Springs, Indian Territory 
By Air National Guard Master Sgt. Cheresa D. Theiral 

On July 17, 1863, Soldiers from the First, Second, and Third Indian, First Kansas (colored), detachments of the Second Colorado, Sixth Kansas, and Third Wisconsin Cavalry, Hopkins' battery of four guns, two sections of Second Kansas Battery, and four howitzers attached to the cavalry defeated Confederate troops at Elk Creek, in Honey Springs, Indian Territory (now Oklahoma).

Called the Affair at Elk Creek by the Confederates, it was the largest of more than 107 documented hostile encounters in the Indian Territory, involving 2,800 Union troops and 3,400-5,100 Confederates.

The Battle of Honey Springs is considered in both size and importance the Gettysburg of the Civil War in Indian Territory, and is rumored to have produced heavy Confederate casualties.

 I have no one to censure or praise, as every officer and soldier tried to do his duty,” wrote Maj. J. Nelson Smith, Second Colorado Infantry, Phillips' Brigade, to higher headquarters.

Several first-hand accounts of the battle, including Smith’s report, are available here, courtesy of the Oklahoma Historical Society.

Sources: Oklahoma Historical Society, National Park Service

7/1/2015