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NY Times re IT Battles Jan-Feb 1862

Here are three articles reporting on the fights betweeen Opothleyoholo and Gen. Cooper:

Source: The New York Times, January 3, 1862, p. 12 of Section 1


From the Ft. Smith (Ark.) Times, Dec. 15

We learn from Major Clark, of Texas, direct from the camp of Col. Cooper that a battle took place on the 9th, on Bushy Creek, near the Verdigris River, about 180 miles from this place, between the forces of Col Cooper and the enemy’s under Opothleholo, estimated at 4,000 or 5, 000. Col. Cooper had only about 1,300 men.

The enemy attacked Col. Cooper about 11 o’clock, and the fight continued all day until sundown. Col. Simm’s Texas Regiment fought with great bravery, and the Chocktaws, Chickasaws and Creeks fought like tigers. In fact, it was one of the hardest fought battles that has taken place in the country.

The enemy followed Col. Cooper several miles, and attacked him with great fury. Col. Cooper drove them back to the woods, a distance of two miles. A large number of Cherokees were with Opothleholo; likewise about 150 Seminoles. Col. Drew, with his men, who remained with him, fought well and did good service. The Choctaws took about 150 scalps, and the Chickasaws nearly 50. The Creeks did not scalp any, because the enemy were their own people.

From the same, Dec. 16

We learn that Col. McIntosh, in command of the troops on this frontier, has ordered eight companies of Col. Young’s Regiment, five companies of Col. Greer’s Regiment, and Col. Whitfield’s Battalion, to the assistance of Col. Cooper, against Opothleyholo and his Jayhawking allies.


Source: The New York Times, January 14, 1862, p.1


December 1861

Dear Fathers of the Delaware Nation:

I am glad to hear of the love you have for the “Muscogee Children.” Your talk is good. I and my brave boys, of all the tribes I have with me, have received it, and will listen to you as our friend. Fathers, I have to tell you that some of our own tribe, and the “Choctaws,”“Chickasaws”, and “Cherokees,” are helping the South, their worst enemies. But I have some brave and true-hearted children, who have proved themselves in two pretty severe battles. The last battle was fought, Bu-wa-ska-wee, in the neighborhood of James McDaniels, and the last one on “Red Fork,” and we were conquerors both times. Now, Fathers, we ask for all the help you can give us. Send me two or three thousand men, if you can spare them, and by all means send me some powder and lead. We are getting scarce of ammunition. You must forgive me for not answering your letter before. I have just received it; but it makes me rejoice to hear of your kindness --- to be willing to give us all the help you can. Fathers of the Delawares, I want you to send me all the guns you can spare; some of my men have none. But, Fathers, although I said we won two battles, I want more help; more than ever because our bad men. We have whipped two hundred whites; have got afraid of us, and called on Gen. Pike, their head Southern man, for more help, and I understand a great many are preparing to give us battle, and I fear without more help we cannot as tight a battle as I would wish. We hear that our enemies had two thousand men to fight us. I need al the help you can send me.


Muscogee, Chief Warrior


Source: The New York Times, February 9, 1862, p. 2



From the Leavenworth Conservative, Jan. 29

The loyal Indians, who are still here awaiting the arrival of the “Great Father,” Mr. Dole, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, having expressed a desire to see Gen. Lane, an interview was held at the Planter’s House. Besides Gen. Land and the Indian Chiefs, there were present Col. Wm. G. Coffin, Superintendent of the Southern Indian Tribes; Maj. G. A. Cutler, Agent of the Creeks, Indian Territory; Major Fielding Johnson, Agent of the Delawares, Kansas; Maj. John Burbank, Agent of the Iowas, Nebraska; and Major W. F. M. Arny, Agent of the Apaches, New Mexico.

Jurant Memday, a Negro, acted as the interpreter, and Charley Anderson, a Negro, acted as the Seminole interpreter.

In answer to inquiries from Gen. Lane, the Chiefs gave an account of the three fights.

As soon as the Secessionists commenced enlisting their men, the loyal Indians withdrew. They went into camp and were first attacked at Bed Fork. The enemy was made of Texans, Choctaws, and half-breed Creeks, more than 3,000 in all. The Union Indians did not exceed 2,000. The result of this first engagement was a decided Union victory.

The enemy was pursued five miles and their loss was very great, fifty-five having been found dead on the field. Our men religiously respected the property of the rebels, took care of their women and children, and conducted the campaign much more like Christians than the whites have done who claim that character.

But rebel Indians, like rebel whites, are barbarians still. The houses and corn of the Union men were burned and their homes desolated.

As soon as our men learned this fact, they killed two white rebels whom they had taken as prisoners. These Indians do not read the daily papers, and were not aware and were not aware of the fact that that the true way to treat the burners of the houses and the murderers of women was to “swear them in.”

The second battle was more severe than the first, coming upon us quite unexpectedly. We had crossed the Arkansas, were near the Verdigris, but still in the Cherokee Nation. Our force was the same as before, and the same, except losses, as we had in the third battle. The rebels were led by Gen. Cooper and Colonels McIntosh and Drew. While our men were greatly scattered, the main body near “Jim McDaniel’s Place,” the rest in different localities, we heard the war-whoop and placed ourselves in as good a position as possible to receive the attack of the rebels. Our position proved to be the better one, and we again succeeded in defeating the foe. Nine Union men were killed. Thirty rebels were found buried in hole after the battle was over.

In the third contest the enemy had been increased in number, while our men were worse prepared than in either of the former engagements. We had thought that the fighting was over, and had no anticipation of the enemy gaining accessions. Our men were greatly scattered, having gone out to kill game, hunt for food and select camping grounds. Only a few of us could fight.

Opothleyoholo led us in this fight. We whipped several small parties, but the main body were much too strong for us, and we did not engage them. We were so badly scattered that we do not know the amount of our loss. When we left many scattered parties had not come up, and no tidings had been received of them. The fight lasted from 10 o’clock in the morning till dark. Of the two hundred and fifty Seminoles engaged in the fight fifteen were killed.

After the last contest the Indians retreated to Kansas with as much rapidity as possible. They are now living in the timber, with only bits of tents to protect them from the cold.

As soon as Gen. Hunter learned of these disasters he forwarded 28,000 rations blankets and ammunition in great quantity.

These abundant supplies have doubtless reached them ere this, and placed the Indians in a comfortable position.

In answer to Gen. Lane, the chiefs stated that when they left the Indian country there was a great abundance of corn; they fear it has since either been burned or carried to the rebel army. There had been no snow, and there was plenty of grass and forage. Cattle, mules and ponies were plenty among the tribes.

Opothleyoholo believes that John Ross is still a Union man. He has managed his affairs so adroitly that the Cherokees have not been molested by either side. He says nearly all his tribe, the Creeks, will come to Kansas.

The Choctaws are all rebels. They are as large a nation as the Creeks.

Cotton of the best quality is raised in the Indian country. At present no more is raised than is wanted for home consumption.

The Chiefs have sent word to the negroes to come up here and join them; if they cannot, then to join the Union troops as soon as they reach that country.

They say their men are anxious to fight, if they can only be assured that their women and children will be provided for.

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NY Times re IT Battles Jan-Feb 1862
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