This morning I picked up my copy of "The Civil War in the Indian Territory" by Rampp and Rampp. I couldn't make it through the first dozen pages! The errors are incredible to me. How did this book get published? From the first dozen pages I could give literally dozens of inaccuracies and misrepresentations that I think nearly everyone who has studied the war in the Indian Territory and/or frequent this message board could recognize.
The map on the inside front cover shows Rhea's Mill, Arkansas south of Ft Smith, AR. The map on page viii shows North Fork Town north of the North Canadian. The map facing page 11 incorrectly locates Cowskin Prairie and Spavinaw Creek, shows Locust Grove on the west side of the Grand, shows Tahlequah and Park Hill near where Locust Grove should be, shows Bayou Menard north of Ft Gibson, and shows Mackey's Salt Works on the Arkansas below the Illinois and Canadian. Minor details?
On page 7, they state that Opothleyahola's Loyal Creeks were known as Pin Indians and that name was later applied to all Union Indians. Of course, the term "Pins" actually originates with the members of the Cherokee Keetoowah Society who wore pins in their lapels. The 3rd Indian Home Guard, made up almost entirely of defectors from Drew's Cherokee Mtd Rifles, was called the Pin Regiment.
Also on page 7, they state that at Round Mountain there were six companies of the 1st Choctaw and Chickasaw Mtd Rifles led by Maj. John Jumper. Jumper was, of course, the leader of the Confederate Seminoles.
On page 8, they state that the defection of Drew's Regt "turned the tide of battle". Some of Drew's Regt defected to Opothleyahola's camp but most just abandoned their camp but this happened the night before the battle. Regarding Chustotalash, they say the Confederates surrounded Opothleyahola, which they did not -- it was a frontal assault. They also speak of the attack of the Confederate Indians charging Opothleyahola -- the Indian troops hadn't arrived when the attack was made.
On page 9, speaking of the battle of Pea Ridge, they state the Drew is commanding the Creeks. Drew, of course, commanded the 1st Cherokee Mtd Rifles and the Creeks were not at the battle.
On page 12, regarding the 1st Indian Expedition, they state that Watie's and Drew's Regts were camped on Spavinaw Creek. Drew's and Watie's Regts were never camped together for fear of open warfare between the two. Drew's was at Locust Grove. Watie's was on Spavinaw.
There are numerous statements that are at best suspect. Some I consider to be misleading and others that I consider outright misrepresentations.
I'm sad to say this is typical of our published "history" of the Indian Territory in the war. I don't know how many times I've read of Phillip's capture of Ft Davis describing booming artillery or overrunning the Confederates and the like. Ft Davis was unoccupied and as an after thought Phillip's troops burned it on their way back to Ft Gibson from the Creek Agency.
What should we do? Should we identify and innumerate the errors in the published materials? Do we ignore them?