|The engagement at Poison
Springs, Arkansas on April 18, 1864 was another instance of atrocities
against African American troops.
|Union Major General
Frederick Steele, during a diversionary campaign south of Little Rock,
Arkansas, sent a party of 1000 troops on a foraging expedition. Among Steele’s
troops was the 1st Kansas Colored Infantry. While returning from their
successful quest for supplies, the detachment encountered a significantly
larger Confederate force at Poison Spring. After intense fighting, the
Confederates prevailed. The 1st Kansas sustained very heavy losses in this
skirmish—117 killed out of 182 men who fought (64%). Many of the fatalities
were the result of intense racial hatred. The Confederates and their Choctaw
allies killed the African-American soldiers as they attempted to surrender or
as they laid wounded on the battlefield.