Honey Springs, OK

Date(s): July 17, 1863

Location: Please click on link below for map.

Checotah, McIntosh, Oklahoma, United States

Campaign(s): Operations to Control Indian Territory [1863]

Battles in Campaign:



  • Union: Maj. Gen. James G. Blunt

  • Confederate: Brig. Gen. Douglas H. Cooper

Principal Forces:

  • Union: District of the Frontier

  • Confederate: 1st Brigade, Native American troops


  • Union and Confederate troops had frequently skirmished in the vicinity of Honey Springs Depot.

  • The Union commander in the area, Maj. Gen. James G. Blunt, correctly surmised that Confederate forces, mostly Native American troops under the command of Brig. Gen. Douglas H. Cooper, were about to concentrate and would then attack his force at Fort Gibson.

  • He decided to defeat the Confederates at Honey Springs Depot before they were joined by Brig. Gen. William Cabellís brigade, advancing from Fort Smith, Arkansas.

  • Blunt began crossing the swollen Arkansas River on July 15, 1863, and, by midnight on July 16-17, he had a force of 3,000 men, composed of whites, Native Americans, and African Americans, marching toward Honey Springs.

  • Blunt skirmished with Rebel troops early on the morning of the 17th, and by mid-afternoon, full-scale fighting ensued.

  • The Confederates had wet powder, causing misfires, and the problem intensified when rain began.  After repulsing one attack, Cooper pulled his forces back to obtain new ammunition.

  • In the meantime, Cooper began to experience command problems, and he learned that Blunt was about to turn his left flank.

  • The Confederate retreat began, and although Cooper fought a rearguard action, many of those troops counterattacked, failed, and fled.

  • Any possibility of the Confederates taking Fort Gibson was gone.

  • Following this battle, Union forces controlled Indian Territory, north of the Arkansas River.

Photo Gallery:2

Roadside marker with description of Battle of Honey Springs.

Entrance to the Honey Springs Battlefield

Model of the Battle of Honey Springs at the Interpretive Center

Model of the Battle of Honey Springs at the Interpretive Center

Model of the Battle of Honey Springs at the Interpretive Center

Model of the Battle of Honey Springs at the Interpretive Center

A Nervous Rest, the U.S. Bivouac

The Army of the Frontier

The March from Fort Gibson


3rd Wisconsin Cavalry

2nd Indian Home Guards

Smith's Battery of Kansas Artillery

1st Kansas Volunteer Infantry, Colored

3rd Indian Home Guards

2nd Colorado Infantry

1st Indian Home Guards

6th Kansas Cavalry

Hopkins' Battery of Kansas Artillery

The Battle Begins

The Federal Right - Judson's Brigade

"Follow me!" - The U.S. Infantry and their Weapons

U.S. Cavalry

U.S. Artillery in the Field

Breaking the Confederate Line

The Federal Left - The Phillips' Brigade

Waiting for History

The Confederate Center

5th Texas Partisan Rangers and Lee's Light Battery

The Texas Road

29th Texas Cavalry and 20th Texas Cavalry

The Confederate Right

1st and 2nd Regiments of Cherokee Mounted Volunteers

Breaking the Line - Hand-to-Hand Combat

Scanland's Squadron and Gillette's Squadron

The Confederate Left

1st and 2nd Regiments of Creek Mounted Volunteers

Battle for the Bridge

How We Know What We Know - Official Reports

Defending the Bridge and Other Fighting along Elk Creek

Crossing Elk Creek - The Toll Bridge and Fords

How We Know What We Know - Letters, Diaries and On-the-Spot Reporting

Farming and Communities along the Texas Road

Honey Springs Depot on the Texas Road

How Do We Know What We Know? - Soldiers' Letters

Battlefield Archaeology

The Confederate Headquarters and Reserve Units

The Final Engagement

The Confederate Counterattack

1st Choctaw and Chickasaw Regiment

Treating the Wounded

Burying the Dead

The Armies Rest and Recuperate

Confederate Monument at Honey Springs

Monument to Confederate Soldiers who Fought at Honey Springs

1st Regiment Kansas Colored Volunteers Monument

Five Civilized Tribes at the Battle of Honey Springs Monument

Monument to Union Soldiers who Fought at Honey Springs


Reenactment Photos: 150th Reenactment

Classification3: B


  • Union: 79

  • Confederate: 637

Results: Union Victory

Battlefield Websites: 

Lodging and Restaurants: Oklahoma Tourism

Recommended Resources:

1 National Park Service summary.

2 Please click on the image to enlarge it. You may copy the images if you include the following note and link with each image: "Courtesy of civil-war-journeys.org."

3 Classification:

  • A - having a decisive influence on a campaign and a direct impact on the course of the war

  • B - having a direct and decisive influence on their campaign

  • C - having observable influence on the outcome of a campaign

  • D - having a limited influence on the outcome of their campaign or operation but achieving or affecting important local objectives

4 Casualties are someone killed, injured, wounded, captured or missing.

Revised 11/26/2013