Battle of Locust Grove


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From Civil War Sites in Oklahoma by Muriel H. Wright, Oklahoma Historical Society, and LeRoy H. Fischer, Oklahoma State University (a 1968 publication of the Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)

LOCUST GROVE SKIRMISH: Site (Secs. 22 and 23, T 20 N, R 20 E) on the south edge of Locust Grove, near the south side of State Highway 33 (now US-412). The Oklahoma Historical marker is in the roadside park at Pipe Springs, on the east side of Locust Grove. The battlefield site is on the ridge, west and south, above the springs.

In late June, 1862, a Federal force of about 6,000 soldiers under the command of Colonel William Weer departed from Baxter Springs, Kansas, and passed down the Neosho River where Colonel Stand Watie, Colonel John Drew, and other Confederate organizations had been raiding. Colonel Weer, with a detachment of about 300 men, completely surprised the camp of Confederate Colonel J.J. Clarkson near Locust Grove about sunrise on July 3, 1862. Clarkson's force of about 300 men was so completely demoralized that they were unable to form a battle line, though gunfire continued in the woods all day. Colonel Clarkson surrendered the men that remained with him after the attack in the morning.

Those that escaped went to Tahlequah where their story of Clarkson's defeat gave a powerful impulse to Union recruiting of Cherokees. Sixty wagons of ammunition and salt, sixty-four mule teams, and large quantities of provisions were captured by the Federals, together with 110 men who surrendered.

The day following the Locust Grove Skirmish was the Fourth of July, and the Federal forces celebrated the occasion by dividing up the captured clothing among the ragged refugees and soldiers, and the powder and equipment among the heads of military units. Colonel Weer's next move was to Flat Rock, within fourteen miles of Fort Gibson, then in Confederate hands.



(5-02) Pipe Springs. The view is looking southwest toward the base of the ridge described above
Oklahoma Historical Society Marker:
Federal Troops suddenly attacked a Confederate camp along the ridge near here at dawn, July 2, 1862. The surprised Confederates hardly returned fire before their officers and heavy supplies were captured, yet, hot fighting in the woods lasted nearly all day

(5-02) View looking southwest from the historical marker

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