Battle of Chusto-Tulasah or "Caving Banks"- Historical Marker
This historical marker commemorates a Civil War battle fought by Native American soldiers on December 9, 1861. Pro-Union soldiers operating in the area, led by Chief Opothleyahola, began traveling northeast after suffering a defeat at Round Mountain. Colonel Douglas H. Cooper, leading 1,300 Confederate soldiers, attacked Opothleyahola’s forces on December 9th. The battle lasted four hours and resulted in a Confederate victory.
Backstory and Context
Confederate leaders took advantage of the internal disagreements among the Cherokee and other tribes. Recognizing the federal governments history of breaking treaties with Native tribes, Confederate leaders saw an opportunity to recruit some Native people to the Southern cause. Other Native Americans joined the Union forces.
Present-day Oklahoma gradually became a Confederate stronghold as pro-Southern militias took control of communities and frontier lands. However, by 1863, Union forces had recaptured Fort Gibson and Fort Smith. Due to the independence of Native American tribes, who did not recognize Richmond's authority to surrender on their behalf, pro-Southern Native tribes continued to serve under General Stand Watie after the Confederate surrender at Appomattox. Watie's pro-Confederate soldiers continued to operate along the Southwestern frontier and were the last pro-Southern troops to surrender.
Watie surrendered on June 23, 1865, over three months after Lee’s Army disarmed at Appomattox. However, Confederate control of Indian Territory was effectively ended following a successful Union attack at Honey Springs on July 17, 1863.