Cabin Creek Battlefield
This location was home to one of the last major battles of the Civil War, which was also one of the first times in US history where white men and African Americans fought side by side. This battle was none other than the Battle of Cabin Creek, which resulted in a victory for the Confederate Army. In September 1864, General Stand Watie, along with William L. Cabell, captured a Union supply wagon train worth around a million dollars. Now a historic landmark, the battlefield can be visited daily from dusk until dawn. This site offers a great opportunity to walk back in time where an actual Civil War battle took place.
Backstory and Context
Colonel James M. Williams of the First Kansas Colored Infantry led a Union supply train from Fort Scott, Kansas, to Fort Gibson, Oklahoma which at that time was considered Indian territory. When he was close to the crossing of Cabin Creek, he learned that Confederate Colonel Stand Watie, with about two thousand men, intended to attack his own troops. Watie was waiting for about fifteen hundred reinforcements under the command of Brigadier General William L. Cabell to join him before attacking the supply train. Cabell could not make it in time due to the high waters of the river from rainfall days before. Williams fought off the Confederates with artillery fire and two cavalry charges. The water receded enough for these men to take the advantage.
The Confederates took the wagon train and continued to Fort Gibson where they delivered the supplies, making it possible for the Union forces to maintain their presence in Indian territory and take the offensive that resulted in a victory at Honey Springs and the fall of Fort Smith, Arkansas. If it had not been for the loss of the train this would not have been considered a Confederate victory. The Union would have also had the advantage by having the supplies that they needed to defeat the Confederates in later confrontations.
Even if this was not an assumed victory, it was enough to give the Confederate troops hope and allowed Watie to continue his career until June of 1865. Two months after Gen. Robert E. Lee’s surrender in Virginia, Waite finally decided that the war was lost, and he surrendered his command at Doaksville, in Oklahoma Territory near Fort Towson on June 23, 1865. He was the last Confederate general to surrender.
The Cabin Creek Battlefield was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971. A monument to the 1st Kansas Colored Infantry was erected on the battlefield on the 7th of July, 2007. Driving through the site visitors can see many of the battle site monuments maintained by the Oklahoma Historical Society and Friends of the Cabin Creek. Visitors may also read up on battle site history, provided by signs detailing the Cabin Creek battle stories. Every three years, there are reenactments of the 1864 Confederate victory in Big Cabin on the parks grounds. For those who are interested in the history of the Civil War, Cabin Creek Battlefield offers a fascinating window into the past.
Cabin Creek Battlefield. Travel Oklahoma. n d. Accessed October 30, 2018. https://www.travelok.com/listings/view.profile/id.970.