The Battle of Chusto-Talasah
The Battle of Chusto-Talasah is also known as the engagement of “carving Banks” or “Little High Shoals”. This battle took place during the American Civil War in December of 1861. It took place on Bird Creek in present day Sperry, Oklahoma in Tulsa County. This battle also gives us a glimpse into life of Native American groups in Indian Territory during the Civil War.
Backstory and Context
The Battle of Chusto-Talasah is also known as the engagement of “carving Banks” or “Little High Shoals”. This battle took place during the American Civil War in December of 1861. It took place on Bird Creek in present day Sperry, Oklahoma in Tulsa County. More specifically at, 86th Street North and Delaware Avenue Tulsa, Oklahoma. Present-day Sperry is a small, rural town consisting of approximately eight hundred people.
Colonel Douglas H. Cooper was the Confederate commander of the Indian Territory which consisted of present day Oklahoma. Cooper and his Choctaw-Chickasaw, Creek, and Texan units had a mission to subdue Creek and Seminole people who refused to align with the Confederates and occupy Indian Territory. Their first attempt at the Battle of Round Mountain was unsuccessful which lead to the second of three attempts known as the Battle of Chusto-Talasah. The native force had retreated after the Battle of Round Mountain in hopes to secure greater protection.
The battle of Chusto-Talasah took place on December 9 1861. It began with the firing upon Colonel Cooper's troops by the Creek and Seminole warriors. The opposing native groups were led by Creek Chief Opothleyahola The battle eventually resulted in Confederate victory when the Creek and Seminole warriors retreated. Colonel Cooper’s troops suffered fifty-two casualties, but Colonel Cooper and his troops also lacked enough ammunition to completely eradicate the defeated Native groups who fled towards Kansas. The opposing Native groups lost approximately one hundred and fifty people. The battle of Chusto-Talasah was followed by the final battle in this three part attack called the Battle of Chustenalah. In this battle, opposing Native forces were defeated and had to flee out of Oklahoma. The exact numbers of casualties are debated, but generally accepted as approximately fifty-two Confederate soldiers and one hundred and fifty native warriors.
There is discussions taking place currently by the Oklahoman Battlefield Preservation Commission to preserve that battle site of Chusto-Talasah. The preservation is unfortunately compromised because of the dirt mining taking place on the location. This battle is little remembered now, but is significant. It was one of northeastern Oklahoma’s most important Civil War battles. The battle tells a portion of the story of the American Civil War, specifically the complexity of Native alliances. Native groups aligned with both sides during the Civil War. This battle also gives us a glimpse into life of Native American groups in Indian Territory during the Civil War. Even if no major preservation efforts ever come about, it is still important to remember the lives lost at Chusto-Talasah.
Battle of Chusto-Talasah or 'Caving Banks' Historical Marker. The Historical Marker Database. June 16, 2016. Accessed March 08, 2019. https://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=52260.
Battle Summary: Chusto-Talasah, OK. National Parks Service. . Accessed March 08, 2019. https://www.nps.gov/abpp/battles/ok002.htm.
Chusto-Talasah (Caving Banks ). Tripler's Report on Sanitation in the Army of the Potomac. EHISTORY. December 09, 1861. Accessed March 09, 2019. https://ehistory.osu.edu/battles/chusto-talasah-caving-banks.
Hughes, Michael A. CHUSTO-TALASAH, BATTLE OF. Oklahoma Historical Society. . Accessed March 08, 2019. https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry.php?entry=CH066.
Wigton, Scott. Great Fury at Caving Banks // Obscure Civil War Battle Waged by Indians, Cavalry around Bird Creek. Tulsa World. December 07, 1994. Accessed March 08, 2019. https://www.tulsaworld.com/archives/great-fury-at-caving-banks-obscure-civil-war-battle-waged/article_4218b97c-5f7f-5b3f-b320-561ae108ec8d.html.