Wilson Creek - Missouri
Bugler Albert B. Blocker was a member of Company A of the 3rd Texas Cavalry.
He is pictured here with a cavalry saber. The images in this text have been colorized to bring some realism to the black and white photographs of the period. It is probable that this image was taken later in the war as there is not a coat og tunic worn by Albert Blocker.
The 3rd Texas Cavalry traveled, after some delay to Missouri and located after some time near Wilson Creek. Missouri was one of the most turbulent states dominated by the Mississippi River. The Confederacy wanted this state and was will to commit its resources toward those ends. The state had divided loyalties so this was not going to be an easy campaign. Governor Jackson of Missouri was determined to deliver his state to the Confederacy. Governor Jackson asked General McCulloch to intervene and save Missouri for the Confederacy. General McCulloch marched into Missouri on July 4th, 1862. The 3rd Texas and the cavalry command had moved under great haste to join the fray and found themselves joining McCulloch`s command in July. General McCulloch`s command was now nearing 10,000 strong and ready to fight. General Sterling Price was in command of the state guards and was goading McCulloch to engage the end. The General was not at all impressed with Price and knew him to be unproven in battle. In fact, he was hesitant to committee to do battle, as most of the troops were not yet ready. He nevertheless, decided to go forth with the battle. Before the appointed time of the battle was to commence, a rain began to fall.
The attack was postponed.
The Union Commander, General Lyons knew he was outnumbered and felt he had but two choices. He could attack or withdrawal before the Confederates attacked. He audaciously took the first and attacked on the Morning of the 10th of August.
At 5 30 am the Union army opened fired. This caught the Confederates by surprise and they hastily reformed. He achieved complete surprise and led four thousand men against General Price?s position. It took some time for the men to organize themselves and recapture their horses. As the battle loomed on, Colonel Greer was ordered to take his Cavalry and to the west and around Oak Hill to support General Price. The formation of the entire command was incomplete but most of the 3rd Texas did managed to engage the enemy. Many "saw the elephant" for the first time.
The Union General Lyons was killed in the battle. There was much confusion in the battle as the uniforms for both sides were the same color in many cases. Two of the 3rd Texas companies participated in hastily put together ambushes and caught several of the enemy in deadly crossfire and "did terrible execution with their short arms," The 3rd Texas was soon ready for its first charge. A man from the 3rd Texas wrote home and described it this way, " With a yell we went toward that line of blue like the wind ! On we went, pouring lead into the blue line that was standing there 50 yards in front of us, with fixed bayonets, prepared to receive cavalry. The next moment that blue line was a mass of running, stampeding soldiers trying to get out of the way of that mass of horses and men that was bearing down on them."
The 3rd Texas was credited with killing 64 men and capturing 147 men. There loses were 6 men killed and twenty-three wounded. The battle of Wilson`s Creek was particular bloody for this stage of the war. Overall casualties for both sides were about 2,500 killed wounded or missing.
During the next several months disease hit the Confederate troops and many died from the results of contracting measles and typhoid fever. The regiment lost 18 dead and 145 others were dropped from the rolls. McCulloch army was to be station in and around the area for some time. There was a brief threat from Union forces and this caused them to reenter Springfield Missouri on November 19th but the threat has dissipated.
General McCulloch finally worth drew its forces to Arkansas and the cavalry took winter camp about 12 miles east of Van Buren. During this time, three more cavalry regiments joined General McCulloch?s forces. They were the 6th Texas Cavalry, 11th Texas Cavalry and the 27th Texas Cavalry. Soon the 9th Texas Cavalry would complete the cavalry force from Texas but not before they had encountered another fight. These regiments formed what became known as the Texas Brigade. McCulloch had to contend with politics pointed in his direction from General Sterling Price and left to go to Richmond and try and put out the fires. This put Lt. Colonel James M. McIntosh of the second Arkansas Mounted Riflemen in charge while he was gone.
Indian territory - Indian Nations
On December 17th Colonel McIntosh ordered the command to break camp and proceed into Indian Territory. The South was inhabited by several Indian nations and they had divided loyalties. Some fought for the Confederacy, some against it and some against those who fought for either side. The Union had convinced about 2,200 Cherokees to fight for the North and the Confederacy had some 1400 of the Cherokees on their side. The Choctaws and Chickasaws were loyal to the Confederacy but the Creeks were roughly divided in about half with 1,575 for the North and 1,695 for the South. Thus the stage was set for a Civil War with in the Indians Nation on which side they would support during the war between the North and South.
On December 17th Colonel McIntosh ordered the command to break camp and proceed into Indian Territory. The South was inhabited by several Indian nations and they had divided loyalties.
Some fought for the Confederacy, some against it and some against those who fought for either side. The Union had convinced about 2,200 Cherokees to fight for the North and the Confederacy had some 1400 of the Cherokees on their side. The Choctaws and Chickasaws were loyal to the Confederacy but the Creeks were roughly divided in about half with 1,575 for the North and 1,695 for the South. Thus the stage was set for a Civil War with in the Indians Nation on which side they would support during the war between the North and South.
There was a brief skirmish between Coopers Indians and a contingent of the newly formed 9th Texas Cavalry on November 19, near Round Mountain. A Chief in the Creek Nation, Chief Opothleyahola had moved his Creeks toward joining the Union. He had attacked Confederate supplies and he was soon attacked by the Confederate troops in the area. There was some confusion with Indians fighting Indians and the Confederate troops not being able to tell them apart. This problem was soon solved by having tie red and blue strings tied around the arms of both the Confederate troops and the Indians they were fighting with.
Three weeks after this skirmish, another one occurred on December 9th. The Texas engaged in this fight were victorious but were caught in the snow and many became very sick due to exposure to the elements. Since the threat was real, Cooper called on McIntosh for help. In a strange twist of ironies, a portion of Texas Brigade, which included the 11th Texas Cavalry, met up with Coopers Confederate Indians on December 20, 1961.
The Indians on the Confederate side consisted of some Choctaws Cherokees and Chickasaws tribes. The opposing Indians were Chief Opothleyahola warriors of the Creek Nation. They had engaged Confederate troops earlier at Cimarron River on November 19, 1861 and caused the Confederates engaged to call for reinforcements. This caused the Confederate command of about 1380 men to venture into Indian Territory, rendezvousing at Fort Gibson with Coopers Confederate Indians.
Douglas H. Cooper was born in Mississippi in 1815. He served with the 1st Mississippi Rifles in the Mexican War in 1847.
He was a Federal Indian agent in 1851 and after the war began was commissioned Colonel of the 1st Choctaw and Chickasaw Mounted Rifles. He later became a brigadier General and commanded some 5000 Indians at one point in the war. He was a champion of Native American rights and represented the Chickasaw and Choctaws in legal action against the Untied States. He died in the Chickasaw Nation in 1879.