Squad encampments to begin at Honey Springs Battlefield

Thursday, September 14th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

The Oklahoma Historical Society’s Honey Springs Battlefield will conduct a series of Saturday reenactor “squad encampments” on September 16, October 14, March 17, April 14, and May 12. “The public will be invited without charge to these Saturday encampments which are scheduled from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM,” said site superintendent Ralph Jones. “We wanted people to see the progress we are making developing this battlefield as the site of the largest and most historic Civil War battle that took place in Indian Territory.” More than 100 battles were conducted between Union and Confederate forces in Indian Territory.

Each encampment will involve approximately 11 reenactors alternating between Union and Confederate roles. They will use both first-person and third-person “personae” to interpret camp life, marching, rifle drills, and other duties assigned to soldiers of the Civil War.

The battle of Honey Springs was fought on July 17, 1863, on both sides of Elk Creek, which flows through the battlefield site. Major General James Blunt led approximately 3,000 Union troops in defeating an estimated 6,000 Confederate troops led by Brigadier General Douglas Cooper. The battle started north of Elk Creek and moved south to Honey Springs Depot, where monuments to the battle now stand north of Rentiesville, Oklahoma.

An on-site road and bridge over Elk Creek have been completed, extending from a county road north of Rentiesville. From that on-site road, trails are being developed to five major battlesites and a 3,000 square foot Visitor’s Center is being planned. OHS historic sites director William Lees says the overall cost of developing the Visitors Center, road, and trails will cost approximately $2 million. For more information, call (918) 473-5572