infantry, First Kansas, colored, First, Second and Third Indian home guards, Sixth Kansas and Third Wisconsin cavalry, and 12 pieces of artillery.
On the night of July 15th the Federal
commander had forded 250 cavalry across the Arkansas river
, crossing his 2,500 infantry in boats, and at daylight attacked the Confederate
camp at Honey Springs
Then moving up with massed columns, he deployed his lines suddenly, and after a brief conflict drove the Confederates
captured one piece of artillery, one stand of Cherokee
colors, some small-arms and wagons, but as Cabell
came in sight, several miles distant, he retired across the Arkansas
, leaving the field to the vanquished.
He confessed to 17 killed and 60 wounded. Cooper
reported his loss as 134 killed and wounded and 47 captured. The Confederates remained for several days on the ground, and were entertained at night by the corn-dance, or sun-dance of the Indians, a diversion consisting in stamping around in a circle with monotonous chants, broken at intervals by loud cries or grunts, to time kept by beating a hollow log for a drum.
The native Indian soldiers were subjects of curious contemplation.
Nearly all the infantry were barefooted, dressed in coarse shirts and loose cotton trousers, and many with heads protected from the sun's rays only by their matted hair.
An Indian infantry soldier, with gun on shoulder, would walk up to General Cooper
, anywhere, at any time, and holding up his five fingers would say: ‘Cooper
me go home to see wife and baby.
Mebbe so, come back five days—mebbe so, ten.
Thus they granted themselves furloughs, which they never broke; but it was a small matter if they did. ‘Perhaps,’ said General Cooper
, ‘if they were all furloughed, it would be as well.’
Finding coal, General Cabell
put his blacksmiths to work shoeing the horses of the command, until he was ordered to return to Fort Smith
, keeping out scouting parties in front, at the river opposite Fort Gibson
, and on