Engagement at Cabin Creek, Indian Territory - July 1-2, 1863
Report of Col. William A. Phillips, Third Indian Home Guards, commanding at Fort Gibson.
HEADQUARTERS UNITED STATES FORCES,
Fort Blunt, July 7, 1863.
SIR: I have sent the reports of Colonel [J. M.] Williams and Major [John A.] Foremen, of the late engagement at Cabin Creek.
I sent Foreman with a howitzer and 600 men, all I could mount, to Baxter Springs, to meet the train. Several delays occurred with the train, which I regret, as my command was in a suffering condition. I sent scouts to watch for Cabell, who was threatening to effect a junction from the east. Infantry [was sent] up to re-enforce them; but Grand River and Spring River were up very high, and I knew he could not cross.
The engagement at Cabin Creek was spirited, but I regret that there had not been a greater effort to push the broken enemy. A desire to lend everything to the safety of the train restrained it.
Colonel Watie, with 2 men, fled from his forces when they broke, and reported to General Cooper, in dismay. that he was defeated and broken, he having swam both Arkansas and Grand Rivers. Colonel McIntosh also fled; but [J. W.] Wells, Cooper's adjutant, who did the work, I expect, remained and held the force of the enemy as long as possible.
The plan of the enemy was undoubtedly to hold the strong natural position at Cabin Creek until Cabell re-enforced them. These the condition of Grand River prevented, and their judgment was unwise. I have reason to believe that Wells was killed or badly wounded.
By the scouts I sent on the east side of the river, I learn that Cabell came in from Arkansas with (said to be 2,000 men), I think, about 1,200 and three pieces of artillery. He passed close to Hildebrand's Mill, and through Long Prairie to Grand Saline. From Grand Saline he returned eastward last Saturday. My scouts followed him to within 5 miles of Hilldebrand's Mill, when Cabell took the left-hand road to Fort Wayne. They returned. A few men are following, watching his movements, and will report to me.
I sent back the force directed with the train, and a heavy additional force, with one howitzer, under Colonel [George] Dole. Fearing from my last dispatches that Cabell might swing round from Maysville, I am sending after the train 500 more infantry and a section of Hopkins' battery.
I regret the wound of Major Foreman in the late affair, but hope he will recover. I learn that the other troops behaved very well. The Ninth Kansas made a gallant charge, sustaining some loss, and the negro regiment fought well and managed their two guns well. All the troops behaved gallantly, as I am informed.
Part of the enemy's men and horses got drowned trying to escape by fording Grand River. The dead men and horses floated past Fort Blunt.
WM. A. PHILLIPS,
SOURCE: United States War Department. THE WAR OF THE REBELLION: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Series I, Volume 22. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1880-1901.