The Battle of Locust Grove was a Civil War skirmish fought near Locust Grove in present Mayes County, Oklahoma. At sunrise on July 3, 1862, a Union force of approximately 250 men under the command of Col. William Weer overwhelmed a Confederate unit of similar strength led by Col. James J. Clarkson. Weer’s troops, consisting of elements of the Ninth Kansas Cavalry and the First Regiment of the Indian Home Guard, were detachments of the Indian Expedition that Weer had led from Kansas into Indian Territory.
Surprised by the Union attack, Clarkson’s men offered weak resistance. Many fled and were pursued by Union troops throughout most of the day. About one hundred Confederates died and around one hundred, including Colonel Clarkson, were captured along with sixty wagons, sixty-four mule teams, and a large quantity of supplies. Union casualties totaled three killed and six wounded.
The importance of the battle of Locust Grove was its impact upon Confederate morale in the Cherokee Nation. The Confederate soldiers who escaped capture at Locust Grove retreated toward Park Hill and Tahlequah, causing panic that resulted in large-scale desertions among the pro-Confederate Cherokees.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: W. Craig Gaines, The Confederate Cherokees: John Drew’s Regiment of Mounted Rifles (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1989). Gary N. Heath, “The First Federal Invasion of Indian Territory,” The Chronicles of Oklahoma 44 (Winter 1966-67). U.S. War Department, The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Ser. I, Vol. 13 (Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1885). Muriel H. Wright and LeRoy H. Fischer, “Civil War Sites in Oklahoma,” The Chronicles of Oklahoma 44 (Summer 1966).
Jon D. May, “Locust Grove, Battle of,” Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture
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