Iron Bridge Skirmishes

After successfully capturing the Federal supply steamer J.R. Williams at Pleasant Bluff on the Arkansas Rive, Brigadier General Stand Watie’s Confederate command was confronted by a detachment of Federals of superior strength, in his position south of the Arkansas. Watie ordered a detachment (150 men) of the Chickasaw Battalion, under command of Major Campbell, to the Iron Bridge on the San Bois. A skirmish took place early in the morning of June 16, 1864, when a detachment of General James G. Blunt’s Federal advance guard appeared shortly after the Chickasaws arrived at the bridge. In the skirmish, the Federals used artillery, but finally fell back. The Union forces were checked and retreated toward Fort Smith. News of the approach of these Federals on the south side of the Arkansas River had caused Watie to burn the unloaded commissary stores from the J.R. Williams.

When Watie’s command lingered in the vicinity of the iron bridge on San Bois Creek, Federal forces returned three days later, on June 19, and another skirmish took place.

From Civil War Sites in Oklahoma by Muriel H. Wright and LeRoy H. Fischer