Battle of Perryville (Indian Territory)

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The Battle of Perryville was a battle of the American Civil War on August 23, 1863 in what is now Pittsburg County, Oklahoma.

Background

Perryville was an important town in the Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory, about half way between Skullyville and Boggy Depot.[a] during the mid 19th Century. It was established as a trading post by James Perry, member of a Choctaw family, about 1838,[2] and was located at the crossing of the Texas Road and the California Road. The site is about 3 miles (4.8 km) south of McAlester, Oklahoma on U. S. Highway 69. A post office was established there on February 24, 1841.[3] It was notable as the site of the Colbert Institute, the Methodist School for Chickasaws, and the Battle of Perryville.[4] Perryville was a stage stop from about 1852 until the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway (Katy) built a line through the area in 1872.[5] The community was burned after the battle and no structures survived. The retreating Confederate Army soldiers also dumped a quantity of salt into the community well to assure that the advancing Union forces could not use the site.[5]

Skirmish

After winning the encounter at Honey Springs, Major General James G. Blunt learned from scouting reports that Colonel Cooper and his Confederate forces had withdrawn to the Confederate supply depot at Perryville. Blunt, then at Fort Gibson, reassembled a force and led them to Perryville. Arriving there on August 23, 1863, he found that the Confederate commanders, Cooper and Watie, had already left for Boggy Depot. Only a rear guard, commanded by Brigadier General William Steele, remained at Perryville. Steele posted a picket line that included two howitzers to block the road that led into the north side of Perryville. However, the Union troops deployed on both sides of the road and opened fire with their own artillery.[6] The Union forces quickly scattered the Confederate. Blunt secured all supplies he could use and burned the rest, along with the town . Instead of following the retreating Confederates southwest toward Boggy Depot, Blunt proceeded to attack Fort Smith, which he captured on September 1, 1863.[7]

Aftermath

Perryville was at least partially rebuilt after the end of the Civil War, though it did not return to its former importance or population. It survived as a community until about 1872, when the Katy railroad line reached the Choctaw town of Bucklucksy and built a railroad station named McAlester.[b] Businesses that had stayed in Perryville moved to the area of the station. This marked the end of Perryville.[8] The site is now the location of .[9][c][10]

Notes

  1. ^ The site is now in Pittsburg County, Oklahoma.
  2. ^ The town that grew up around the station was later named McAlester.
  3. ^ Another source gives the name of the community that replaced Perryville as

References

  1. ^ a b c McClarey, Donald R.; Zummo, Paul. "August 26, 1863: The Other Battle of Perryville". Almost Chosen People. Retrieved 6 May 2015.
  2. ^ Oklahoma: A Guide to the Sooner State. Federal Writers Project. p. 340. 1941. Retrieved September 21, 2014.
  3. ^ Bryce, J. Y. "Perryville at one time Regular Military Post." Chronicles of Oklahoma. Volume 4, Number 2, June 1926. Retrieved February 15, 2015.
  4. ^ "Perryville." Blog Oklahoma. Retrieved September 21, 2014.
  5. ^ a b "Additional Notes on Perryville, Choctaw Nation." Wright, Muriel H. Chronicles of Oklahoma. Volume 8, No. 2. June 1930.
  6. ^ Edwards, Whit. "Perryville, Battle of." Oklahoma Historical Society. 2009. Retrieved January 8, 2015.
  7. ^ The History of Oklahoma. Gibson, Arrell Morgan. p.70. 1984. Available on Google Books.Retrieved September 21, 2014.
  8. ^ "History of McAlester." City of McAlester. Retrieved February 15, 2015.
  9. ^ "August 26, 1863: The Other Battle of Perryville." Almost Chosen People blog. Retrieved February 16, 2015.
  10. ^ Jon D. May, "Perryville," Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. Retrieved February 26, 2015.

External links