Kickapoos rout Confederates in battle of Dove Creek

January 8th, 1865

On this day in 1865, about 160 Confederates and 325 state militiamen lost a battle against the Kickapoo Indians about twenty miles southwest of present San Angelo. A month earlier a scouting party had discovered an abandoned Indian camp and, assuming the group was hostile, dispatched forces to pursue them. A militia force under Capt. S. S. Totten and state Confederate troops under Capt. Henry Fossett set out, but the two forces lacked a unified command and full communication. When the troops and militiamen finally rendezvoused near the timbered encampment of the Kickapoos along Dove Creek, the forces concocted a hasty battle plan. The militia waded the creek to launch a frontal attack from the north, while Confederate troops circled southwestward to capture the Indians’ horses and prevent a retreat. A well-armed Indian fighting force, possibly several hundred strong, easily defended their higher, heavily-wooded position as the militiamen slogged through the creek. The Confederate force was splintered into three groups caught in a heavy crossfire. Three days later the battered Texans retreated eastward, while the embittered Kickapoos, once peaceful, escaped to the Mexican border. Thus began a violent period of border raids on settlers along the Rio Grande.

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Kickapoos rout Confederates in battle of Dove Creek

January 8th, 1865

On this day in 1865, about 160 Confederates and 325 state militiamen lost a battle against the Kickapoo Indians about twenty miles southwest of present San Angelo. A month earlier a scouting party had discovered an abandoned Indian camp and, assuming the group was hostile, dispatched forces to pursue them. A militia force under Capt. S. S. Totten and state Confederate troops under Capt. Henry Fossett set out, but the two forces lacked a unified command and full communication. When the troops and militiamen finally rendezvoused near the timbered encampment of the Kickapoos along Dove Creek, the forces concocted a hasty battle plan. The militia waded the creek to launch a frontal attack from the north, while Confederate troops circled southwestward to capture the Indians’ horses and prevent a retreat. A well-armed Indian fighting force, possibly several hundred strong, easily defended their higher, heavily-wooded position as the militiamen slogged through the creek. The Confederate force was splintered into three groups caught in a heavy crossfire. Three days later the battered Texans retreated eastward, while the embittered Kickapoos, once peaceful, escaped to the Mexican border. Thus began a violent period of border raids on settlers along the Rio Grande.

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With more than 27,000 articles about Texas history, the Texas State Historical Association's Handbook of Texas is the largest online encyclopedia about all things Texas. Now you can celebrate the history of Texas every day by activating your free subscription to Texas Day by Day. Each day's email tells a little bit more of the story of Texas and links to our collection of more than 27,000 articles. It's one of the best ways to learn more about Texas history — in only 15 minutes a day!

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