This day in Texas History:
(from the Texas State Historical Association archives)
Kickapoos Rout Confederates in Battle of Dove Creek
January 08, 1865
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.