This day in Texas History: Kickapoos Rout Confederates in Battle of Dove Creek

This day in Texas History:
(from the Texas State Historical Association archives)

Kickapoos Rout Confederates in Battle of Dove Creek
January 08, 1865

On this day in 1865, roughly 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.

Kickapoo Indian
Kickapoo Indian