Monday, February 15, 2021

Honoring I.T. Freedmen Civil War Veterans


Painting Depicting 1st Kansas Colored Infantry
This unit consisted of many men from both Cherokee and Creek Nations
Image accessed from Black

Among the missing stories fromt Oklahoma and it pre-staehood history are the stories of slavery, the quest for freedom and the stories of the Freedmen. Embedded in the quest for freedom comes the story of men both enslaved and free, who enlisted in the Union Army during the Civil War. This untold Oklahoma story is rich reflecting stories of courageous of these black freedom fighters who joined the battle for freedom. They are honored this week during Freedmen History Month

Almost 200,000 men of African descent served in the American Civil War. Within that large number were men who served in several portions of the Union Army--the United States Colored Troops, the Indian Home Guards and the 1st & 2nd Kansas Colored.

Within these units were men who had a background that distinguishes them from other soldiers. These men had lived in Indian Territory, within Five native tribes. Many had been slaves while in these tribes, and some or their parents had come to the Territory on the forced migration known widely as the Trail of Tears. The tribes from which they came are Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek and Seminole Nations.

Many of these men have their names inscribed on the Civil War monument in Washington DC. Their participation in the Civil War is not widely known, even by many who descend from them. However, their legacy is a strong one, and as a result they are to be honored throughout this week, of Freedmen History month.

The Regiments in Which They Served

1st Indian Home Guards
2nd Indian Home Guards
3rd Indian Home Guards

1st Kansas Colored Infantry
2nd Kansas Colored Infantry

11th US Colored Infantry
54th US Colored Infantry
79th US Colored Infantry
83rd US Colored Infantry

Battles in Which They Fought

Baxter Springs, October 6, 1863 Kansas 2nd US Kansas Colored Infantry
Boggs Mills, January 11, 1864  Arkansas  11th US Colored Infantry
Cabin Creek, Cherokee Nation July 1-2 1863 and Nov 4,1865  2nd Kansas Colored, & 83rd US Colored Infantry
Clarksville January 18th 1865  79th US Colored Infantry
Cow Creek, Kansas November 14th  1864  54th US Colored Infantry
Ft. Gibson, September 16,1864  79th US Colored Infantry
Horse Head Creek Arkansas February 17, 1864  79th US Colored Infantry
Honey Springs July 17m 1864 1st Kansas Colored Infantry
Island Mound, Missouri October 27th & 29th 1862 1st Kansas Colored Infantry
Jenkins Ferry Arkansas April 30th 1864 83rd US Colored Infantry
Lawrence Kansas July 27th 1869  79th US Colored Infantry
Lotus Steamer (near Dardanelle) Jan 16, 1865 83rd US Colored Infantry
Poison Springs Arkansas  April 18th 1864  1st Kansas Colored Infantry
Prairie D'Ann  April 13th 1864  1st & 2nd Kansas Colored Infantries
Timber Hills, November 19th 1864  1st Kansas Colored Infantry

May the forgotten freedom fighters from Indian Territory long be remembered. Their legacy should no longer be overlooked.

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