Battle of Massard Prairie
Confederate troops struck the
camp of the 6th Kansas
Cavalry from three sides.
Massard Prairie
The battle took place over two
and one-half miles of prairie
on the outskirts of Fort Smith.
The Battle of Massard Prairie: Confederate Reports
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - The Battle of Massard Prairie, Arkansas
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - The Battle of Massard Prairie, Arkansas
Fort Towson, C.N.
July 30, 1864

Report of Maj. Gen. Samuel B. Maxey, C.S. Army

“I have the honor to report that I was officially advised last night that on the
morning of the 27th instant a detachment about 600 strong, under the command
of Brig. Gen. R.M. Gano, made up from Gano’s brigade, Col. S.N. Folsom’s
(Second Choctaw) regiment, and Lieut. Col. J.W. Wells’ battalion, attacked the
Sixth Kansas Cavalry within five miles of Fort Smith, completely routing it, killing
and wounding about 50, capturing 127 prisoners, about 200 Sharps rifles, and
about 400 six-shooters, a number of horses, some sutler’s stores, camp
equipage, &c. Among the prisoners is Major Mefford, who commanded said
regiment. A body of Arkansas Federals, who were with the Sixth Kansas,
stampeded.

Our loss 8 killed and several wounded; the exact number not known.

An unofficial note from an officer states the enemy from Fort Smith followed
General Gano out on his return and that an attack on the camp was likely. I do not
believe the enemy will now throw out anything more than a reconnaissance in
force. Preparations to the extend of our means will be made.”

Official Records, Series 1, Volume LIII, Part 1, page 29.


Fort Towson, C.N.
July 29, 1864

General Orders, No. 53 – S.B. Maxey, Major-General, Commanding.

“I. In announcing the brilliant victory won by the force composed of detachments
from Gano’s and Walker’s brigades and Wells’ battalion on the 27th instant, while
under the command of Brig. Gen. R.M. Gano, near Fort Smith, the major-general
commanding returns his thanks to every officer and man involved. In brilliancy and
dash and completeness of success it has not been surpassed in this year of
brilliant victories.

II. This order will be published to every regiment and battalion and at every post in
this district.”

Official Records, Series 1, Volume LIII, Part 1, page 30.


In the Field
August 10, 1864

Report of Brig. Gen. Douglas H. Cooper, C.S. Army

“I have the honor to submit the following report of recent operations by the troops
under my command in the vicinity of Fort Smith:

“My scouts having reported to me at James’ Creek, near old Choctaw Council
House, a body of Federal cavalry (supposed to be Arkansans) encamped near
Caldwell’s, and other detachments on Massard Prairie, five miles from Fort Smith,
on the 26th of July General Gano was directed to have a detachment of 500 men
from his brigade ready by 3 p.m. for a scout. Detachments from Second Indian
Brigade, under Col. S.N. Folsom, and from Wells’ battalion, under Lieutenant-
Colonel Wells, were also ordered to be in readiness. Lieut. Col. Jack McCurtain
was directed to take post with his Choctaw battalion by sunrise next morning on
the Devil’s Backbone. Capt. J. Henry Minhart was instructed to report to the senior
officer present with detachments as a guide to conduct the expedition; the whole,
except McCurtain’s battalion, to rendezvous on Poteau, near Page’s Ferry, by dark.

“The plan, as shown by Special Orders, No. 86 (Marked A), was for Col. S.N.
Folsom commanding the detachment from Indian division, to attack the camp of
Federals at Caldwell’s, on the Jenny Lind road, capture or destroy it if possible,
and if pursued by other troops on Massard Prairie or from Fort Smith to retreat by
the Fort Towson road over the Devil’s Backbone, where McCurtain lay in ambush;
the detachment from Gano’s brigade to remain concealed near Page’s, on Cedar
Prairie, until the Federals should pass in pursuit of Folsom, and then attack them
in rear, while Folson and McCurtain should turn upon them at the Backbone.

“On the arrival of the different detachments at the Poteau General Gano, finding
the force from the Indian division much smaller than I had anticipated, and very
properly, under the change of circumstances, in accordance with the latter clause
of Special Orders, No. 86, determined to go in command of the attacking party,
trusting to the assistance of Colonel McCurtain at the Backbone should he be
followed by a superior force.

“The expedition resulted on the morning of the 27th, in the complete rout of the
Sixth Kansas Cavalry and dispersion of the Arkansas Federals.

“Enemy’s loss supposed to have been about 50 in killed and wounded and 124
prisoners, the destruction of their camp and transportation, the capture of large
numbers of small-arms – rifles, revolving pistols, and clothing, &c., in profusion.

“The enemy came out from Fort Smith and pursued for a short distance. A few
followed to the Backbone, but again retired without molesting our forces, who
encamped two miles south of the Backbone at James’ Fork for the night. The lack
of the part in ambush near Page’s enabled them to return in safety to Fort Smith.

The loss on our side was small, viz:

Gurley’s regiment,Captain Downs:                4 k.,        9w.,        1 missing.
Detach., 29th Texas Cav., Maj. Carroll:                          1w.
Detach., 31st Texas Cav., Maj. Looscan:                       1w.
Detch., 5th Texas Partisan Rangers, Capt. Haynes:   5w.
Capt. Welch’s Company:                                                  1w.
Capt. Head’s Company:                                                    1w.
Detach., 1st & 2nd Choctaw, Col. Folsom:      1k.        5w.
Detach., Wells’ Battalion, Texas Cav.:               1k.        4w.
Detach., Colbert’s Co. Chickasaw Battalion:   1k.

Total:                                                        7k.        26w.        1 missing.

“This was a brilliant and dashing affair not unworthy of General Gano’s reputation
as one of Morgan’s best officers. Considering the proximity of the enemy in large
force, the officers and men engaged merit the thanks and applause of the country
which has been accorded to them. All are reported to me as having behaved well.

“John B. Turner, acting aide-de-camp on my staff, accompanied the expedition
and behaved with his usual gallantry. Col. S.N. Folsom, commanding Choctaw
Brigade, and Lieut. J.W. Wells, commanding battalion Texas cavalry, to whom
Major Mefford and a large number of Federal prisoners surrendered, were
conspicuous on this occasion for their bravery. For further particulars on this affair
see General Gano’s report, marked B. (Note:  Not Found).

“I desire in closing this part of my report to pay a passing tribute to the memory of
the Rev. Tiok-homma (or Red Pine, a Choctaw, known among the whites as
William Cass), who fell mortally wounded while leading the advance. This brave
warrior and Christian had on every occasion displayed the highest order of
courage. He served as chaplain in my old regiment, and continued in the same
position through every trial, and was also distinguished as a warrior in every battle
in which his regiment was engaged until he received his death wound.”

Official Records, Series 1, Volume LIII, Part 1, pages 31-32.
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