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WICHITA VILLAGE, BATTLE OF THE

The battle of the Wichita Village occurred on October 1, 1858, six miles southeast of present Rush Springs in Grady County, Oklahoma. In 1858 Brig. Gen. David S. Twiggs gave Bvt. Maj. Earl Van Dorn command of the Second Cavalry at Fort Belknap, Texas, with orders to restrain belligerent Comanche north of the Red River. Operating from Camp Radziminski in Indian Territory, Van Dorn advanced on the Comanche camped on Rush Creek near a Wichita village. He did not know that the Comanche were convening a peace conference with the friendly Wichita.

In the early daylight hours of October 1 the sleeping Comanche awoke to Van Dorn's attack. The surprise assault, combined with gun smoke, morning fog, and the muddled presence of frightened Indians, young and old, was a recipe for tragedy. After the haze of battle cleared, it was revealed that the army had four men dead, and one man was missing and presumed killed. Van Dorn was seriously wounded but despite expectations survived. About seventy Comanche warriors and women lay dead. Their food crop destroyed, the helpless Wichita retreated to Fort Arbuckle for assistance.

SEE ALSO: MILITARY–NINETEENTH CENTURY, WESTWARD EXPANSION.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: William Y. Chalfant, Without Quarter: The Wichita Expedition and the Fight on Crooked Creek (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1991). Wilbur S. Nye, Carbine and Lance: The Story of Old Fort Sill (3d ed., rev.; Norman, Okla.: University of Oklahoma Press, 1969). Hobert D. Ragland, The History of Rush Springs (Rush Springs, Okla.: Gazette Publishing Co., 1952). David C. Roberts, Jr., "Rush Springs Once Bloody Battle Ground," Harlow's Weekly, 23 July 1927.

Adriana G. Schroeder

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