WASHINGTON — A Civil War battle site in Oklahoma, where Indians fought on the sides of the Union and Confederacy, has been designated a national historic landmark, the U.S. Interior Department announced Monday.
The Honey Springs Battlefield, in Muskogee and McIntosh counties, is among 13 new national historic landmarks. Others named Monday were the Connecticut home of author and abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe, a Kentucky distillery and an Alabama bridge where civil rights marchers were attacked in 1965.
According to the Interior Department, the Battle of Honey Springs was the largest Civil War battle in Indian Territory and the “first and largest engagement in which Indian troops of both sides fought in the formalized style of Anglo-American warfare.”
The Oklahoma Historical Society, which operates an 1,100-acre battlefield site, says the 1863 battle was the largest of more than 107 documented hostile encounters in Indian Territory.
“Cherokee and Creek regiments fought on both sides,” according to the state historical society. “There were approximately 9,000 men involved, including other American Indians, veteran Texas regiments, and the 1st Kansas Colored Volunteers (the first black regiment in the Union army).”
Nominations for national historic landmarks are made by the National Park System Advisory Board to the Interior secretary. If designated, property ownership remains intact, and the site receives a designation letter, a plaque and technical preservation advice.
“These national historic landmark designations span more than two centuries of our country's history, from 17th-century architecture to a Civil War battlefield to a 19th century-Kentucky whiskey distillery that continued to operate through the Prohibition era,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Monday.
“Today's designations include significant sites that help tell the story of America and the contributions that all people from all walks of life have made as we strive for a more perfect union.”