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Battle of Perryville
Monday, August, 24, 1863 – After the federal victory at Honey Springs in July 1863, Maj. Gen. James Blunt, division commander of the Union Army of the Frontier, marched out of Ft. Gibson to find and defeat the Confederate army in Indian Territory, once and for all. Blunt's scouts contacted Brig. Gen. William Steele's rear guard as he was withdrawing south across the Canadian River. ... Perryville, a major supply depot for the Confederates, was located halfway between Boggy Depot and Scullyville, or Northfork Town, on the Texas Road. By attacking Steele, Blunt hoped to catch and destroy Cooper's five thousand men and their depot. Then he would be free to take Cabell and Fort Smith. .. Steele posted a strong picket, including two howitzers, on the north side of town blocking the road leading into Perryville. The Federals arrived at the edge of town and engaged the Confederates in a rare night fight. The Confederates were in a fixed position of hastily constructed barricades, and the Confederate artillery was centered on the road. The Federals deployed right and left of the road and brought artillery quickly into play. The heated exchange lasted a short time. The Confederates, fearing they would be engulfed, retreated without their stores, leaving them in the hands of the Federals. The Union troops hit with such swiftness that Steele was unable to summon reinforcements. Blunt secured what supplies he could use and ordered the town burned. The destruction of this major Confederate depot crippled the Confederate forces in Indian Territory as much as if Cooper's army had been destroyed. more...