Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Booknotes: Revisiting The Battle of Red Fork

New Arrival:

Revisiting The Battle of Red Fork: A Two-Part Review and Analysis of the History and Controversy of the First Civil War Battle Fought in Indian Territory in What is Now Oklahoma by Dale Chlouber (New Forums Pr, 2023).

While significant bits and pieces of the campaign's history are spread among numerous scholarly books and articles, we still lack a single, comprehensive, book-length examination of the series of 1861 battles fought between Confederate troops from Texas, Arkansas, and Indian Territory on one side and on the other a sizable minority alliance of anti-Confederate tribal dissenters under the Muscogee (Creek) leader Opothleyahola, the latter attempting to flee to presumed refuge in Kansas. In addition to being confronted by very poor period maps of the region and published information that is often dated and incomplete, readers new to the topic also quickly find that the very location of one of the major engagements (the Battle of Round Mountain) is a complicated topic of long dispute.

Dale Chlouber's Revisiting The Battle of Red Fork (Red Fork being one of the alternate names favored by some) represents the latest attempt at making sense of the competing claims surrounding the various Round Mountain controversies. The book is organized into two sections "Background on the Controversy of the Battle of Red Fork" and "Revisiting the Battle of Red Fork." In conducting his research for this book, Chlouber "has accumulated every scrap of information relating to the battle that could be located and has evaluated the arguments forwarded by those seeking to place the battle." In the end, the author finds that "there is no real controversy and the controversy lingers for reasons that have little to do with the battle" itself.

Having never waded into this historiographical morass beyond simply following a number of messageboard arguments about it over the years, I am looking forward to reading Chlouber's analysis and conclusions.

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