A bloodthirsty speech for Union troops in Indian Territory

Rusk County Avengers

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In February 1864, Union Troops set out from Fort Gibson in an attempt to clean out the Indian Territory of Confederates, offer amnesty to Tribes if they would switch sides, gain new recruits, and if possible raid North Texas. The force was made of troops from the 14th Kansas Cavalry, a battalion of Kansas infantry, a couple howitzers, and the 3rd Indian Home Guard under the command of Colonel William A. Philips.

Before setting out, Philips had this to say to his men:

"Soldiers! I take you with me to clean out the Indian Nation south of the (Arkansas) river and drive away and destroy rebels. Let me say a few words to you that you are not to forget... Those who are still in arms are rebels, and ought to die. Do not kill a prisoner after he has surrendered. But I do not ask you to take prisoners. I ask you to make your footsteps severe and terrible...."

The rest of his speech and an archived article about the campaign and resulting battle, the Battle of Middle Boggy Depot, can be read here:




I miss Civil War Album...

But I'm curious about what everyone thinks about this little speech. I think Col. Philips was a little brutal, but then again the war was brutal and personal in places like Indian Territory, Arkansas and Missouri.
 

Rusk County Avengers

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Also Middle Boggy was near present day Atoka, Oklahoma, and there's a nice little museum there that should be visited by any CW buff if in Oklahoma. Here's a diorama they have of this forgotten battle:

DSCN0576.JPG


Forgive the bad picture...
 
Joined
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Location
mo
In February 1864, Union Troops set out from Fort Gibson in an attempt to clean out the Indian Territory of Confederates, offer amnesty to Tribes if they would switch sides, gain new recruits, and if possible raid North Texas. The force was made of troops from the 14th Kansas Cavalry, a battalion of Kansas infantry, a couple howitzers, and the 3rd Indian Home Guard under the command of Colonel William A. Philips.

Before setting out, Philips had this to say to his men:

"Soldiers! I take you with me to clean out the Indian Nation south of the (Arkansas) river and drive away and destroy rebels. Let me say a few words to you that you are not to forget... Those who are still in arms are rebels, and ought to die. Do not kill a prisoner after he has surrendered. But I do not ask you to take prisoners. I ask you to make your footsteps severe and terrible...."

The rest of his speech and an archived article about the campaign and resulting battle, the Battle of Middle Boggy Depot, can be read here:




I miss Civil War Album...

But I'm curious about what everyone thinks about this little speech. I think Col. Philips was a little brutal, but then again the war was brutal and personal in places like Indian Territory, Arkansas and Missouri.
The only good indian is a dead indian philosophy wasn't unique to the ACW, it was a mentality ingrained in the frontier as long as had frontiers..........
 

lupaglupa

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In this case it sounds like he was saying the only good rebel was a dead Rebel. I doubt very much this was the first or last commander to tell his troops "don't kill a prisoner but first don't take prisoners.." By the modern rules of war that's telling the soldiers under you to (wink wink) commit a war crime.
 
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In this case it sounds like he was saying the only good rebel was a dead Rebel. I doubt very much this was the first or last commander to tell his troops "don't kill a prisoner but first don't take prisoners.." By the modern rules of war that's telling the soldiers under you to (wink wink) commit a war crime.
Wouldn't disagree he was probally an immoral criminal man in his implications, but as he is specifically referring to clearing out the Indian territory, imagine race had something to do with his rather callous view of life. As that mentality towards natives wasn't anything new to our frontiers.
 

lupaglupa

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Wouldn't disagree he was probally an immoral criminal man in his implications, but as he is specifically referring to clearing out the Indian territory, imagine race had something to do with his rather callous view of life. As that mentality towards natives wasn't anything new to our frontiers.
Oh I'm betting race had lots to do with it. And then adding Confederate leanings on top...
 

leftyhunter

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los angeles ca
Wouldn't disagree he was probally an immoral criminal man in his implications, but as he is specifically referring to clearing out the Indian territory, imagine race had something to do with his rather callous view of life. As that mentality towards natives wasn't anything new to our frontiers.
Philips wasn't different from McCoullogh in that regard. I already documented many times that Confederate's deliberitly killed Indian civilians. In future wars US Generals told their men the same thing has Philip's told his Indian not white soldiers. We have other threads of massacres of POWs in the ACW such has by Confedrate troops at Ft
Pillow and the Crater and USCT troopers retuning the favor at Ft.Blakely.
Yes race as something to do with it and it goes both ways.
Leftyhunter
 
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Philips wasn't different from McCoullogh in that regard. I already documented many times that Confederate's deliberitly killed Indian civilians. In future wars US Generals told their men the same thing has Philip's told his Indian not white soldiers. We have other threads of massacres of POWs in the ACW such has by Confedrate troops at Ft
Pillow and the Crater and USCT troopers retuning the favor at Ft.Blakely.
Yes race as something to do with it and it goes both ways.
Leftyhunter
However this thread has nothing to do any of those you throw in to distract from the OP..........
 

leftyhunter

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However this thread has nothing to do any of those you throw in to distract from the OP..........
McCoullogh was a Confedrate ACW Confedrate Officer who commanded Texas Cavalry in the IT and his men killed Indian civilians. It's not clear the 3rd Indian Home Guards even killed any civilians. Pointing out that prisoners were executed in the ACW is Germans to this thread.
Leftyhunter
 
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It's germaine to Phillips or the Union 3rd Indian Home Guard, as that's what the OP was actually about...it's wasn't a generic thread about all those you distract with.
 

Rusk County Avengers

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I think it should be pointed out for the record, that at this time in Indian Territory, Indians weren't the only Confederate troops. Lots of Texans all over the place.

Indian troops in the area had a real bad tendency, from a military point of view, to switch sides depending on which way the winds were blowing. There were some hard core men who stayed true to one side, but they were more or less a minority where Indians are concerned.

As for the make up of Confederate units, there were some units that were straight Cherokee, or Creek, as well as nothing but mix bloods, but also, and I think this is very unique, there were some units that were a mix of full blood whites and full blood Indians in the same unit. Something supposedly impossible according to notions of the 19th Century West.

One unit that comes to my mind is one I've struggled to find detailed information on, Lee's Battery under/formed by one Captain Roswell Lee from Texas. It was officially a Texas unit, but it was made up half white, and half Cherokee, with officers and non-coms of both races together. (I only discovered its existence when tracking down Tredegar made CS M1862 Mountain Rifles that got shipped to the Trans-Mississippi.)

Just getting this out there since it seems many think all Confederates Philips was talking about were Indian.
 

Rusk County Avengers

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In this case it sounds like he was saying the only good rebel was a dead Rebel. I doubt very much this was the first or last commander to tell his troops "don't kill a prisoner but first don't take prisoners.." By the modern rules of war that's telling the soldiers under you to (wink wink) commit a war crime.

Such "wink, wink" orders were pretty common in the Trans-Mississippi on both sides. Though I got to say Kansans hardened by a decade of war with Missouri, and tending to be as radical in their politics as John Brown, tended to issue these "wink, winks" more than anyone else.
 
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I'm not for sure who you think only Indians defended the Indian territory is, but if going to middle bogey in OP, it's always been my understanding the majority of the small CSA force were Indian with only a small detachment of Texans......as there was no unified organized force, more a collection of companies or detachments from several
 

A. Roy

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hose who are still in arms are rebels, and ought to die. Do not kill a prisoner after he has surrendered. But I do not ask you to take prisoners. I ask you to make your footsteps severe and terrible

Not having known anything about this battle, when I first read this here, I wondered whether this was just an officer's rhetoric to get his soldiers' blood up. But now in the the article you cited, I see that at least some of his men took him up on it:

"Major Willetts, following the directives he had been given, had taken no prisoners. The bodies of the wounded that Capt. Nail had left unburied on the battlefield were discovered later by the Confederates to have had their throats cut."

Pretty fierce!

Roy B.
 
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Really? Prior to the post you object to there were posts regarding race and Native Americans as a factor generally in the war in that region. The post is directly pertinent to that.
Yes I agree race and Phillips are pertinent, why I mentioned them as they are connected........it wouldn't be connected to people who have no relation to the OP......as that they refer to it as the Indian territory denotes a rather obvious racial connection.
 
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Rusk County Avengers

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Not having known anything about this battle, when I first read this here, I wondered whether this was just an officer's rhetoric to get his soldiers' blood up. But now in the the article you cited, I see that at least some of his men took him up on it:

"Major Willetts, following the directives he had been given, had taken no prisoners. The bodies of the wounded that Capt. Nail had left unburied on the battlefield were discovered later by the Confederates to have had their throats cut."

Pretty fierce!

Roy B.

The Trans-Mississippi Theater is full of such unknown, or otherwise forgotten, battles and skirmishes. Too bad more people don't look for them most of the time.

I guess that's what happens when they're isn't any Lee or Grant around.
 

mofederal

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Southeast Missouri
Here is an image of Captain Jonathan Nail, later made Major in the Reorganized Chickasaw Battalion under a new commander after the Battle of Middle Boggy. Where were the Confederate dead buried, as no bodies have ever been found or a burial ground found either. It was reported by Philips initially the Confederate losses were either 47 or 49 were killed with no Federal casualties reported. Confederate Brigadier General Cooper reported 11 dead, which included 4 from Nail's company.

captain jonathannail.jpg
 
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