From the Annals of the Civil War – In 1865, the Kickapoo Indians defeated a Confederate Army force fighting with about 325 state militiamen at the Battle of Dove Creek in present day Tom Green County. In December 1864, a force of Texas Militia under Captain N.M. Gillentine discovered an abandoned Indian camp on the Clear Fork of the Brazos River. Gillentine believed that Comanche or Kiowa might have been at the site and called for action. A few days later, Confederate Texas Frontier Battalion troops under the command of Captain Henry Fossett arrived at Fort Chadbourne to address the supposed threat. Fossett located an encampment on Dove Creek. Fossett was unaware that it was a band of Kickapoo – a relatively peaceful tribe since the Black Hawk war.
As Fossett prepared for an attack, the Texas Militia troops arrived after a forced march and a joint attack was planned. The Militia launched a frontal assault on the camp from the north. The Confederates under Fossett maneuvered around to the southwest, captured the Indians’ horse herd, and attack from the flank.
The entire operation was bungled. The Kickapoo benefited from the well-placed camp, located on a tall bank covered with light timber and protected by natural brier thickets. The Militia got caught in the brier and came under intense rifle fire. Three Texan officers (including Gillentine) and sixteen enlisted men were killed in the first few minutes.
The Confederate force was initially successful in capturing the horse herd, but an attack on quickly faltered splintering the Rebels into three groups who were routed with heavy casualties. The Confederates and Texas Militia retreated eastward. The now embittered Kickapoos headed south for Mexico and began raiding settlers along the Rio Grande.
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