The first notable battle in the Trans-Mississippi theater of operations after the battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas in March of 1862, the battle was fought at Newtonia, Missouri in the southwest portion of the State, near the border with Arkansas and the Indian territory. A brigade of Confederate troops under Colonel Douglas H. Cooper occupied Newton on September 27, 1862. They were attacked by Union Brigadier General Frederick G. Salomon, a German immigrant, leading two small brigades totaling 1500 men, on September 30.
Initially the Union attack made headway, but Confederate reinforcements arriving turned the tide, and the Union brigades retreated. A strong Confederate pursuit turned the retreat into a rout. Total Union casualties were 250 compared to 100 for the Confederates. In spite of the Confederate victory, the Confederate stay in Southwestern Missouri was brief, due to being heavily outnumbered by Union troops in the area. The battle today is chiefly remembered as a result of the large number of American indians that fought on both sides. Colonel Cooper, the commander of the Confederate troops, was a former Indian agent and led Confederate Indian troops throughout the War. After the War he lived in the Indian Territory and was an ardent supporter of Choctaw and Chickasaw land claims against the Federal government. Here is his report on the battle: (more…)