Douglas H. Cooper
|Douglas Hancock Cooper|
November 1, 1815|
Amite County, Mississippi
|Died||April 29, 1879
Bryan County, Oklahoma
|Place of burial||Bryan County, Oklahoma Fort Washita Post Cemetery|
|Allegiance|| United States of America
Confederate States of America
|Service/branch|| United States Army
Confederate States Army
|Years of service||1846–48 (USA)
|Rank|| Captain (US Army)
Brigadier general (CS Army)
|Commands held|| 1st Mississippi Rifles,
1st Choctaw and Chickasaw Mounted Rifles
-Battle of Monterrey
-Battle of Buena Vista
American Civil War
- Battle of Round Mountain
- Battle of Chusto-Talasah
- Battle of Chustenahlah
- Battle of Elkhorn Tavern
- First Battle of Newtonia
- Battle of Old Fort Wayne
- Battle of Honey Springs
Early life and career
Cooper was born November 1, 1815, most likely in Amite County, Mississippi. His father, David Cooper, was a physician and Baptist minister. Cooper attended the University of Virginia from 1832 until 1834; his classmates included future Civil War generals Carnot Posey, Lafayette McLaws, and John B. Magruder. Cooper returned home to take up farming in Wilkinson County, Mississippiin the Cold Springs community, which was a tiny village between Woodville and Natchez. He married Mary Collins of Natchez and had 7 children. Entering politics, he was elected in 1844 to serve in the Mississippi State Legislature.
In 1853, through the influence of Secretary of War Jefferson Davis, who served with Cooper at the Mexican-American War Battle of Buena Vista, President Franklin Pierce appointed Cooper as the Federal agent to the Choctaw tribe. Cooper helped peaceably remove them to Indian Territory. Three years later, he also became the agent to the Chickasaw tribe, who respected and trusted Cooper and soon officially adopted him as a full member.
With the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, Cooper sided with the Confederacy. In May, Secretary of War Leroy Pope Walker sent Cooper a letter authorizing him to "take measures to secure the protection of these tribes in their present country from the agrarian rapacity of the North." He raised a regiment known as the 1st Choctaw and Chickasaw Mounted Rifles and was commissioned as its colonel. Given brigade command, Cooper pursued the Creek Indian leader Opothleyahola in November and December, when the latter led his loyal Union followers toward Kansas. Cooper's brigade fought at the battles of Round Mountain and Chusto-Talasah, winning a decisive victory at Chustenahlah.
In 1862, Cooper led Confederate troops at the battles of Elkhorn Tavern, Newtonia and Honey Springs. He was promoted to brigadier general on May 2, 1863, and given the district command of Indian Territory on September 29. Rumors circulated that the Indians were dissatisfied with Cooper. To refute this, letters of support from Indian leaders were sent to Richmond, Virginia, to President Jefferson Davis. Cooper commanded the "Indian Brigade" in Maj. Gen. Sterling Price's second invasion of Missouri in 1864.
After the war, Cooper continued to live in the Indian Territory and was an ardent supporter of Choctaw and Chickasaw land claims against the Federal government. He died April 29, 1879, at Fort Washita (in what is now Bryan County, Oklahoma) and was buried in the old fort cemetery in an unmarked grave.
- Warner, Ezra J., Generals in Gray, Louisiana State University Press, 1959, ISBN 0-8071-0823-5
- U.S. War Department, The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, 70 volumes in 4 series. Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, 1880-1901.
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