A Civil War Biography

Douglas Hancock Cooper

Cooper was born 1 November 1815 most source believe in Amite County, Mississippi where his father was a physician and Baptist preacher. Cooper attended the University of Virginia from 1832 until 1834 then returned to Mississippi and engaged in farming. He served in the Mexican War as a captain of the 1st Mississippi rifles. In 1853 Franklin Pierce appointed Cooper US agent to the Choctaw Nation in Indian Territory.

When the war broke out the Confederate government sought out Cooper to secure allegiance of the Indians. He was commissioned colonel of the 1st Choctaw and Chickasaw Mounted Rifles. He commanded the Indians at Elkhorn Tavern and at Newtonia, Missouri. Some sources claim the Indians refused to fight at Elkhorn Tavern, Pea Ridge, because it was outside Indian territory and they had not been paid. Cooper was promoted to brigadier general on 2 May 1863. He commanded the Indian troops during Sterling Price's 1864 invasion of Missouri. Cooper petitioned for the position of superintendent of Indian affairs. He wanted complete military jurisdiction over Indian territory. He was named to command the District of Indian Territory on 21 July 1864. He was named superintendent in February 1865 but never got the full powers he sought.

After the war Cooper prosecuted the claims of the Choctaws and Chickasaws against the US Government claiming nonperformance by the government in connection with the removal of the tribes from their original lands. He died 29 April 1879 at Old Fort Washita in the Chickasaw Nation.

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