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
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
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