The Red River Campaign was the greatest failure because Gen. Nathaniel Banks and Gen. Federick Steele did not unite forces in Louisiana and invade northeast Texas. Another failure in the same proportion was the failure of the federal forces in Arkansas and Kansas to invade north Texas through Indian Territory along the Texas Road. After the Confederate defeat at the Battle of Middle Boggy in Indian Territory, the federal general staff in Fort Smith was decieved into thinking that Col. Stand Watie and Gen. Douglas H. Cooper was in command of at least 6,000 Confederate North Texas and Indian troops at Boggy Depot, 25 miles north of Colbert's Ferry on the Red River. In 1862, Gen. Albert Pike resigned and his troops at Fort McCulloch were sent to southern Arkansas, however the federal general staff was still unsure of the Confederate troop strength in Indian Territory south of the Canadian River. The Battle of Middle Boggy on February 14, 1864 was where Capt. Adam Nail and 90 Confederate troops of the Choctaw and Chickasaw Mounted Rifles and the 20th Texas Cavalry (dismounted) turned back a Union recon probe towards North Texas from Fort Gibson that consisted of 350 federal troops and a section of howitzers under Maj. Charles Willette. Maj. Willette turned back after the battle of Middle Boggy fearing the approach of a large Confederate force from Fort McCulloch and Boggy Depot. Maj. Willette realized that his foray south on the Texas Road penetrated to within 75 miles of the Texas border at the Red River and realized his battalion was over extended from their source of reinforcement and resupply.
Pvt. Joshua D. Coffee, my great grandfather was in the 14th Brigade of the Northern District Home Guard from 1861 until the Texas Home Guard brigades were disbanded and called into Confederate service. In 1863, Pvt. Coffee enlisted in Capt. John Henry Damron's Spy Company (Co.C), Lt. Col. Peter C. Hardeman's 1st Texas Cavalry Battalion - Arizona Brigade. My great grandfather did not have a horse and had 40 days to get one otherwise he would be trnsferred to an infantry unit. Capt. Damron made my grandfather a teamster in his company of cavalry so he did not need a horse. In February 1864 through May 1864, my grandfather was detailed to picket duty at Colbert's Ferry on the Red River along with 24 other men of Capt. Damron's Spy Company.
In February 1864, after leaving the 25 pickets at Colbert's Ferry on the Red River , the 75 men remaining in Capt. Damron's company rode north on the Texas Road (old Butterfield Stage Road) and arrived at the temporary headquarters of Brig. Gen. Douglas H. Cooper and Col. Stand Watie at old Fort McCulloch which was located at Nails Crossing of the Blue River. After receiving the after acton report of the engagement at Middle Boggy from Capt. Adam Nail, Capt. Damron and his men joined a detachment of Col. John Jumper's Seminole Battalion and the combined force rode towards the Middle Boggy to intercept the federals. The Confederates arrived at the Middle Boggy battle site on the 16th of February, two days after the battle, and found that the federal army had withdrawn to the Canadian River. Capt. Damron and the detachment of Col. ohn Jumper's Seminoles found the remains of 47 Confederate defenders and buried them on the side of a hill overlooking the battlefield.
After burying the dead Confedrate soldiers, Capt. Damron and his company rode northeast on the Butterfield Road towards Fort Smith. The company arrived at Rocky Creek and suprised William C. Quantrill and about 200 of his followers at their camp west of Roger's Station, which was about four miles east of present day Stringtown Oklahoma. Upon arriving at Quantrill's camp at Rocky Creek, Quantrill said to Capt. Damron: "Sir, you are the first person to completely suprise me." The next day, some of Quantrill's men joined Capt. Damron's company and rode southeast across country to Doaksville to rendezvous with Col. Richard M. Gano's Brigade who were making preparations to move to a winter camp at Laynesport Arkansas with elements of Maj. Gen. Samuel B. Maxey's Division. At Laynesport, Gano's Brigade prepared for the spring campaign against U.S. General Frederick Steele in southern Arkansas. Quantrill and the remainder of his irregulars continued east on the Butterfield Road toward Fort Smith and finally on to Missouri.
After many efforts by historians to find the graves at the Middle Boggy battle site, they have never been found. My great grandfather and Capt. Damron married sisters and our family lore has said that the graves are a few hundred feet east of the Texas Road, which is now a well maintained county road in that area and at a location about 5 or 6 miles north of the Middle Boggy, at present day Atoka, Oklahoma. Family lore further locates the graves somewhere on a ridge a couple of hundred yards east of the Atoka county road that was the Texas Road, about half-way between the present communities of Stringtown and Atoka, Oklahoma. The Middle Boggy battle site is in the area where U.S. Hwy. 69 crosses the North Boggy, which is today about 100 yards upstream from where Geary's Station and bridge was located on the North Boggy. Unfortunately, it appears that the graves and the location of the Middle Boggy battle will remain lost to history. The Middle Boggy (sometimes called the Muddy Boggy) and the North Boggy were often thought to be the same streams. Camp Texas was located at Geary's Station and toll bridge on the North Boggy.
When searching for the so-called Middle Boggy battle site , I found a road-cut in the terrain that appears to be the north and south approaches to the old toll bridge (or ferry?) at Geary's Station which was where the Texas - Butterfield Stage Road crossed the North Boggy. The Butterfield Stage Road turned into the Texas Road six miles north of Geary's Station or near the present community of Stringtown Oklahoma . At that location, the Texas Road continued north to Fort Gibson and on to Missouri and the old Butterfield Road remained on it's original route to Fort Smith and then north into Missouri. The Butterfield Overland Passenger and Mail Route was rerouted through Kansas to Santa Fe and beyond in 1861. The Butterfield Route was first established through Coffee's Station and the Rock Bluff Ferry on the Red River. On the second passenger run to California, the stage line was rerouted through Colbert's Ferry, in order to provide passenger and mail service to Sherman Texas. Mark Twain was a passenger on Butterfield's first run to San Francisco California.
The Confederate Cemetery at Atoka Oklahoma, at the Middle Boggy is NOT where the 47 Confederate casualties of the Battle of Middle Boggy are buried.