Imagine 7,000 Confederate troops crowded in close order along Ford Road, the lane you see on the right edge of this field. As they trudged east toward Elkhorn Tavern, a small Union force of Iowa cavalrymen - only 600 men - unexpectedly appeared from the thick belt of trees you see on the left. Neither force expected to fight here.
Three Union cannon unlimbered and fired into the massive rebel formation. Within minutes, 3,000 cavalrymen from Texas and Arkansas turned off the road. With war whoops they swept over Wiley Foster's wheat field. The shattered Federals fled back through the trees.
...with a yell [we] rushed on amid grape and canister... with such irresistible force to the very mouth of the cannon...and in five minutes [the Yankees] were in utter confusion completely routed running in every direction and leaving their cannon in our possession.
James C. Bates, lieutenant, 9th Texas Cavalry, Company H
Albert Power was 19 years old when he fought here as part of the 3rd Iowa Cavalry Regiment. Years later he received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his valor here at Foster's Farm. No photo of him is known to exist. He survived the war, returned to Iowa, and lived to age 80.
Divided Loyalties in the Indian Nations
Two regiments of Cherokee riflemen took part in the Confederate charge that captured Union cannon and drove back the Iowa cavalry on this field. Four months later some of these same Cherokee changed sides to fight for the Union.
When the American nation was torn asunder in 1861, so were the Five Civilized Nations - tribes that had been removed from their homelands in the southeastern states and resettled in the Indian Territory in the 1830s. Chickasaws and Choctaws quickly chose to ally with the Confederacy. Among Creeks, Seminoles, and Cherokees, loyalties were fiercely divided, especially after the federal government abandoned army posts and stopped treaty payments.