Saturday, January 30, 2010

Campaigning in the Indian Territory

The last two postings praised, a great source for interesting and useful documents pertaining to the trans-Mississippi. There are, of course, other sites that include important primary sources relating to the war west of the Mississippi. While surfing the internet one day, I happened across a transcription of Lt. Colonel Robert Calvin Parks’ daybook. Parks, a mixed blood Cherokee, served in the 1st Cherokee Mounted Volunteers commanded by Stand Watie. I could not find a great deal about Parks' background on the internet although there was an article in The Chronicles of Oklahoma that provided some information about Parks’ family background. Also, A Guide to Cherokee Confederate Military Units by Lars Gjertveit stated that Parks was “killed by a fellow officer in a personal difficulty at Fort Washita in April 1864.” Before his untimely demise, Parks kept a daybook from 10 November 1862 to 31 March 1863. In it he discusses campaigning in the Indian Territory, supplies, issues relating to civilians, the weather (always a source of fascination for Oklahomans), and internal problems in his unit. Although it is a relatively short document, the Kansas State Historical Society is to be commended for posting the transcription as well as digital images of the daybook.

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