RENTIESVILLE, Okla. (KFOR) – The old maps are laid out.
The main actors are on display, as well as artifacts recovered from the front lines of the Battle of Honey Springs.
“This was the largest of 107 documented Civil War conflicts that took place in Indian Territory, currently the state of Oklahoma,” said site historian, Adam Lynn.
He can talk at length about the number of combatants and explain the cultural significance of Native American tribes fighting each other, or of the 1st Kansas Colored Infantry.
Lynn continues, “It’s thought to be one of the most culturally diverse conflicts to take place in the entire war.”
But until recently, he and others had trouble fitting the quiet country setting to what took place here almost 160 years ago.
“It’s about more than just the area of land and how many fought here,” he argues. “It’s about who fought here.”
It’s been five years since the Oklahoma Historical Society and the Friends of Honey Springs put a project together to better tell the story.
“It has finally come to fruition,” smiles Lynn.
That effort now fills a room at the Honey Springs Battlefield Museum.
There are three screens working, light effects, and the surround sounds of cannon and rifle fire that its makers hope place visitors there in person.
“It’s an immersive experience,” Lynn agrees. “That’s the idea behind it.”
The 1st Kansas Colored Infantry Regiment did more to win that battle for the Union than any other on that day.
Lynn says they were outnumbered but not out gunned.
A war said to have pitted brother against brother came closer in this conflict than any other.
The Battle of Honey Springs is worth studying for all kinds of reasons.
The historic weight it carries is told best by being there.
The Honey Springs history site is hosting a grand opening for their immersive exhibit on Saturday, November 5.
The first showings begin at 11 a.m.
Great State is sponsored by WEOKIE Credit Union