A Deeper Look: “The First Battle of Newtonia”, A Doug Hall Original Painting

Artist Doug Hall has been captivated by the lives of American history’s frontiersmen. This parallel dichotomy of interests led this rogue child to choose a trail ride from the Ozarks to Iowa instead of graduating from high school.

One of Doug’s original paintings, titled “The First Battle of Newtonia”, depicts one of the most unusual battles of the American Civil War – The First Battle of Newtonia – one of the few battles during the Civil War in which Native Americans played a significant role on both sides.

The First Battle of Newtonia took place on September 30, 1862. Following the Battle of Pea Ridge, most Confederate and Union troops left northwest Arkansas and southwest Missouri. By the summertime, Confederates had returned. This stirred some concern in Springfield, Missouri and Fort Scott, Kansas – two Federally-occupied strongholds.

Confederate Col. Douglas Cooper reached the area on the 27th and assigned two of his units to Newtonia. In mid-September, two brigades of Brig. Gen. James G. Blunt’s Union Army of Kansas left Fort Scott for Southwest Missouri. On the 29th, Union scouts approached Newtonia but were chased away. Other Union troops appeared in nearby Granby where there were lead mines, and Cooper sent some reinforcements there.

The next morning, Union troops appeared before Newtonia and fighting ensued by 7:00 am. The Federals began driving the enemy, but Confederate reinforcements arrived, swelling the numbers. The Federals gave way and retreated in haste. As they did so, some of their reinforcements appeared and helped to stem their retreat.

The Union forces then renewed the attack, threatening the enemy right flank. But newly arrived Confederates stopped that attack and eventually forced the Federals to retire again. The pursuit of the Federals continued after dark. Union gunners posted artillery in the roadway to halt the pursuit. As Confederate gunners observed the Union artillery fire for location, they fired back, creating panic. The Union retreat turned into a rout as some ran all the way to Sarcoxie, more than ten miles away.

Although the Confederates won the battle, they were unable to maintain themselves in the area given the great numbers of Union troops. Most Confederates retreated into northwest Arkansas. The 1862 Confederate victories in southwestern Missouri at Newtonia and Clark’s Mill were the South’s apogee in the area; afterward, the only Confederates in the area belonged to raiding columns.

The Doug Hall original painting “First Battle of Newtonia” depicts Native Americans that fought with both the Confederate and Union soldiers. The Confederate forces numbered 4,000; Union forces numbered about 6,500. The 1862 battle was one of the very few Civil War encounters in which Native Americans fought on both sides. Southern forces had Choctaw, Cherokee, and Chickasaw soldiers, while other Cherokee soldiers fought with the North.

To learn more about Doug Hall’s Eastern Woodland Indian paintings, please visit the art gallery in Neosho, MO.

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