Name Silas S. Totten
Regiment State/Origin Texas
Regiment 31st Regiment, Texas Cavalry (Hawpe's)
Rank In Private
Rank Out First Sergeant
Alternate Name Silas S./Totton
"Out of Our Past"
by LaDawn Garland, Bosque County News
August 29, 2001
During the Civil War between the years of 1861 and 1865 many men from Bosque county served in the military. The majority of them served with the Second Frontier District, the Nineteenth Texas Infantry, and Company H of Col. T. C. Hawpe's regiment. Both the 19th Infantry and Company H saw action in the Louisiana and Arkansas campaigns. A few of the members fought with the Army of Northern Virginia.
In the week of Feb. 2, 1862 in the Dallas Herald in an attempt to raise Confederate Calvary units, Col. T.C. Hawpe published a warning, "Who will defend Texas? Flock .... to our country's standard and we will make our enemies bite the dust!" Many of the Bosque County soldiers however, stayed in the area part of the local militia to guard against Indian attacks.
In Bosque and surrounding counties, with many men and soldiers away from home, the neighboring Kiowas and Commanches had begun a strong campaign of raiding, stealing horses and killing isolated settlers. This increase of attacks had many Texans nervous and expecting large Indian attacks at any time.
In January 1865 many Bosque County men fought in the famed battle of Dove Creek in what is now Tom Green County. Captain N.Gillentine having discovered the recent grave of a young Indian girl and the tracks of a large Indian party immediately sent a report to Ft. Belknap and Confederate Colonel Buck Barry. He then headed to Meridian to report to Major Erath. Finding Major Erath absent he made his report to Captain S. S. Totten. Totten then contacted Colonel "Buck" Barry asking him to meet his militiamen on December 25 at Camp McCord. Colonel Barry turned the Confederacy's part over to Captain Henry Fossett a native of Maine.
Under the leadership of Captain S.S. Totten, Captain Henry Fossett and the aid of Captain Jack Cureton a disastrous attack was launched upon a tribe of Kickapoos and a few Potowami who had been in the service of the Confederacy in Kansas. This tribe after growing tired of the war had chosen to migrate to Mexico where a small band of their tribesmen lived.
The tribe led by the Kickapoo chiefs Papequah, Pecan and Nokowhat had been moving slowly south, hunting buffalo along the way for winter meat .On January 1, 1865, the band found itself only a few days' march from the Rio Grande and the safety of Mexico. The chiefs decided after such a long travel and no signs of threat to let the tribe halt for a much needed rest. With signs of an approaching winter storm they chose a camp site on a flat divided by Dove Creek, with a high bluff facing the wind to provide shelter. Their camp consisted of 160 teepees.
On January 8, 1865, the Confederate force, mistakenly believing this was a large war party, attacked. When the attack first began the Potowami warriors were stunned, but soon recovered and retreated to ravines covered with brush located near their camp. From these locations they were able to fire straight upon the advancing soldiers. In just minutes they were able to cut down dozens of confederate soldiers. Within an hour of the attack, the Confederate line broke.
Retreating to the safety of a distant ridge, the Confederate officers took stock of their losses, counting 26 dead and approximately 60 wounded. Immediately after the battle the tribe hastily packed and crossed the Rio Grande into Mexico. They reportedly lost 15 tribal members in the attack. Feeling that Texas had declared war against them by the attack at Dove Creek, in the spring of 1865, the Mexican Potowami and Kickapoo launched 20 years of fighting against Texans