Douglas H. Cooper

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Douglas Hancock Cooper
Born (1815-11-01)November 1, 1815
Amite County, Mississippi
Died April 29, 1879(1879-04-29) (aged 63)
Bryan County, Oklahoma
Place of burial Bryan County, Oklahoma Fort Washita Post Cemetery
Allegiance United States United States of America
 Confederate States of America
Service/branch  United States Army
 Confederate States Army
Years of service 1846–48 (USA)
1861–65 (CSA)
Rank Union army cpt rank insignia.jpg Captain (US Army)
Confederate States of America General.png Brigadier general (CS Army)
Commands held Mississippi 1st Mississippi Rifles,
1st Choctaw and Chickasaw Mounted Rifles
Battles/wars Mexican-American War
-Battle of Monterrey
-Battle of Buena Vista
American Civil War
- Battle of Round Mountain
- Battle of Chusto-Talasah
- Battle of Chustenahlah
- Battle of Elkhorn Tavern
- First Battle of Newtonia
- Battle of Old Fort Wayne
- Battle of Honey Springs

Douglas Hancock Cooper (November 1, 1815 – April 29, 1879) was an American politician, a soldier, an Indian Agent in what is now Oklahoma, and a Confederate general during the American Civil War.

Early life and career[edit]

Cooper was born November 1, 1815, most likely in Amite County, Mississippi. His father, David Cooper, was a physician and Baptist minister. Cooper attended the University of Virginia from 1832 until 1834; his classmates included future Civil War generals Carnot Posey, Lafayette McLaws, and John B. Magruder. Cooper returned home to take up farming in Wilkinson County, Mississippi in the Cold Springs community, which was a tiny village between Woodville and Natchez. He married Mary Collins of Natchez and had 7 children. Entering politics, he was elected in 1844 to serve in the Mississippi State Legislature.

Cooper raised a regiment during the Mexican-American War, the 1st Mississippi Rifles, and served as a captain. He was cited for bravery and gallantry at the Battle of Monterrey.

In 1853, through the influence of Secretary of War Jefferson Davis, who served with Cooper at the Mexican-American War Battle of Buena Vista, President Franklin Pierce appointed Cooper as the Federal agent to the Choctaw tribe. Cooper helped peaceably remove them to Indian Territory. Three years later, he also became the agent to the Chickasaw tribe, who respected and trusted Cooper and soon officially adopted him as a full member.

Civil War[edit]

With the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, Cooper sided with the Confederacy. In May, Secretary of War Leroy Pope Walker sent Cooper a letter authorizing him to "take measures to secure the protection of these tribes in their present country from the agrarian rapacity of the North." He raised a regiment known as the 1st Choctaw and Chickasaw Mounted Rifles and was commissioned as its colonel. Given brigade command, Cooper pursued the Creek Indian leader Opothleyahola in November and December, when the latter led his loyal Union followers toward Kansas. Cooper's brigade fought at the battles of Round Mountain[1] and Chusto-Talasah,[2] winning a decisive victory at Chustenahlah.[3]

In 1862, Cooper led Confederate troops at the battles of Elkhorn Tavern, Newtonia and Honey Springs. He was promoted to brigadier general on May 2, 1862, and given the district command of Indian Territory on September 29, 1862. Rumors circulated that the Indians were dissatisfied with Cooper. To refute this, letters of support from Indian leaders were sent to Richmond, Virginia, to President Jefferson Davis. Cooper commanded the "Indian Brigade" in Indian Territory during Maj. Gen. Sterling Price's second invasion of Missouri in 1864.

Postbellum activities[edit]

After the war, Cooper continued to live in the Indian Territory and was an ardent supporter of Choctaw and Chickasaw land claims against the Federal government. He died April 29, 1879, at Fort Washita (in what is now Bryan County, Oklahoma) and was buried in the old fort cemetery in an unmarked grave.[4]

See also[edit]


  • Eicher, John H., and David J. Eicher, Civil War High Commands. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2001. ISBN 978-0-8047-3641-1.
  • Sifakis, Stewart. Who Was Who in the Civil War. New York: Facts On File, 1988. ISBN 978-0-8160-1055-4.
  • Warner, Ezra J. Generals in Gray: Lives of the Confederate Commanders. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1959. ISBN 978-0-8071-0823-9.
  • U.S. War Department, The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, 70 volumes in 4 series. Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, 1880-1901.


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