This flag used by Choctaw braves displays some of their traditional weapons. The First Choctaw and Chickasaw Mounted Rifles was formed in 1861. Over 1000 Choctaw warriors dressed as they saw fit, some wearing Euro-American clothing, and others traditional covering. These warriors were known as fierce fighters, and there are many stories of their bravery.
This is one story told by Major S.G. Spann, commanding Spann’s Battalion of Mounted Scouts. Anyone who has seen firsthand the raging waters of a river after heavy rainfall can appreciate the courage of the actions described below. (The “Jack Amos” mentioned was Eabantatubbee, the grand-nephew of the great Chief Pushmattaha, called Jack Amos by his white friends). In Spann’s words:
“…in the early part of June, 1863, rain fell in torrents flooding the streams, the roads became impassable, and country bridges were washed away. Vicksburg was being besieged by Grant, and reinforcements were ordered to the assistance of Pemberton. Chunkey River intervened and the bridge across the river was submerged and the water far out of the river banks. The engineer was under military orders, and his long train of cars was filled with Confederate soldiers, who like the engineer, were animated with but one impulse, to Vicksburg! to victory or death!
“Onward rushed the engineer. All passed over except the hindmost car. The bridge had swerved out of plumb and into the raging waters with nearly one hundred soldiers the rear car was precipitated. “Help!” was the cry, but there was no help. The cry reached the camp. “Fly to the rescue!” was the command, and in less time than I can tell the story every Indian was at the scene. It was there that Jack Amos again displayed his courage and devotion to the Confederate soldiers. I must not omit to say, however, that with a like valor and zeal Elder Williams, another full-blood Indian soldier, proved equal to the emergency…. Led by these two dauntless braves, every Indian present stripped and plunged into that raging river to the rescue of the drowning soldiers. Ninety-six bodies were brought out upon a prominent strip of land above the water line. Twenty-two were resuscitated and returned to their commands…”
It seems no one would have survived if the Choctaws had not leaped to the rescue.
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