Honey Springs Battlefield and Visitor Center will hold its annual memorial service honoring the 156th anniversary of the Battle of Honey Springs near Checotah on Saturday, July 13, at 10:30 a.m.

The memorial service is open to all visitors. Guest speaker Steven Alcorn, an independent scholar and former history teacher, will present the “whys” of the Battle of Honey Springs. James Floyd, principal chief of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, will provide opening remarks. A presentation of colors by the color guard will precede the program, as well as an invocation by Reverend Jim Jones from the First United Methodist Church out of Checotah. Following the program, the color guard will retire the colors, after which a light lunch will be served inside the Visitor Center courtesy of the Friends of Honey Springs Battlefield. All visitors are welcome to attend the Friends of Honey Springs Battlefield annual meeting and lunch following the retiring of the colors.

The service commemorates the largest of approximately 107 documented Civil War military engagements throughout Indian Territory, in present-day Oklahoma. The engagement took place on July 17, 1863, just two weeks after the famous Battles of Gettysburg and Vicksburg. Approximately 9,000 Union and Confederate troops, mostly American Indians and African Americans, were involved in the Battle of Honey Springs. Of those, approximately 200 total casualties were suffered. After a decisive Union victory, Confederates lost control of Indian Territory north of the Arkansas River. The Union victory also ensured Federal control of Fort Gibson in Indian Territory and Fort Smith in Arkansas.

For more information regarding the memorial service and Honey Springs Battlefield and Visitor Center, please email honeysprings@okhistory.org or alynn@okhistory.org, or call 918-473-5572. Honey Springs Battlefield and Visitor Center is located east of U.S. Highway 69 between Oktaha and Rentiesville. The Visitor Center is located on a hill within close proximity to the Oklahoma Blues Hall of Fame in Rentiesville. Take the second left after reaching the Oklahoma Blues Hall of Fame Museum (driving from the west). Directions to the battlefield will be provided upon arrival at the Visitor Center.

Honey Springs Battlefield and Visitor Center is a division of the Oklahoma Historical Society. The mission of the Oklahoma Historical Society is to collect, preserve and share the history and culture of the state of Oklahoma and its people. Founded in 1893 by members of the Territorial Press Association, the OHS maintains museums, historic sites and affiliates across the state. Through its research archives, exhibits, educational programs and publications the OHS chronicles the rich history of Oklahoma. For more information about the OHS, please visit www.okhistory.org.