Northwest Arkansas march 7 December 81862

During the fall of 1861 and winter of 1862, Federal forces vied for control of southwestern Missouri with the pro-secessionist State Guard, commanded by Major General Sterling Price, and Confederate forces from Arkansas under General Ben McCulloch. The region changed hands several times.

In February 1862 a Federal army of over 10,000 men, under General Samuel R. Curtis, captured Springfield, driving the Missouri State Guard into northwestern Arkansas. There, Price united with McCulloch under the overall command of Confederate general Earl Van Dorn. With 16,500 men, Van Dorn enjoyed a rare superiority of numbers. He advanced immediately, marching his men through winter ice storms to reach the Federal army's rear on March 7. However, the men's exhaustion, poor coordination, and a shortage of ammunition robbed the attack of much of its effectiveness.

Faced with a surprise attack on his right flank and rear, Curtis performed masterfully. He gradually shifted his army to the north, parrying the uncoordinated Confederate assaults throughout the day. On March 8 he counterattacked and Van

Dorn, decisively defeated, withdrew. The Union lost 1,270; the Confederates about 2,000.

The dramatic Federal successes, which began with General Grant's capture of forts Henry and Donelson in February 1862, shifted attention and resources away from the Trans-Mississippi theater. After Van Dorn led reinforcements across the Mississippi, Confederate Major General Thomas C. Hindman raised an army of 11,000 men, and in early December moved against Brigadier General James G. Blunt's 7,000 men near Fayetteville, hoping to defeat them before 3,000 men arrived from Springfield under Brigadier General Francis J. Herron.

When his own movement proved slower than Herron's, Hindman left a small force to hold Blunt, and moved instead against Herron. But rather than attacking, he. assumed a defensive position at Prairie Grove. Herron's assaults on December proved ineffective, nor did Blunt's arrival later give the Union victory. Athough the: battle ended in a draw, Hindipan witfp . drew, leaving Arkansas vulnerable to subsequent Federal advances.

Silent and sad. The vulture and the wolf have now communion, and the dead, friends and foes, sleep in the same lonely grave."

Gen. Samuel Ryan Curtis after Pea Ridge.

Early March: Federal army under Gen. Samuel Curtis deploys along Little Sugar Creek

Van Dora's combined loices bypass the:," .strong Union paction by billow ng the. ' Ben tonville dc louri :ITie marcttcxhaiLst-s his men ¡ind li imdreds drop-out ea. route

March 7: Van Dorri teaches Federal army re&vbutis detected tjv -Union scoutf .

March 7: Guriis^raduajK- shift?.-his trortj» .from tlieir entrenched fleCensiye paction?: to meet' the uncoordinated 'y: . CimfL-riesite attach to his righlflank and rear" . " ". - r ■ : . /

Early March: Federal army under Gen. Samuel Curtis deploys along Little Sugar Creek

Van Dora's combined loices bypass the:," .strong Union paction by billow ng the. ' Ben tonville dc louri :ITie marcttcxhaiLst-s his men ¡ind li imdreds drop-out ea. route

March 7: Van Dorri teaches Federal army re&vbutis detected tjv -Union scoutf .

March 7: Guriis^raduajK- shift?.-his trortj» .from tlieir entrenched fleCensiye paction?: to meet' the uncoordinated 'y: . CimfL-riesite attach to his righlflank and rear" . " ". - r ■ : . /

After defeating Gen, Nathaniel Lyon and occupying Lexington in 1-861, Sterling Price-wintered in Southern Missouri. To revenge these:defeats,ra Union army itndtr Gen. SamuelRyan Curtis was s:ent to tfye~ region early in 1862. Outnumbered, Price retreated .until reinforced,by ot/erail. Confederate commander EatfoYan Dorn. Van

Dorn Tedr'hi5~ fxirxes ag0 -

converged at Pea Ridge (see map left).

After defeating Gen, Nathaniel Lyon and occupying Lexington in 1-861, Sterling Price-wintered in Southern Missouri. To revenge these:defeats,ra Union army itndtr Gen. SamuelRyan Curtis was s:ent to tfye~ region early in 1862. Outnumbered, Price retreated .until reinforced,by ot/erail. Confederate commander EatfoYan Dorn. Van

Dorn Tedr'hi5~ fxirxes ag0 -

converged at Pea Ridge (see map left).

Ben McCulloch (below) was so popular that when he was felled by a shot through the heart the fighting effectiveness of his troops evaporated, many of them simply wandering from the field, stupefied with grief.

Ben McCulloch (below) was so popular that when he was felled by a shot through the heart the fighting effectiveness of his troops evaporated, many of them simply wandering from the field, stupefied with grief.

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