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THE BATTLE OF PEA RIDGE.
few light guns, with orders to perse refill its cartridge-boxes. Curtis orvere; and at length, at 2 P. M., find- dered a bayonet-charge, and the regiing his left wholly unassailed, ordered ment at once moved steadily back to Gen. Asboth to move to the right its former position.. by the Fayetteville road to Elkhorn Meantime, Gen. Asboth had plantTavern, to support Carr, while Gen. ed his artillery in the road and openSigel should rëenforce Davis at Lee- ed a heavy fire on the Rebel masses town, pushing on to Elkhorn if not just at hand, while, of his infantry, needed in the center.
the 2d Missouri plunged into the Gen. Curtis, with Asboth's divi- fight. The fire on both sides was sion, reached Elkhorn at 5 P. M. He close and deadly. Gen. Asboth was
severely wounded, Gen. Curtis's or- in hand, while at least a third of it derly was hit, and one of his body had not yet fired a shot. Not a man guard fell dead. As the shades of in our ranks doubted that our vicnight fell, a messenger from Sigel tory must be speedy as well as degave tidings that he was coming up cisive. on the left, and would soon open fire. The sun rose; Gen. Curtis awaited Asboth's batteries fell back, being the completion of his line of battle out of ammunition, and the Rebels by Asboth’s and Sigel's divisions getwere enabled to fire the last shot. A ting into position; but no shot was little after dark, both armies sank fired by the enemy. At length, Curdown on the battle-field, and slept tis ordered Col. Davis, in our center, amid the dead and the dying. to begin the day's work. He was
Curtis, finding that Van Dorn had instantly replied to from new batconcentrated all his forces on this teries and lines which the Rebels had point, directed Davis to withdraw all prepared during the night, some of his reserve from the center, and move the batteries raking our right wing forward to the ground on Carr's left, so that it was constrained to fall back which was effected by midnight. a little, but without slackening its Sigel, though he had reported him- fire. Asboth's and Sigel's divisions self just at hand at dark, was obliged were soon in position, completing our to make a detour, and did not reach line of battle a little to the rear of headquarters till 2 A. M.
the first, but without a break, and Van Dorn slept that night at the much of it on open ground, our left Elkhorn Tavern, from which he had wing extended so that it could not be dislodged Davis by such desperate flanked. Gen. Curtis ordered his efforts,13 He had thus far been fight- right to advance to the positions held ing a part of our forces with all of his the night before, and, finding himown, and had only gained ground self an elevation on the extreme where his preponderance of numbers right, considerably in advance, which was overwhelming. Curtis reports commanded the enemy's center and his entire command in Arkansas at left, here posted the Dubuque bat10,500, cavalry and infantry—of tery, directing the right wing to adwhom 250 were absent after forage vance to its support, while Capt. throughout the battle—and 48 pièces Hayden opened from it a most gallof artillery. He estimates the Rebel ing fire. Returning to the center, force in battle at 30,000, including he directed the 1st Iowa battery, 5,000 Indians.94 Pollard says, “Van Capt. David, to take position in an Dorn's whole force was about 16,000 open field and commence operations; men.” But now our whole army was and so battery after battery opened
13 Pollard says, “We had taken during the least camp-talk amongst officers high in comday 7 cannon and about 200 prisoners."
mand so represented—that our united forces 14 The Richmond Whig of April 9th, 1862, has |
I would carry into action nearly 30,000 men,
more frequently estimated at 35,000 than a lower a Rebel letter from one present to Hon. G. G. figure. I believe Gen. Van Dorn was confident Vest, which says:
that not a man less than 25,000 were panting to “When the enemy left Cove creek, which is follow his victorious plume to a field where south of Boston Mountain, Gens. Price, McCul- prouder honors awaited them than any he had loch, Pike, and McIntosh seemed to think-at! yet gathered."
VAN DORN RETIRES FROM PEA RIDGE.
31 fire, the infantry moving steadily to mistakably ours, but the trophies their support, while the left wing were not abundant. No cannon, nor was pushed rapidly forward, climb- caissons, nor prisoners of any account, ing a low cliff from which the Rebels save a few too severely wounded to had been driven by our guns, and hobble off, were taken; and, though crowding them back into the deep a letter to The New York Herald, ravines of Cross-Timber Hollow. written from the battle-field on the The 36th Illinois was prominent in 9th, speaks of “a considerable quanthis movement; while the 12th Mis- tity of wagons, supplies, etc., a load souri, pushing into the enemy's lines, of powder, and nearly a thousand captured a flag and two guns. stand of arms," as captured by Sigel
The flight of the Rebels was so sud- during his pursuit of the fugitives den and swift, and the ravines where upon the Keytesville road, they do. in they disappeared so impracticable not figure in either of Sigel's official for cavalry, that our commanders reports of the battle, nor yet in those were for some time at fault in the of Curtis. The beaten Confederates, pursuit. Gen. Sigel pushed north on fleeing with celerity in different dithe Keytesville road, where but few rections and by many paths, finally of them had gone; and it was not came together in the direction of till afternoon that Gen. Curtis ascer- Bentonville, some 8 miles from the tained that, after entering the Hol- Elkhorn Tavern, whence Van Dorn low, the main Rebel force had turn- dispatched a flag of truce to Curtis, ed to the right, following obscure soliciting an arrangement for buryravines which led into the Hunts- ing the dead, which was accorded. ville road, on which they escaped. Pollard makes a scarcity of ammuCol. Bussey, with our cavalry and nition a main reason for Van Dorn's howitzers, followed them beyond retreat, and it is probable that neither Bentonville.!
army was well supplied with carGen. Curtis reports his entire loss tridges at the close of this protracted in the battle at 1,351, of whom 701 though desultory struggle. He adds -more than half—were of Col. that “Gen. Curtis was forced to fall Carr's division. The Rebel loss can back into Missouri," and that the hardly have been less; since, in ad-“ total abandonment of their enterdition to Gens. Ben McCulloch and prise of subjugation in Arkansas is McIntosh killed, Gens. Price and the most conclusive evidence in the Slack were wounded.
world that the Federals were worsted The victory at Pea Ridge was un- by Gen. Van Dorn;" but fails to
15 Pollard says:
vision was placed in position to follow; while " About 91 o'clock, Van Dorn had completed Gen. Van Dorn so disposed of his remaining his arrangements to withdraw his forces. Find. | force as best to deceive the enemy as to his ining that his right wing was much disorganized. tention, and to hold him in check while execuand that the batteries were, one after another. | ting it. An attempt was made by the enemy to retiring from the field, with every shot expend. | follow the retreating column. It was effectually ed, he had determined to withdraw his forces in
checked, however; and, about 2 P.M., the Conthe direction of their supplies. This was ac
federates encamped about six miles from the complished with almost perfect success. The
field of battle, all the artillery and baggage ambulances, crowded with the wounded, were | joining the army in safety. They brought away sent in advance; a portion of McCulloch's di- | from the field of battle 300 prisoners, 4 cannon,
and 3 baggage-wagons."
mention the fact that the Confederate century, it is certain that the mass of army was also compelled to fall back the Indians there collected still reto a region less wasted and exhaust- garded with just indignation the ed than that which for many miles wrongs they had experienced, rememsurrounded the well-fought field of bering fondly the pleasant streams Pea Ridge.
and valleys of the lower Alleghanies,
from which they had been forcibly As this was the only important and wrongfully expelled. But their battle in which 'Indians' in consid- Chiefs had been early corrupted in erable numbers took part, and as their old homes, by the example and they were all found fighting--or, practice among their White neighmore strictly, yelling on the side of bors of slaveholding—a practice novel the Confederacy, a few words of ex- indeed, but eminently congenial to planation may be pertinent.
the natural indolence and pride of We have seen 18 that the important the savage character. They, conseaboriginal tribes known to us as quently, adhered to it in their new Creeks and Cherokees, holding from location; and, since to hold slaves time immemorial extensive and de- was a proof of wealth and importsirable territories, mainly within the ance, nearly every one who by any States of North Carolina and Georgia, means obtained property, exchanged but extending also into Tennessee a part of it for one or more negroes; and Alabama, were constrained to who, if they did not by labor increase surrender those lands to the lust of his wealth, were certain, by flattery the neighboring Whites, and migrate and servility, to magnify his conscious across the Mississippi, at the in- importance. Thus thoroughly satustance of the State authorities, re- rated with the virus of slaveholding, sisted, in obedience to treaties, by the most civilized Indian tribes fell President John Quincy Adams, and an easy prey to the arts of the Consuccumbed to, in defiance of treaties federate emissaries. The agents and repeated judgments of the Su-| through whom they received their preme Court, by President Andrew annuities and transacted most of their Jackson. They were located, with business with the Federal Governsome smaller tribes, in a region lying ment, had nearly always been Demodirectly westward of Arkansas and cratic politicians-of course, pro-Slanorth of the Red river, to which the very, and generally Southern-and name of Indian Territory was given, for the last eight years emphatically so. and which, lying between the 34th These agents had little difficulty, at and 37th parallels of North latitude, the outset of the Rebellion, in perand well watered by the Arkansas suading their Chiefs that the old and several affluents of that and of Union was irrecoverably destroyed; Red river, was probably as genial that it was scarcely probable that an and inviting as any new region to effort would be made to restore it; which they could have been transfer- and that, at all events, their interests red. Yet, though their removal had and their safety dictated an alliance been effected nearly a quarter of a with that Confederacy which was
16 See Vol. I., pages 102-6.
THE WAR AMONG THE INDIANS.
their immediate neighbor, and of ocrat 18 called loudly for rëenforcewhich the conservation and perpetu- ments to the Rebel array in the Inity of slaveholding was the most dian Territory, and expressed apprecherished idea. Some of those Chiefs hension that the Northern party have since insisted that they were might prove the stronger. A battle deceived by the Confederate emissa- between the antagonistic Indian ries, and especially by Gen. Albert forces took place. Dec. 9th, 1861, on Pike, chief Commissioner for Indian Bushy creek, near the Verdigris Affairs of the Confederacy, who had river, 180 miles west of Fort Smith, led them to confound that concern the Confederates being led by Col. with the Union. What is certain is, Cooper, the Unionists by Opothleyolo. that, directly after tidings reached The result was not decisive, but the them of the battles of Bull Run and advantage appears to have been with Wilson's creek—the latter reported the Rebel party, the Unionists being to them from that side as a complete constrained soon after to make their discomfiture of the North, which way northward to Kansas, where they view the undoubted death of Lyon received the supplies they so much and abandonment of Springfield tend- needed, and where a treaty of close ed strongly to corroborate the Chiefs alliance was negotiated 1 between of most of the tribes very generally Opothleyolo and his followers on one entered into a close offensive and de- side, and Col. Dole, U. S. Commisfensive alliance with the Confeder- sioner of Indian Affairs, on the other. acy; even so cautious and politic a The Rebels were thus left in undiplomatist as John Ross throwing disputed possession of the Indian his weight into that scale. It is said Territory, from which they collected that, after the death of Lyon, Ben the four or five thousand warriors McCulloch's brigade of Texans was who appeared at Pea Ridge; but, marched back to the Indian border, though the ground was mainly broand that the Creeks and Cherokees ken and wooded, affording every fawere impressively required to decide cility for irregular warfare, they do quickly between the North and the not seem to have proved of much South; else, betwixt Texas on the one account, save in the consumption side and Arkansas on the other, a of rations and massacre of the force of 20,000 Confederates would Union wounded, of whom at least speedily ravage and lay waste their a score fell victims to their barbarcountry. They decided accordingly. ities. Their war-whoop was overYet a very large minority of both borne by the roar of our heavy Creeks and Cherokees rallied around guns; they were displeased with the the Chief Opothleyolo, made head frequent falling on their heads of against the current, and stood firm great branches and tops of the trces for the Union. Assembling near the behind which they had sought shelter; Creek Agency, they tore down the and, in fact, the whole conduct of Rebel flag there flying and replanted the battle on our part was, to their apthe Stars and Stripes; and a letter 17 prehension, disgusting. The amount from Col. McIntosh to the True Dem- of effort and of profanity expendedi 17 Oct. 17, 1861. 18 Little Rock, Arkansas. 19 At Leavenworth, Feb. 1, 1862.
Creeks of Opothley and stoor