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chilly; while the roads were in good condition. Gen. Blunt, commanding the 1st division, in good part of Kansas troops, numbering about 5,000 men, was at Cane Hill, or Boonesborough, some 10 miles north-west of Van Buren, and 18 south-west of Fayetteville, when he was apprised of this advance,” with one of his three brigades (Gen. Salomon's), protecting his trains at Rhea's Mills, 8 miles north. Determined not to be driven out of Arkansas, he telegraphed in various directions for Gen. Herron, commanding the 2d and 3d divisions, now in Missouri, and left subject to his orders by Gen. Schofield's departure; and attempted, by showing a bold front and directing his cavalry to skirmish sharply with the Rebel vanguard, to delay Hindman's advance until Herron could reach him. Blunt's dispatch found * that able and earnest leader at Wilson's creek, some 10 miles south of Springfield, but with most "of his command from 10 to 20 miles nearer the Arkansas line. Within three hours, his divisions were in motion southerly, making marches of fully 20 miles per day, with all their guns and trains. Having reached Elkhorn," he dispatched Col. Wickersham, with his 3,000 cavalry, to the more immediate relief of Blunt; and pushing on to Fayetteville, marching all night, he entered that place at 4 A. M., on Sunday morning, Dec. 7th. Impressed with the peril
of Blunt, he rested his men but an hour or so before putting his column again in motion, and had proceeded but 5 or 6 miles when his advance was met by the 1st Arkansas and 7th Missouri (Union) cavalry, being a part of those he had dispatched from Elkhorn to the aid of Blunt, who had just before been attacked and thrown into great disorder by Marmaduke's Rebel cavalry, forming the vanguard of IIindman's army. Gen. Blunt had been skirmishing for the last two days with what he supposed the advance of the enemy's main body; but learned, at 8 P.M. of the 6th, that Hindman had turned his left and interposed between him and all of Herron's infantry and artillery. Col. Wickersham, with 4 cavalry regiments, reported to Blunt at Cane Hill two hours afterward, with tidings that Herron would be at Fayetteville early next morning. Blunt now attempted to warn Herron of his danger, but it was too late; his messengers were intercepted by Marmaduke's cavalry. Hindman was probably reaching for Blunt's trains at Rhea's Mills, when, to their mutual astonishment, he locked horns with Herron on Illinois creek, near the settlement known as PRAIRIE GROVE. Herron, divested of his cavalry, had but about 4,000 men in hand, and ought to have stood on the defensive," availing himself of every advantage of position and shelter.
* Dec. 2. * Dec. 3. " On the evening of the 5th.
* Gen. Herron, in a private letter to a friend at Dubuque, Iowa, dated Dec. 16, says:
“For four miles, we fought their cavalry, driving them back to Illinois creek, where I found their whole force strongly posted on a long ridge, with magnificent positions for batteries. For one mile in front, it was clear ground, and my road lay right in the center of their line.
From a prisoner taken, I learned that Hindman was on the ridge, with his whole force, and intended to whip me out before Blunt could get up; in other words, to take us one at a time. The case looked tough, with Blunt ten miles away, and 25,000 men between us; but I saw at a glance there were just two things that could be done; namely, fight them without delay, and depend on the chance of Blunt's hearing me
Anxious, however, for Blunt's safety, and apprehending that he might be at that moment enveloped by an overwhelming Rebel force, he drove the Rebel cavalry impetuously across the creek, only to find their infantry and artillery strongly posted on a high, wooded ridge, three-quarters of a mile distant; their numbers concealed by the timber and thick underbrush. Sending across a light battery, which was instantly driven back, he, while still threatening a fresh advance on the road, cut a path to the creek, half a mile farther down, and pushed across a battery at a point which enabled it to draw the fire of the Rebel artillery. This movement, being unsuspected and unperceived by the enemy, was entirely successful; and, before the Rebels had recovered from their surprise and confusion, Herron had pushed three full batteries, backed by three good regiments of infantry, across the regular ford. These batteries were so excellent and so admirably served that they had silenced, in one hour's firing, their Rebel antagonists. Ours were thereupon advanced across an open field, firing volleys of grape and canister, until within a hundred yards of the ridge held by the Rebels, when the 20th Wisconsin and 19th Iowa infantry were ordered to charge the Rebel battery in their front. They did so most gallantly, hurling back its supports and taking the battery; but were unable to hold it, and compelled to fall back. Their charge was at once returned with interest by the Rebel infantry, intent on the capture of our three batteries, and rushing up to within a hundred yards of the guns,
when they were likewise repulsed with great slaughter. A fresh brigade, consisting of the 26th Indiana and 37th Illinois infantry, being now brought up from the right to the relief of our exhausted center, Col. Houston ordered and led a charge against the same Rebel battery which had been fruitlessly charged already. Again it was taken, and again the captors were compelled to abandon it by the overwhelming fire of infantry concentrated upon them. Thus the battle stood, still desperately contested, neither lost nor won, when, at 24 P. M., Herron heard the welcome music of a battery opening at some distance on his right, and was soon assured that Blunt's division was on hand. Blunt had that morning sent Col. Wickersham, with his cavalry, in advance, followed by Gen. Salomon's infantry brigade, with directions to move rapidly on the Fayetteville road, and form a junction, if possible, with Herron. Three miles north of Cane Hill, however, Wickersham had taken the left-hand road to Rhea's Mills, instead of the right, leading directly to Fayetteville; and Blunt, on reaching the fork, had followed, deeming it imprudent to dislocate his command. Coming up at length with Wickersham, he ordered him to face toward Fayetteville, and endeavor to reach Herron. Wickersham had barely started, when, a little after noon, the boom of artillery was heard in the north-east, and, leaving Gen. Salomon's brigade to guard his trains at Rhea's Mills, Blunt set forward, over a blind, hilly road, with his two others, in the direction of the fire. At 1:45 P.M., Gen. Blunt, in ad
and coming up, or retreat and lose my whole train. It required no time to make a decision."
vance of his division, came into full view of the field where the battle was fiercely raging. The Rebels were very strongly posted on high, rolling ground, covered by timber, and only approached from the north over large, open fields, which afforded no cover, save that a part of them bore a crop of ripe corn. Blunt's eccentric advance had brought him in front of the enemy's left, where they had been massing a large force for the purpose of flanking Herron's position. The flankers found an enemy much nearer than they expected, and were at once hotly engaged with Blunt's division. Its three batteries, firing shell and case-shot at short range, soon proved an overmatch for the two Rebel batteries opposed to them, driving them and their supports back into the woods; where they were charged by Col. Weer, leading the 10th, 13th, and part of the 2d and 11th Kansas and 20th Iowa, and a musketry fight of three hours was maintained with equal energy by the contending hosts. Meantime, our batteries were advanced at various points and served with rare efficiency; Lieut. Tenney, with six 10-pound Parrotts, repelling with shell and canister, while unsupported, a formidable infantry attack. Here fell the Rebel Gen. Stein, of Missouri. A battery of 10 guns, well supported, opening upon Tenney, he in ten minutes silenced its clamor, dismounting two of the guns, and driving off the residue. An attempt to capture Rabb's and Hopkins's batteries, which were supported by the 11th Kansas, Lt.Col. Moonlight, was defeated with fearful slaughter.
As darkness came on, the firing gradually slackened and ceased ; the Rebels recoiling into their woody covert, our soldiers sleeping on their arms in the open field where they had so bravely struggled, expecting to renew the combat at daylight. Meanwhile, our wounded were all cared for, the trains of the whole army sent to Fayetteville; and Gen. Salomon's brigade, relieved from the duty of guarding them, ordered to the field; ammunition brought up and distributed, and everything made ready for proceeding to business at dawn; but, just before daylight, Gen. Blunt received a flag of truce from Hindman, asking a personal interview with reference to the burial of the dead and relief of the wounded. Blunt met Hindman accordingly, and was soon satisfied that the meeting so solicited was but a trick; that Hindman had no force present or near but his staff-escort, and a party left to gather up his wounded; that the bulk of his army had commenced retreating several hours before.
Our loss in this battle was 167 killed, 798 wounded, and 183 missing—total, 1,148. Most of the missing were captured in Marmaduke's initial attack on our cavalry, and were exchanged directly afterward. Of our loss, no less than 953 fell on IIerron's command of hardly more than 4,000 men. Lt.-Col. McFarland, who led the 19th Iowa in its first charge, was killed; as was Maj. Burdett, of the 7th Missouri cavalry. Lt.-Col. Black, 37th Illinois, and Maj. Thompson, 20th Iowa, were among the wounded. The Rebel loss” must have been greater, because
* Gen. Blunt, in his official report, says: “The enemy's loss in killed and wounded can
not fall short of 3,000, and will probably much exceed that number, as many of them, not severely wounded, were taken to Van Buren. Their loss in killed upon the ground will reach 1,000; the greater number of whom have been buried by my command.” Pollard, on the other hand, says of this battle: “Our whole line of infantry were in close conflict nearly the whole day with the enemy, who were attempting, with their force of 18,000 men, to drive us from our position. In every instance, they were repulsed, and finally driven back from the field; Gen. Hindman driving them to within 8 miles of Fayetteville; when our forces fell back to their supply dépôt, between Cane Hill and Van Buren. We captured 300 prisoners, and vast quantities of stores. The enemy's loss in killed and wounded was about 1,000; the Confederate loss, in killed, wounded, and missing, about 300.” Gen. Blunt further says of this Pollard victory:
THE river Tennessee, taking rise in the rugged valleys of south-western Virginia, between the Alleghany and the Cumberland ranges of mountains, but drawing tribute also from western North Carolina and northern Georgia, traverses East Tennessee in a generally W. S. W. direction, entering Alabama at its N. E. corner; and, after a detour of some 300 miles, through the northern part of that State, passes out at its N. W. corner; rèentering Tennessee, and, passing again through that State in a course due north, and forming the boundary between what are designated respectively West and Middle Tennessee, thence flowing N. N. W. till it falls into the Ohio scarcely 70 miles above the mouth of that river, whereof it
is the largest tributary, draining an area of over 40,000 square miles. Very rarely frozen, it is usually navigable, save in dry summers, from its mouth to the Muscle Shoals, toward the lower end of its, course through Alabama, and thence by smaller boats at high stages of water some 500 miles, to Knoxville, the capital of East Tennessee. The Cumberland, draining the opposite slope of the Cumberland Mountains, takes its rise in the heart of eastern Kentucky, and, pursuing a similar but shorter course, runs W. S. W. into Middle Tennessee, which it traverses very much as the Tennessee does northern Alabama, passing Nashville, its capital, bending N. W. into Kentucky some 20 miles eastward of the latter river,
“Their transportation had been left south of the mountains, and their retreat thereby made unincumbered and stealthy. I am assured by my own men who were prisoners with them, as well as by deserters from their ranks, that they tore up the blankets of their men to muffle the wheels of their artillery.”
Gen. Herron, in a private letter, dated Dec. 15th, says:
“The loss of the enemy is terrific. After their burial-parties had been on the ground for three days, we had to turn in and bury 300 for them. The country for 25 miles around is full of their wounded. We have, as captures, 4 caissons full of ammunition, and about 300 stand of arms. Hindman had prepared himself, and risked all on this fight. His movements were shrewdly managed; and nothing but desperately hard fighting ever carried us through.”
and pursuing a generally parallel course to that stream, to its own reception by the Ohio, and being navigable for 250 miles by large steamboats, save in seasons of summer drouth, and by boats of 500 tuns for some 300 miles further. These two— the only rivers, save the Mississippi, navigable southward from the border of the Free into the Slave States— were obviously regarded on both sides, in view of the notorious impracticability of Southern roads in Winter and Spring, as the natural routes of advance for our Western armies collected and drilled on and near the Ohio during the Autumn of 1861 and the Winter following. The close of 1861 left Gen. Humphrey Marshall, commanding the Confederate forces in south-eastern Kentucky, intrenched at Paintville, Johnson county, intent on gathering supplies and recruiting. Col. James A. Garfield, of Ohio, commanding a Union brigade consisting of the 42d Ohio, 14th Kentucky, and a squadron of Ohio cavalry, moved up the Big Sandy early in 1862, occupying Paintville' without resistance, and pushing on to Prestonburg, Floyd county; near which town, at the forks of Middle creek, he encountered Marshall, whom he put to flight with little loss on either side. Garfield reported his full strength in this engagement at 1,800, and estimated that of Marshall at 2,500. Marshall was obliged to retreat into Virginia. Cumberland Gap was abandoned without resistance to the Unionists next month;' and Gen. Garfield, with 600 men, made a rapid excursion’ to Pound Gap, where he surprised a Rebel camp, capturing 300
rifles, destroying the camp equipage, and returning to Pikeville without loss.
Gen. Zollicoffer, at the close of 1861, held a position on the Cumberland, near the head of steamboat navigation on that sinuous stream, which may be regarded as the right of the Rebel army covering Tennessee and holding a small part of southern Kentucky. His force did not exceed 5,000 men; but even this was with great difficulty meagerly subsisted by inexorable foraging on that thinly settled and poorly cultivated region. His principal camp was at MILL SPRING, in Wayne county, on the south side of the river; but, finding himself unmolested, he established himself on the opposite bank, in a substantial earthwork, which he named Camp Beach Grove. He had one small steamboat, which had run up with munitions from Nashville, and was employed in gathering supplies for his hungry men; but the advance of a Union detachment to Columbia, on his left, had rendered his navigation of the river below him precarious, if not entirely obstructed it. On his right front, Gen. Schoepf, with a force of 8,000 men, occupied Somerset; but was content to occupy it, without attempting or desiring to make trouble. But Gen. George H. Thomas, having been ordered' by Gen. Buell to take command in this quarter, had scarcely reached Logan's Cross-Roads” when Maj.-Gen. George B. Crittenden, who had recently joined Zollicoffer and superseded him in command, finding himself nearly destitute of subsistence, and apprehending an attack in over
* Jan. 7, 1862. * About Feb. 22.
* March 16.
* Dec. 29, 1861. * Jan. 17, 1862.