mile, gaining the shelter of the woods. ~ few shells soon dispersed them. Our loss in this
skirmish was two men wounded and several missing.
In consequence of this attack, Curtis ordered the advance picket forward to the edge of the
timber bordering on the open prairie country north of Springfield, where it was anticipated the
enemy would give battle. It was impossible, and had Dot been contemplated, to advance the
army and give battle before the succeeding day. Night was at hand and the troops weary from a
fatiguing day's march, needed a few hours rest and food. Curtis here reported his force to
Halleck, preparatory to engaging in battle, at 12,095 men, 9,585 infantry, 2,510 cavalry, and 50
pieces of artillery.
It was strongly suspected that the attack in force that had just been made on our pickets, was
intended to cover a retreat by the enemy. Halleck had ever asserted that Price would evacuate.
Succeeding events revealed the correctness of these opinions.
At two o'clock, A. M., on the 13th, the federal advance commenced, and by daybreak, the
whole army was in motion. The plan of battle had been arranged and the troops sought their
several positions, moving on Springfield in three lines. The morning was cold and foggy, the
reverse of the preceding day a misty veil hung over the woods and open prairie, the anticipated
ground for the struggle.
Expectations of a battle were high, but as the army moved forward, no sounds of conflict
came from the advance. The rumor gradually spread that Price had evacuated. The news was
soon confirmed. Citizens living north of Springfield reported that the drums of the rebel army
had been heard in the night, gradually growing fainter and fainter as the troops proceeded south.
In company of the 4th Iowa infantry thrown out as skirmishers to engage the rebels, not
receiving an order sent to them to halt, actually reached Springfield and captured the town before
the evacuation was generally known Price had fled in great haste during the night a large
quantity of clothing which had reached him and been unpacked but a short time, was hastily
repacked and taken with him in his flight. In a short time the place was occupied in force, amid
the cheers of our troops. Women in crowds were on the streets welcoming the federal army.
Speeches were made by Cols. Phelps and Boyd, who thus returned in triumph to their own town,
each at the head of a regiment of south western men who had been exiled from home since the
preceding autumn. In the excitement of the moment some vandalism was displayed by our
troops. Several houses were fired and destroyed by parties unknown, among others, probably
through ignorance, the residence of Col. Phelps was burned to the ground during the temporary
absence of the family
Springfield, once a beautiful county town with fine mansions generally placed in large well
shaded yards, bearing evidence of a taste and refinement quite rare among southwestern people,
was almost entirely deserted. The Court House, a large brick building on the public square, was
used as a rebel hospital. The houses of many of the citizens had been converted into barracks for
rebel soldiers. Once fine residences were littered with straw, bunks, boards, old clothes,
fragments of corn bread, the rebel "staff of life," parched wheat—a substitute for coffee, and
other rubbish, the walls defaced with charcoal sketches and rebel rhymes, descriptive of the way
in which "Lien dide & sigiel flu," at Wilson's Creek, the prospects of France and England
interfering with "Lincon's war," and other kindred subjects delightful to a "secesh" ear. The
churches had been converted into military storehouses. on the several sides of the town had been
rebel camping grounds, in some places built up with comfortable huts, now strewn with the
remains of slaughtered cattle and abandoned rubbish, and always surrounded by vast flocks of
crows. In the public square of the town lay a number of old squirrel rifles and shot guns, broken
up and abandoned. ID various places were found valuable supplies and army stores left by the
rebels in their flight.
Curtis established his headquarters in the house which the night before had been occupied by
Price, the residence of Mr. Graves, a fugitive Union merchant; a fine place, but sadly revealing
the effects of civil war. Here were found many of Price's papers and letters, reports of spies
giving warning of the federal approach, arrangements made for the occupation of the lead mines
at Granby, for the benefit of the Confederate States, news from the south, Richmond, the
popularity of Price in the south, and his enemies "at court," &c. In the room just vacated by Price
was found a paper torn in twain, of which the following is a copy verbatim. It explains itself:
"H'd Q'rs. M. S. G.
"SPRINGFIELD, Feb'y 13th, 1862.
"General Orders, No. 46.
"The Comdrs of Divns will instanter and without the least delay see that their entire
commands are ready for movement at a moment's notice.
"By order of Maj. Gen. S. Price, W. H. BRAND, A. A. G.
The house was well provisioned, and a large pile of wood at the door showed that the rebel
chief had expected to make himself comfortable.
The day had now become extremely cold. Price had retreated southward on the Cassville
road, and it was stated by his friends that he would give battle at the old Wilson's Creek
battle-ground, distant twelve miles, but this was not fully credited.
It was found impossible to advance beyond Springfield on the 13th. The trains had not all
arrived and were slow to come up. Some of the troops, especially the divisions of Asboth and
Carr, were suffering from want of food. It was necessary to make some arrangements for
subsistence. A cavalry reconnaissance was;. thrown out after the retreating enemy, and overtook
and attacked their rear at Little York, some miles south-west of Springfield, killing three rebels
and capturing fifteen wagon loads of supplies. Many prisoners were brought into Springfield,
and orders were sent to commanders of divisions for an advance in pursuit early on the 14th. The
army had already dispensed with superfluities. Now everything not absolutely necessary was left
behind. Tents, extra clothing and rations were afterwards pushed forward in special trains, and
with barely enough clothes to shelter from the severe cold, and three days supply of food, the
soldiers were to press on in pursuit. Lieut. Col. Jas. E. Mills, of the 24th Missouri Infantry, with
a small force, was left in command of the post of Springfield, where Capt. Sheridan also
established the quartermasters department.
On the 14th, a cold wintry day, the advance in pursuit of Price commenced. The third and
fourth divisions under the immediate command of Curtis, moved on the direct or "telegraph"
road from Springfield to Cassville, passing over Wilson's Creek battle ground, and taking the
advance of Sigel's command near Cassville, 80 continuing to Sugar Creek, Arkansas. The first
and second divisions under Sigel moved west of Curtis on the road via Little York and Verona,
on the McDowell road to Cassville, coming into the road from Springfield to Cassville in the rear
of the third and fourth divisions under Curtis, and overtaking the latter on the 17th at Sugar
Creek, Arkansas, at which time the third Iowa cavalry also overtook the advancing army. This
detour of Sigel to the west, which threw his command to the rear of Curtis, more effectually
scoured and cleared the country of straggling rebel bands. It had been intended that Sigel should
have come into the telegraph road, so called, at a position in advance of both Price and Curtis,
and thus cut off the retreat of the enemy and compel him to fight or surrender. But his
movements were too slow and he did not reach his assigned position until after both Price and
Curtis had passed.
The third and fourth divisions under Curtis soon came up with the rear of the retreating rebel
army, and for three days the flight and pursuit was close and rapid. The country traversed was a
wild primitive and thinly populated region; uneven hilly ground with a soil literally covered with
flinty stones, with stunted oak or "black jack" timber thinly scattered, or deep ravines with a
heavier growth of timber, and pure rapid streams, were the characteristics. The road generally
passing along ridges franked by ravines and thick brush, or down deep valleys among impassable
hills, would have rendered all flank movements on the enemy by the troops in his rear, from the
slowness of their execution, impracticable. Nothing but a close pursuit on the road itself; in the
immediate rear of the rebel army, could be undertaken.
At Crane Creek on the night of the 14th, after a day's march of twenty-five miles, the rebels
were attacked and driven from their camp. Here three rebel cannon abandoned by the enemy,
were taken. Sundry stragglers from the enemy were also captured, among others, the noted
partisan Col. Freeman. He had ridden back for some purpose; and meeting some of our troops
inquired the way to Price's headquarters. On being informed that he was a prisoner, he
surrendered gracefully, with the remark, "I began to think you didn't look much like our men."
Capt. Waldemar, of Sigel's command, and Lieut. Robinson, of Bowen's battalion, were captured
by the enemy at this skirmish.
On the 15th, skirmishing commenced and a battle was imminent. The road passed down the
winding valley of Flat Creek, surrounded by high hills. At an angle in the road the retreating
rebels had turned the panels in a rail fence, forming a protecting shelter. The Union cavalry was
checked by the enemy's artillery, and intervening brush gave him some advantage in the range,
which was farther heightened by his firing the woods., From a high hill Curtis was enabled to
overlook the smoke and brush. Planting his cannon here he threw round shot far into. the lines of
the enemy. A cavalry charge completed the rout, the rebels escaping with their wounded. Here
orders were sent back to Sigel to press on with his command and join our other forces before
their arrival at Cassville, where it was supposed the enemy might make a stand.
Commencing at two o'clock A. M. on the 16th, the flight and pursuit continued through
Cassville and Keetsville. At Cassville the enemy were deployed in line of battle, but fled without
firing a gun. Some skirmishing occurred before reaching Keetsville, and a few on each side were
wounded. After leaving Keetsville, the march was through the long ravine of "Cross Timbers."
The cavalry and artillery in a night charge led y Col. Jeff C. Davis and other drove the enemy
through the entire length of the ravine, some seven or eight miles. In this movement Lieut.
Golson, of the first Missouri cavalry, was mortally wounded. The Arkansas line was reached and
our cavalry camped for the night after a twenty mile march on the soil of the so styled
On the 17th occurred the engagement at Sugar Creek, Arkansas, on almost the same ground
where soon afterwards occurred the battle of Pea Ridge. At this point the road crosses a deep and
broad ravine about half a,mile wide, the valley of Sugar Creek, nearly at right angles. The enemy
was reinforced by troops from McCulloch's command at Cross Hollows, twelve miles in
advance. About noon Sigel reported the arrival of his command close in the rear of the other
forces, and while talking with Curtis, the action commenced. Curtis hearing firing hastened to
the front. The enemy had formed on the south bank of Sugar Creek, and the artillery was already
engaged. Our troops came up in double-quick time and deployed under a heavy artillery fire, on
the crest of a hill on the north bank. The enemy's position was concealed by underbrush, and the
range was too long for small arms. Curtis at the head of all the available cavalry, peered by a
winding road down into the valley and below the range of the artillery whose shots were heard
howling far overhead. A charge was now ordered and the. whole column dashed forward at full
speed. It was received with a galling fire, and having to deploy in the thick woods, the enemy's
sharp-shooters made terrible havoc with men and horses. Hayden's Dubuque Battery and the
mountain howitzers arrived in time to assist in this crisis. For half an hour the contest seemed
doubtful, but the enemy's centre falling back broken, his wings took to flight, and our victory
was complete. Night coming on, the pursuit extended but a few miles. McKenny, aid-de-camp to
Curtis, received a severe gunshot wound in the head, and several in the body, while rescuing the
life of a fallen cavalryman, and Maj. Bowen was also severely wounded. The Union loss was
thirteen killed and fifteen or twenty wounded. The rebel loss is unknown, but was probably as
great. The ground WAS thickly strewn with their dead horses and mules. The Union forces
engaged were Wright's battalion, 6th Missouri cavalry, 1st Missouri cavalry, Maj. Bowen's
howitzers, Maj. McConnel's battalion, 3d Illinois cavalry, and Hayden's Dubuque battery.
On the 19th the army pressed on to Osage Spring, a position flanking Cross Hollows. At the
latter place and at Fayetteville, Ben McCulloch's forces, principally composed of Texan rangers,
were encamped. Price's army had taken refuge at Cross Hollows. The place was considered
McCulloch's stronghold. It was an extensive canon, crossed at various angles by minor ravines.
Substantial barricade had been erected in the valleys, and the bushy timbered hills commanded
the approach. The "telegraph road" from Springfield to Fayetteville, passed through Cross
Hollows, and it was now the main object to dislodge the enemy from this position.
Upon the occupation of Osage Spring the rebels evacuated Cross Hollows, burning their
barracks and supplies, and fell back to the foot of and beyond the Boston Mountains. The federal
army took possession of the position on the 22d. The place, as well as the camp at Osage Spring'
was called "Camp Halleck" and orders were issued announcing, for the encouragement of the
troops, oiur victories at Roanoke Island, Fort Donelson, on the Tennessee river, and
congratulating them upon their endurance and heroism and the success which had thus far been
attained. The following are he orders:
Headquarters, South-Western District of Mo.
Camp Halleck, Ark., Feb. 18, 1862
Special Orders No. 90
"The General commanding, directs me to announce to the soldiers of this command tidings of
success, which he has received through Maj. Gen. Halleck, by our comrades elsewhere. Our
gunboats have triumphantly penetrated to Florence, Alabama. A great victory has been won by
the army and navy, in the taking of Roanoke Island, North Carolina, where three hundred of the
enemy were killed, one thousand wounded, and two thousand five hundred taken prisoners. The
General also expresses his gratification to the troops of his command, for their courage, fidelity
and endurance manifested in this campaign. You have marched in the most inclement weather,
over the worst of roads, making extraordinary long marches, subsisting mainly on meat without
salt, and for the past six days you have been under the fire of the fleeing enemy. You have driven
him out of Missouri, restored the Union flag to the "virgin soil" of Arkansas, and triumphed in
two contests, the last with a portion of the combined forces of Price and McCulloch, in their
stronghold. You have earned and I trust will receive the grateful thanks af your friends and
country. In your rapid pursuit of the foe, and the cravings of actual hunger, the peacable citizens,
through whase country we have passed, should forgive some acts of spoilation which are
incident to a war under such pressing circumstances; but the commanding General will again call
the attention of his officers and men to his General order number three, and expresses his hope
that soldiers that have done themselves much honor will not soil it by acts of folly,.cruelty or
dissipation. Let us show the people everywhere that our tents and knapsacks are not disgraced
with plunder, and that the old flag of the Union is the only emblem of power, peace and safety to
society, and the only flag that deserves their regard and affection.
"And let the people of Arkansas rush to a banner raised by our fathers as the emblem of civil
and religious liberty, and restore to our whole country that peace and prosperity which has so
long distinguished us among the nations of the earth."
By order of Brig. Gen. S. R. CURTIS,
T. I. McKENNY, A. A. A. Gen'l.
Fayetteville and Bentonville were captured by Sigel's troops. The former by a cavalry and
artillery command under Asboth. At the former the retreating rebels had endeavored to burn the
town, and at the latter several buildings were fired by our own men. Rebel flags, forty wagon
loads of lead, six wagon loads of sappers' and miners' tools, newspapers, rebel correspondence,
and many other articles were taken. Mudtown, Pineville and Huntsville were also occupied by
our troops. At Mudtown a dastardly attempt was made on the lives of our soldiers by means of
poisoned liquor left in a store. Lieut. Col. Von Deutch and about ninety-two others were
poisoned. Halleck issued a retaliatory order in consequence, directing that the perpetrators, if
captured, be punished with death, but none of them were ever known to have been captured.
Here the army of the South-West halted in its south-western progress. Repeated orders were
received from Halleck to go no further south than Fayetteville. "The main force," he wrote,
"should be left at Bentonville, and the various passes should be occupied by detachments in
force." "Reinforcements and additional horses to replace those worn out in the service could not
be sent." "Hunter would soon advance from Kansas on the right with a force of five thousand
men; in the meantime our flanks would not be exposed and Price would very soon be turned"
Curtis at Sugar Creek on the 19th had dispatched to Halleck that he desired to take Cross
Hollows and Fayetteville. He could see nothing else north of the Arkansas river worth taking,
and he had not the means for crossing that stream.
The Boston Mountains presented to our exhausted army an almost impassable barrier.
Supplies could not be obtained in the country, and we were already too remote from our base of
operations at Rolla. The small cavalry garrison of Keetsville had been surprised in the night and
driven out of town with a loss of several killed and wounded, and all their horses, by a superior
force of the enemy. We had not troops to spare for additional post garrisons, and a further
advance would have weakened our army and increased the number of points to protect.
Curtis received a communication from the captain of a company of "home guards," stating
that the object of their organization was to afford a protection to community from bands of
lawless marauders, either federal or rebel, and asking recognition and assistance was a reply to
this communication, and for the purpose of quieting the groundless fears and apprehensions
which prevailed among the people, and to induce them to return to loyalty, the following
proclamation was issued:
Headquarters Army of the South-West
Camp Halleck, Ark., March 1, 1862
"I have received a private communication from an intelligent writer, a citizen of Arkansas,
who says: ' We as citizens, have left our homes and ~ firesides for the purpose as we supposed of
having to defend ourselves against a brutal soldiery that would lay waste our humble homes, and
outrage the chastity of our wives and daughters, and place our own lives in jeopardy. We have
organized what is called home guard companies, partly of Union men and partly of southern
men, all of whom are anxious to return to their homes. We are happy to find you and your men
are not composed of that class of persons commonly called jayhawkers, who do not regard the
rights of citizens and property, but continue the war to its legitimate object."
The falsehoods circulated concerning us have driven thousands from their homes, and I take
the liberty of responding publicly to the sentiments expressed by the writer, because these
falsehoods have involved the whole community in the troubles which he seeks to mitigate.
The only legitimate object of the war is peace, and the writer only does me justice when he
says I adhere to this legitimate object. Peaceable citizens shall be protected as far as possible. I
act under strict orders of Maj. Gen. Halleck. The flight of our foes from their camps, and the
imitation of their conduct by the citizens in fleeing from their homes, leaving their effects
abandoned as it were for their victors, has much embarrassed me in my efforts to preserve
discipline in my command, as these circumstances offered extraordinary temptations.
"The burning of farms and fields of grain in Missouri, and extensive barracks and valuable
mills in Arkansas by the enemy, has induced some resentments on the part of my troops, which I
have severely punished. Necessary supplies for my command could not keep up with my rapid
movements, and peaceable citizens not being at home to sell them to my quartermasters, I am
compelled to take them without purchase, making settlement difficult and doubtful, occasioning
irregularities which I have labored to counteract. If peaceably disposed citizens will stay at
home, or return home and check the clandestine stealthy warfare that is carried on under the
cover and cloak of peaceable citizens, much of the havoc of war will be avoided, and many poor
families can be protected from distress and misery. I have followed the war path through the
entire State of Missouri, have seen the havoc and devastation surrounding it, and I deplore the
prospect of these disasters on the virgin soil of Arkansas.
Armed men in the garb of citizens are concealed by citizens, and the unfortunate condition of
Missouri will be transferred to Arkansas if you allow this complicity of yourselves in the
struggle. If you do not discriminate, by requiring soldiers to wear some distinctive badge, you
must not complain if we cannot discriminate.
There is no honor, no glory, no good, that can be gained by taking up arms in this way, to
defend your homes; for we do not wish to molest them if you are peaceably disposed. We only
wish to put down rebellion, by making war against those in arms, their aiders and abettors. We
come to vindicate the constitution, to preserve and perpetuate civil and religious liberty, under a
flag that was embalmed in the blood of our revolutionary fathers. Under that flag we have lived
in peace and prosperity until the flag of rebellion involved us in the horrors of civil war.
We have restored the stars and stripes to north-western Arkansas, where I am glad to find
many who rejoice to see the emblem of their former glory, and hope for a restoration of the
peace and happiness they have enjoyed under its folds. A surrender to such a flag is only a return
to your natural allegiance, and is more honorable than to persist in a rebellion that surrenders to
the national power at Forts Henry and Donelson, at Nashville and Roanoke, and throughout the
most powerful southern States. Why then shall the west be devastated to prolong a struggle
which the states of Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina and Tennessee, cannot
successfully maintain ?
"Disband your companies, surrender your arms, for in all instances where men in arms have
voluntarily surrendered and taken the oath of allegiance to our common country, they have been
discharged. No prisoners have, to my knowledge, been shot or hung, or cruelly treated by us.
I know of no instance where my troops have treated females with violence, and I have not
heard of a complaint of the kind. I enjoin on the troops, kindness, protection, and support for
women and children. I shall to the best of my ability maintain our country's flag in Arkansas, and
continue to make relentless war on its foes, but shall rejoice to see the restoration of peace in all
the states and territories of our country; that peace which we formerly enjoyed and earnestly
desire; and I implore for each and all of us that ultimate eternal peace, which the world cannot
give or take away.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
SAMUEL B. CURTIS,
Brig. Gen. Com'd'g Army of the South-West.
The precise effect of this proclamation, it is difficult to determine. The army shortly
afterwards fought the battle of Pea Ridge, and leaving north-western Arkansas, re-entered the
state at another point where the proclamation was republished. It no doubt exerted a salutary
influence among the people, but within the rebel lines its influence was slight. The condition of
affairs to which it alludes, had been apparent on the march. The retreating rebel army had spread
terror through the country. The people were told that the Yankees were coming to devastate the
land, ravish the women, and murder the inhabitants. Many fled through terror of an army whose
soldiers they had never seen, but who, they had been taught to believe, were all that was bad.
Others left. their homes from sympathy, and because they were implicated with the rebellion. A
few local inhabitants remained and welcomed the first federal army advanced south of Dug
Springs since the commencement of the rebellion. "We had begun to think we never would get
help," said an old Union farmer. Deserted and burnt houses, mills, barns, &c., were frequent on
the line of march. Much of this vandalism was the work of our soldiers. Much was also done by
the enemy. The thinly settled country in the immediate vicinity of the line of march was laid
waste. Strong and constant efforts were made to preserve discipline, but it could not always be
done. Havoc, destruction, and desolation, are the inevitable results of all, and especially of civil
war. But one case of ravishment by a federal soldier occurred while Gen. Curtis was in command
in the South-western District of Missouri, and of the army of the South-West. This was by a
soldier of the cavalry expedition near Lebanon, before Curtis took the field. The perpetrator of
this outrage was court-martialed. ~
The official report of Price on his evacuation- of Springfield, and retreat into Arkansas, made
to the fugitive rebel governor of Missouri, is here inserted, as furnishing the rebel account of that
HEADQUARTERS M. S. G.,
CAMP ON COVE CREEK, ARK., Feb. 25, 1862. "To his Excellency C. F. Jackson,
Governor of Missouri:
SIR—I have the honor to lay before you an account of the circumstances surrounding my
command within the last two weeks, compelling me to evacuate Springfield, and retreat beyond
the state line into the territory of Arkansas, the intelligence of which has no doubt reached you.
About the latter part of December I left my camp on Sac River, St. Clair county, fell back and
took up my quarters at Springfield for the purpose of being within reach of supplies, protecting
that portion of the state from both home guard depredation and federal invasion, as well as to
secure a most valuable point for military movements. At Springfield I received from Grand
Glaze considerable supplies of clothing, camp and garrison equipage, and having built huts, our
soldiers were as comfortable as circumstances would permit. I am pleased to say few complaints
were either made or heard. Missouri having been admitted as an equal member of the
Confederate States, and having my command much augmented by recruits, I was enabled to raise
and equip about four thousand men for the Confederate service. A brigade of these, consisting of
two regiments of infantry, one regiment of cavalry, and two light batteries of artillery, has been
tendered the Confederate government.
About the latter part of January my scouts reported that the enemy were concentrating in
force at Rolla, and shortly thereafter, they occupied Lebanon. Believing that this movement
could be for no other purpose than to attack me, and knowing that my command was inadequate
for such successful resistance as the interests of my army and the cause demanded, I appealed to
the commander of the Confederate troops in Arkansas to come to my assistance. This from
correspondence, I was led confidently to expect, and relying upon it, I held my position to the
very last moment, and, as the sequel proved, almost too long, for on Wednesday February 12th,
my pickets were driven in, and reported the enemy advancing upon me in force. No resource was
now left me except retreat, without hazarding all with greatly unequal numbers upon the result of
one engagement This I deemed it unwise to do. I commenced retreating at once. I reached
Cassville with loss unworthy of mention in any respect. Here the enemy in my rear commenced a
series of attacks running through four days, retreating and fighting all the way to the Cross
Hollows in this state. I am rejoiced to say my command, under the most exhausting fatigue all
that time, with but little rest for either man or horse, and no sleep, sustained themselves, and
came through, repelling the enemy upon every occasion with great determination and gallantry.
My loss does not exceed four to six killed, and some fifteen or eighteen wounded. That of the
enemy we know to so ten times as great.
Col. Henry Little, commanding the first brigade, with Cols. B. A. Rives and J. Q. Burbridge
of the infantry, and Col. E. Gates, of the cavalry, covered this retreat from beyond Cassville, and
acted as the rear guard. The Colonel commanding deserves the highest praise for unceasing
watchfulness and the good management of his entire command. I heartily commend him to your
attention. L11 these officers merit, and should receive, the thanks of both government and
people. To all the officers and men of my army, I am under obligations. No men or officers were
ever more ready and prompt to meet and repel an enemy. Governor, we are confident of the
Maj. Gen. Com'd'g M. S. G.
CHAPTER THIRD continued from Page 737
All commanders are very naturally disposed to speak as favorably as possible of their own
cause and success, and as disparagingly as may well be of their enemies. This report of Price
puts as favorable a view as could well have been done upon his retreat. Although abounding in
false statements and misrepresentation, in the way so common with rebel Generals, it is withal a
tolerably correct statement. Same of its erroneous points may be briefly mentioned.
His statement that Missouri had been admitted as an equal member of the Confederate States,
was always claimed to be truth by the rebel government. After the Missouri state convention,
elected more especially to consider the subject, had decisively refused to secede, a small and
fugitive rebel fraction of the state legislature, a body elected before the rebellion, and with only
limited powers, in no way as great as those of the convention, assembled within the lines of the
rebel army at Neosho, a remote and obscure point in the extreme south-western corner of the
state, and undertook to declare Missouri out of the Union and in the Confederacy, when nearly
the whole of its territory was held by the Union army. This step was necessary among the rebel
leaders, to give their cause ill Missouri even a color of law among their ignorant populace and
soldiers. Right or wrong they would adhere to it. But were secession legal, under such
circumstances it would be absurd to claim such action, by such a contemptible and illegal body,
to have been that of the people of the state of Missouri, when entirely unratified by them, in the
face of the contrary decision of their sovereign convention, and more especially when so
contrary to all previous and subsequent action of the state.
The loss suffered by Price, of guns, stores, &c., before reaching Cassville, he may have
considered as "unworthy of mention in any respect;" but it is not true, as he impliedly states, that
he was not attacked until reaching Cassville. Neither is it true that the two armies were greatly
unequal in numbers. It is difficult to perceive in what manner he could have repulsed his enemy
"upon every occasion with great determination and gallantry," when that enemy was
continuously driving him in a headlong flight to Arkansas. His exceedingly modest estimate of
his own loss, may be true, but is more probably false. We may suppose that the commander of a
fugitive and closely pursued army, may not very accurately be able to know the loss of an
enemy, when he has been constantly driven before that enemy for nearly two hundred miles,
never once even holding a contested point, or possessing ally of the usual means by which
commanders estimate the loss of their foes. We know in this instance the light nature of the
Union loss, and when General Price informs us that he "knows" it "to be ten times as great" as
his own, we may know that he utters a deliberate falsehood.
On March 6th, 7th and 8th, was fought the battle of Pea Ridge, by the rebels called Elkhorn,
of which, the official reports are given, as furnishing the best and most accurate account of that
OFFICIAL HISTORY OF THE BATTLE OF PEA RIDGE— THE PRELIMINARY
REPORT OF GENERAL CURTIS
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE SOUTH WEST, |
PEA RIDGE, ARK., March 9.
[By Telegraph from Springfield, Mo. March 10, to Major General H. W. Halleck,]
General:—On Thursday the 6th instant, the enemy commenced an attack on my right,
assailing and following the rear guard of the detachment under General Sigel to my main lines on
Sugar Creek Hollow; but he ceased firing when he met my reinforcements about four P. M.
During the night I became convinced he had moved on so as to attack my right or rear;
therefore, early on the Pith, I ordered a change of front to the rear, on my right, which thus
becoming my left, still rested on Sugar Creek Hollow This brought my line across Pea Ridge,
with my new right resting on the head of Cross Timber Hollow, which is the head of Big Sugar
Creek. I also ordered an immediate advance of cavalry and light artillery under Cod Osterhaus,
with orders to attack and break what I supposed would be a reinforced line of the enemy. This
movement was in progress, when the enemy, at eleven A. M. commenced an attack on my right.
The fight continued mainly at these points during the day; the enemy having gained a point,
hotly contested by Col. Carr, at the Cross Timber Hollow; but entirely repulsed, with the fall of
the commander, Gen. McCulloch, in the centre, by our forces under Col. Davis. The plan of
attack on the centre was gallantly carried forward by Col. Osterhaus, who was immediately
sustained and superseded by Col. Davis' entire division, supported also by Glen. Sigel' s
command, which had remained till near the close of the day on the left. Colonel Carr's division
held the right under a galling and continuous fire all day. In the evening, the bring having
entirely ceased in the centre, and there having been none on the left, I reinforced the right by a
portion of the second division, under General Asboth.
Before the day closed I was convinced the enemy had concentrated his main force on my
right. I therefore commenced another change of my front forward, so as to face the enemy where
he had deployed on my right flank in strong position. The change had been only partially
effected, but was fully in progress, when at sunrise on the 8th, my right and centre renewed the
firing, which was immediately answered by the enemy with renewed energy along the whole
extent of line. My left, under General Sigel, moved close to the hills occupied by the enemy,
driving him from the heights, and advancing steadily towards the head of the hollows. I
immediately ordered the centre and right wing forward, the right turning the left of the enemy
and cross firing on his centre. This final position enclosed the enemy in an arc of a circle. A
charge of infantry extending throughout the whole line completely routed the whole rebel force,
which retired in great confusion, but rather safely through the deep impassable defiles of Cross
Timber. Our loss is heavy. The enemy's can never be ascertained, for the dead are scattered over
a large field, and their wounded tow may many of them be lost and perish. The foe is scattered in
all directions, but I think his main force has returned to Boston mountains. General Sigel
followed towards Keitsville, while my cavalry is pursuing him towards the mountains, scouring
the country, bringing in prisoners, and trying to find the rebel Maj. Gen. Van Dorn, who had
command of the entire force at this battle of Pea Ridge. I have not as yet the statements of dead
and wounded so as to justify a report, but I will refer you to a dispatch I will forward very soon.
The officers and soldiers in this command have displayed such unusual gallantry, I hardly dare to
make distinctions. I must, however, name all of my commanders of divisions. General Sigel,
who gallantly carried the heights and drove back the left wing of the enemy; Brig. General
Asboth, who is wounded in the arm, in his gallant effort to reinforce the right; Colonel and acting
Brim General Davis, who commanded the centre where McCulloch full on the 7th, and pressed
forward the centre on the 8th; Colonel and acting Brig. Gen. E. A. Curry who is also wounded in
the arm and was under continuous fire of the enemy during the two hardest days of the struggle.
Also commanders of brigades, Cols. Dodge, Osterhaus, Vandever, White, Schaffer, and
Greuisel, distinguished for their gallantry. For that of others, I must refer you to reports of
division commanders. I must also tender my thanks to my staff officers, Capt. T. I. McKenny A.
A. A. General. Captain W. H. Stark and Capt. John Ahlefeldt, and Lieut. J. M. Adams, and Stitt,
all acting aids, and Lieut. A. Hoeppner my only engineer officer. All the staff officers did gallant
service in carrying orders and aiding in their prompt execution.
Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio and Missouri may proudly share the honor of victory which their
gallant heroes won, over the combined force of Van Dorn, Price and McCulloch at Pea Ridge, in
the Ozark mountains of Arkansas.
I have the honor to be, General,
Your obedient servant
SAMUEL R. CURTIS,
THE FINAL REPORT OF GENERAL CURTIS COMMANDING THE ARMY
"Captain:—The brief telegraphic report which I gave on the 9th inst. is not sufficient to
present even the general outline of the battle of Pea Ridge, and, with the reports of my
commanders of divisions, I now submit a more general detail.
My pursuit of General Price brought me to Fayetteville, Arkansas. The entire winter
campaign from the 26th January to this time including the march from Rolla to the Boston
mountains 240 miles. was attended with continual exhibitions of toil, privations, conflict and
gallantry, some of which I have telegraphed to headquarters, and may hereafter deserve more full
development. After reaching Arkansas the forces of General Price were rapidly reinforced by
regiments which had been stationed in Arkansas and the Indian territory. I therefore expected
these combined forces would return upon us to give us battle, and in conformity with the orders
of the General [Halleck] of the 22d February, I selected Sugar Creek as the strongest of several
strong plan s taken from the enemy, to make a stand against any and all odds.
I reported my force to you on the 12th February, after Colonel Davis' division had joined me,
at 12,095 men, and 50 pieces of artillery, including 4 mountain howitzers My long line of
communications required garrisons at Marshfield, Springfield, Cassville and Keitsville, besides a
Constant moving force to guard my train. My force in Arkansas on the 7th inst., was therefore
not more than 10,500 cavalry and infantry, with 49 pieces of artillery including the mountain
howitzers, one piece having been sent out into Missouri and thus prevented from joining us in
The scarcity of forage and other Supplies made it necessary for me to spread out my troops
over considerable country, always trying to keep it within supporting distance, convenient to
rally on the positions selected for battle.
On the 4th of March this force was located as follows: The 1st and 2nd Divisions under
Generals Sigel and Asboth were four miles south-west of Bentonville at Cooper s [McKeissick's]
farm, under general orders to move round to Sugar week about 14 miles east. The 3d Division
under Col. Jefferson C. Davis, acting Brigadier General, had moved and taken position at Sugar
Creek under orders to make some preparatory arrangements and examinations for a stand against
the enemy. The 4th Division was at Cross Hollows under command of Col. E. A . Carr, acting
Brigadier General; my own headquarters were also at this place, which is about 12 miles from
Sugar Creek on the main telegraph road from Springfield to Fayetteville.
Large detachments had been sent out from these several camps for forage and information,
one from Cross Hollows to Huntsville under command of Col. Vandever, and three from
Cooper's [McKreisick's] farm to Maysville and Pineville.
One of these under Major Conrad with one piece of artillery and about 260 men did not reach
us till after the battle. A11 the others came in sate and joined in the engagement.
The enemy had taken position in the Boston Mountains, a high range that divides the waters
of White River from the Arkansas.
General Price had rallied the forces that had fought at Carthage, Wilson's Creek. and
Lexington, augmented by his exertions to recruit in Missouri during the winter. On his arrival
from Springfield in Arkansas, he reported to Governor Rector that between four and five
thousand of these had joined the Confederate service, previous to his leaving Springfield. The
circulation of all manner of extravagant falsehoods on his way, induced the whole country to
leave their homes, and for fear we would kill them thousands joined his ranks.
General McCulloch brought at least eleven regiments to the field, and General Pike five.
Besides these regularly organized Confederate troops which General Price met in Arkansas,
there were many companies and regiments of Arkansas volunteers, most of the country people
being required to take up arms. From this data and the general opinion of the country, I estimate
the force of the enemy to have been at least fifty or forty thousand. This was the force in and
near Boston mountains, rallying to drive us from Arkansas and Missouri.
The two armies thus constituted and located were within hearing of each other's cannon,
about 30 miles apart. I submit an accompanying map showing some of the topographic features
of the country on the roads which we traveled.
Over troops were weary and somewhat exhausted in their long forced marches, and frequent
conflicts. Our cavalry had specially suffered in the breaking down and loss of horses. But our
troops were generally well armed, drilled and anxious to encounter the enemy at any reasonable
hazard. They were all intelligent, ardent, flushed with our repeated successes in many
encounters on our way, and all conscious of the righteousness of their country's cause.
The arrival of Major General Van Dorn on the 2d of March, in the camp of the enemy, was
the occasion of great rejoicing and the firing of 40 guns. The rebel force was harangued by their
chiefs with boastful and passionate appeals, assuring them of their superior numbers and the
certainty of an easy victory. Dispatches were published falsely announcing a great battle at
Columbus Ky., in which we had lost three gun boats and twenty thousand men; and thus the
rebel hordes were assured the occasion was now opened to drive the invaders from the soil of
Arkansas, and give a final and successful blow for a Southern Confederacy.
The fifth of March was cold and blustering. The snow fell so as to cover the ground. No
immediate attack was apprehended, and I was engaged writing. About two o'clock P. M. scouts
and fugitive citizens came. Informing me of the rapid approach of the enemy to give me battle.
His cavalry would be at Elm Spring some twelve miles distant that night, and his artillery had
already passed Fayetteville. Satisfied of the truth of the report, I immediately sent couriers to
General Sigel and Colonel Vandever, and ordered them to move immediately to Sugar Creek,
where I also ordered Colonel Carr to move with his Division.
I also sent you a despatch which may have been lost with other mail matter which I have
since learned was captured by the enemy. I told you I would give them the best reception
All my messengers were successful in delivering their orders. Col. Carr's Division moved
about 6 P. M. Col. Vandever had intelligence of the movement of the enemy before my
messenger reached him, and made immediate changes in his march so that with great exertions
he arrived on the 6th. General Sigel deferred his march from Cooper's [McKreisick's] farm till
two o'clock in the morning of the 6th, and at Bentonville tarried himself with a regiment and
battery till he was attacked about 9 A. M. He arrived at Sugar Creek at 2 o'clock A. M. on the
6th, and immediately detailed parties for early morning work in felling timbers to obstruct
certain roads to prevent the enemy from having too many approaches, and to build works to
increase the strength of my forces. Col. Davis and Col. Carr, early in the day, took their
positions on the high projecting hills commanding the valley of the creek leaving the right of the
line to be occupied by the 1st and 2nd Divisions, which were anxiously expected.
The valley of the creek is low and from a quarter to a half a mile wide. The hills are high on
both sides, and the main road from Fayetteville by Cross Hollows to Keitsville is quite a detour,
but it also comes up the Sugar Creek valley; a branch however takes off and runs nearly parallel
to the main telegraph road some three miles from it. The Sugar Creek valley therefore intercepts
all these roads.
The 3rd and 4th Divisions had, before noon of the 6th, deployed their lines, and cut down a
great number of trees which thoroughly blockaded the roads on the left. Later in the day I
directed some of the same work to be done on the right. This work was in charge of Col. Dodge
who felled trees on the road which ran parallel to the main road to which I have before referred.
This proved of great advantage as it retarded the enemy some two hours in their flank movement.
Breast works of considerable strength were erected by the troops on the headlands of Sugar
Creek as if by magic, and a battery near the road crossing was completely shielded by an
extensive earth work erected under the direction of Col. Davis by a pioneer company
commanded by Capt. Snyder. About two o'clock P. M. General Asboth and Col. Osterhaus
reported the arrival of the 1st and 2nd Divisions.
This good news was followed immediately by another report that Gen. Sigel, who had
remained behind with a detachment, had been attacked near Bentonville and was quite
surrounded by the enemy's advance forces. I immediately directed some of the troops to return
to his relief. In the mean time he had advanced with his gallant little band fighting its way within
three or four miles of our main forces. The two Divisions [1st and 2nd] turned back in double
quick, and a large cavalry force also started, all being anxious to join in a rescue of their
comrades in peril.
Part of the 1st Division, under Col. Osterhaus, soon met the retreating detachment and
immediately opened fire with artillery and infantry, which checked the further advance and
terminated the action for the day. In the retreat and final repulse, which occupied several hours,
our loss was some twenty killed and wounded.
The enemy must have suffered more, as our artillery had telling effect along the road and the
rebel graves in considerable numbers bore witness of the enemy's loss.
The firing having ceased I sent back other troops that had joined the movement and
designated the positions on the right which were promptly occupied by the 1st and 2nd
Divisions. Our men rested on their arms confident of hard work before them on the coming day.
The accompanying map of the battle ground with fully illustrate the positions then and
subsequently assumed. In my front was the deep broad valley of Sugar Creek forming the
probable approach of the enemy, our troops extending for miles and generally occupying the
summits of headlands on Sugar Creek. In my rear was a broken plateau called "Pea Ridge" and
still further in my rear the deep valley of Big Sugar Creek or "Cross Timbers." My own
headquarters and those of Generals Sigel, Asboth and other commanders of Divisions, were near
Pratt's house, the lines "A" "B" and "C" show the different fronts assumed during the progress of
The approach by Bentonville brought the enemy to my extreme right, and during the night of
the 6th and 7th, he began a movement round my flank by the road before mentioned which
crosses Pea Ridge some three miles north-west of the main telegraph road.
I ascertained in the morning this flank movement of the enemy, which I perceived was
designed to attack my right flank and rear. I therefore immediately called my commanders of
Divisions together at Gen. Asboth's tent, and directed a charge of front to the rear, so as to face
the road upon which the enemy was still moving. At the same time I directed the organization of
a detachment of cavalry and light artillery supported by infantry to open the battle by an attack
from my new centre on the probable centre of the enemy, before he could fully form. I selected
Col. Osterhaus to lead this central column, an officer who displayed great Skill, energy and
gallantry each day of the battle
The change of front thus directed, reversed the order of the troops, placing the 1st and 2nd
Divisions on the left, their left Still resting on Sugar Creek. Osterhaus and the 2d Division in the
centre, and the 4th Division became the extreme right; while I was explaining the proposed
movement to commanders and Col. Osterhaus was beginning to rally and move forward his
attaching column, a messenger brought me intelligence that my picket, commanded by Major
Weston, of the 24th Missouri, had been attacked by infantry. This was at Elk Horn tavern where
the new right was to rest; Col. Carr being present, he was ordered to move into position and to
support the Major as soon as possible.
This was the commencement of the second day's fight. It was about half past ten o'clock, and
the officers separated to direct their several commands.
The fire increased rapidly on the right and very soon opened in the sentry After visiting the
right where I perceived the enemy was making a vigorous attack, and finding Col. Carr under a
brisk fire of shot and shell coolly locating and directing the deployment, I returned to my central
position near Pratt's house and sent orders to Col. Davis to move near to Col. Carr to support
him. In the mean time Col. Osterhaus had attacked the enemy and divided his forces but he was
soon pressed with greatly superior numbers that drove back our cavalry and took one. flying
battery which had advanced with it. The Colonel however was well supported by his infantry,
and soon checked a movement that threatened to interrupt the deployment of other forces. I
considered the affair so imminent, I changed my order to Col. Davis and directed him to move to
the support of the centre which was his proper place according to my order for the chance of
front. My new line was thus formed under the enemy's fire, the troops generally moving in good
order and gallant bearing. Thus formed the line was not continuous but extended entirely across
Pea Ridge, the Divisions in numerical order from left to right, Col. Osterhaus remaining in
command of a detachment and operating with Col. Davis in resisting McCulloch and McIntosh
who commanded the enemy's force in the centre. I did not err in sending Col. Davis to this point,
although Col. Parr on the right also needed reinforcements The battle rated in the centre with
terrible fury. Col. Davis held the position against fearful numbers, and our brave troops nobly
stood or charged in steady lines. The fate of the battle depended on success against this flank
movement of the enemy, and here, near the Town, was the place to break it down. The fall of
Generals McCulloch, McIntosh, and other officers of the enemy who fell early in the day, aided
us in our final success at this most critical point, and the steady courage of officers and men in
our lines chilled the ardor and broke down the hordes of Indians, cavalry, and infantry, that were
arrayed against us.
While the battle thus raged in the centre the right wing was sorely pressed and the dead and
wounded were scattered over the field. Col. Carr sent for reinforcements, and I sent a few
cavalry and my body guard with the little mountain howitzers under Major Bowen. These did
good service at a most critical period. I urged Col. Carr to stand firm, that more force could be
expected soon. Subsequently C'ol. Carr sent me word that he could not hold his position much
longer. I could then only reply by sending him the order to "persevere" He did persevere, and the
sad havoc in the 9th and 4th Iowa and Phelps' Missouri regiment, and Major Weston's 24th
Missouri, and all the troops in that Division
will show how earnest and continuous was their perseverance. Seeing no sign of approaching
foes by the telegraph road, I sent him three pieces of artillery and a battalion of infantry of Col.
Benton's command (part of the third Division) which had been located at Sugar Creek to guard
the approach. Each small accession to the 4th Division seemed to compensate an over-powering
force. ^ s to the left, I was repeatedly informed it stood safe and firm although threatened by the
foe. About 2 P. M. my aid Capt. Adams, who had communicated with that wing, informed me he
had just seen Gen. Sigel and Asboth on Sugar Creek and there was still no attack in that quarter
and no appearance of an enemy. About this time the enemy's forces melted away in the brushy
centre and the fire gradually ceased.
Believing the left and centre no longer menaced, and the enemy was concentrating on the
right, I again sent word to Col. Carr that he would soon be reinforced. I had now resolved to
bring up the Seat and centre to meet the gathering hordes near Elk Horn Tavern. To inform
myself of the condition of the extreme left, I went in person to that point. On my way I ordered
forward the remainder of Col. Benton's command, three pieces and a battalion which had
remained guarding the crossing of the main telegraph road.
I found Generals Sigel and Asboth with the troops on the hill near the extreme left, where all
was quiet, and the men, not having been under fire, fresh and anxious to participate in the fight.
It was now safe to make a new change of front so as to face Big Sugar Creek. I thereupon
ordered this force forward. Gen. Asboth moved by the direct road to Elk Horn Tavern, and Gen.
Sigel went by Bee Town to reinforce Davis if need be; but to press on to reinforce Carr if not
needed, in the centre. Both Generals moved promptly. I accompanied General Asboth, collecting
and moving forward some straggling commands that I found by the way. It must have been near
five o'clock when I brought this force to the aid of Col. Carr. He had received three or four shots,
one a severe wound in the arm, many of his field officers had fallen and the dead and wounded
had gradually reduced his force. He had been gradually forced back near half a mile, and had
been about seven hours under constant fire. His troops were still fiercely contesting every inch of
ground. As I came up the fourth Iowa were falling back for cartridges, in line, dressing on their
colors in perfect order. Supposing with my reinforcements I could easily recover our lost ground,
I ordered the regiment to halt and face about. Col. Dodge came up explaining the want of
cartridges. but informed of my purpose, I ordered a bayonet charge, and they moved again with
steady nerve to their former position when the gallant 4th [Iowa] was ready to support them.
These two regiments slave Lyon imperishable honors. Gen. Asboth had planted his artillery in
the road and opened a tremendous fire on the enemy at short range. The 2d Missouri infantry
also deployed and earnestly engaged the enemy. About this time the shades of night began to
gather around us, but the fire on both sides seemed to grow fiercer and more deadly. One of my
body guard fell dead, my orderly received a shot and Gen. A Asboth was severely wounded in
the arm. ^ messenger came from Gen. Sigel saying he was close on the left and would soon open
fire. The battery of Gen. Asboth ran out of ammunition and fell back This caused another battery
that I had located on the right of the road to follow this latter fearing a want of support. The
infantry however stood firm or fell back in good order, and the batteries were soon restored, but
the caissons got quite out of reach. The artillery firing was renewed however and kept up till
dark, the enemy firing the last shot, for I could not find another cartridge to give them a final
round. Even the little howitzers responded "no cartridges. " The enemy ceased firing and I
hurried men after the caissons and more ammunition. Meantime I arranged the infantry in the
edge of the timber with fields in front where they lay on their arms and held the position for the
night. I directed a detail from each company to bring water and provisions, and thus without a
murmur these weary soldiers lay, and many of them slept within a few yards of the foe, with
their dead and wounded comrades scattered around them.
Darkness, silence and fatigue soon secured to the weary, broken slumber and gloomy repose.
The day had closed with some reverses on the right, but the left had been unassailed, and the
centre had driven the foe from the field
My only anxiety for the fate of the next day was the new front which it was necessary to form
by my weary troops. I directed Col. Davis to withdraw all the remainder of his Division from the
centre and move forward so as to occupy the ground on Carr' s immediate left. Although his
troops had been fighting hard most of the day and displayed great zeal, energy and courage at 12
o'clock at night they commenced their movement to the new position on the battlefield, and they
too, soon rested on their arms. Nothing further had been heard from Gen. Siegel's command,
after the message at dark, that he was on or near the left. His detour carried him round a brushy
portion of the battlefield that could not be explored in the night. About two o' clock he reported
at my headquarters with his troops, who he said were going to their former camp for provisions.
The distance of his camp, some two miles further, was so great I apprehended tardiness in the
morning, and urged the General to rest the troops where they were at my headquarters and send
for provisions as the other troops. This he readily concurred in, and those troops bivouacked also
for the night.
The arrangement thus completed to bring all four of my Divisions to face a position which
had been held in check all the previous day by one, I rested certain of the final success on the
The sun rose above the horizon before our troops were all in position, and yet the enemy had
not renewed the attack. I was hardly ready to open fire upon him as the 1st and 2d Divisions had
not yet moved into position
Our troops that rested on their arms in the face of the enemy, seeing him in motion could not
brook delay, and the centre under Colonel Davis opened fire. The enemy replied with terrible
energy from new batteries and lines which had been prepared for us during the night. To avoid
raking batteries, the right wing fell back in good order but kept up a continuous fire from the new
position immediately taken The 1st and 2d Divisions soon got under way and moved with great
celerity to their position on the left. This completed the formation of my third line of battle. It
was directly to the rear of the first, and was quite continuous, much of it on open ground We then
had our foe before us, where we all knew our ground
The broken defiles occupied by him would not admit of easy evolutions to repel such as
could be made by us on the open plain. Victory was inevitable. As soon as the left wing extended
so as to command the mountain, and rest safely upon it, I ordered the right wing to move forward
so as to take position where I placed it the night previous. I repaired myself to the extreme right
and found an elevated position considerably in advance, which commanded the enemy's centre
and left. There I located the Dubuque battery and directed the right wing to move its right
forward so as to support it and give direction to the advance of the centre right wing. Capt.
Hayden soon opened a fire which proved most galling to the foe and a marker for our line to
move upon: Returning to the centre I directed the first Iowa battery under Captain David to take
position in an open field where he could also direct a fire on the central point of the enemy.
Mean lime the powerful battery of Captain Welfley and many men were bearing on the cliff,
pouring heavy balls through the timber near the centre, splintering great trees and scattering
death and destruction with tempestuous fury.
At one time a battery was opened in front of Haydens battery, on the extreme right, so near us
that I could not tell whether it was the enemy or an advance of Hayden, but riding nearer I soon
perceived its true character, and directed the 1st Iowa and the Peoria battery, Captain Davidson,
to cross fire on it, which soon drove it back to the common hiding place, the deep ravines of
Cross Timber Hollows.
While the artillery was thus taking position and advancing upon the enemy, the infantry
moved steadily forward. The left wing advancing rapidly soon began to ascend the mountain
cliff from which the artillery had driven most of the rebel forces. The upward movement of the
gallant 36th Illinois, with its dark blue line of men and gleaming bayonets, steadily rose from
base to summit, when it dashed forward into the forest driving and scattering the rebels from
these commanding heights. The 12th Missouri, far in advance of others, rushed into the enemy' s
lines bearing off a flag and two pieces of artillery. Everywhere our line moved forward and the
foe as gradually withdrew. The roar of cannon and small arms was continuous and no force
could then have withstood the converging line and concentrated cross fire of our gallant troops.
The enemy was outflanked on both wirers and his centre overpowered. Our guns continued some
time after the rebel fire had ceased, and the rebels had gone down into the deep caverns through
which they had begun their precipitate flight.
Finally our firing ceased. The enemy had suddenly vanished. Following down the main road
which enters a deep canon, I saw some straggling teams and men running in great trepidation
through the gorges of the mountains. I directed a battery to move forward, which threw a few
shots at them, followed by a pursuit of cavalry comprised of the Benton Hussars and my escort
from Bowen' s Battalion which was all the cavalry convenient at the time. General Sigel also
followed in this pursuit towards Keitsville, while I returned trying to check a movement which
led my force north, where I was confident a frightened foe was not likely to go. I soon found the
rebel force had divided and gone in every direction, but it was several hours before I learned that
the main force after entering the canon had turned short to the right, following obscure ravines
which led into the Huntsville road in a due south direction.
General Sigel followed some miles north towards Keitsville firing on the retreating force that
ran that way. Col. Bussey with cavalry and the little howitzers followed beyond Bentonville.
I camped on the field and made provisions for burying the dead, and care of the wounded.
This sad reckoning shows where the long continued fire was borne, and where the public
sympathies should be most directed. The loss of the enemy was much greater, but their scattered
battalions can never furnish a correct report.
The reports of Division and other officers of their killed and wounded of my command are all
submitted. with such details as were seen or understood by local commanders. They give
interesting incidents and notice many deserving heroes. I mentioned in my telegraph report of the
9th March and I now repeat the names of those who have done distinguished service. These are
my commanders of Divisions, Generals Sigel and Asboth, Col. and acting Brigadier Gen. Davis,
and Colonel and acting Brigadier General Carr. They commanded the four Divisions. I also again
present commanders of Brigades, Cols. Dodge Osterhaus, Vandever, White, Schaffer, Pattison
and Greuisel. The three first named I expressly commend. I also renew the just thanks due to my
staff officers: Capt. T. I. McKenny, A. A. A. General, Capt. W. H. Stark, Captain John Ahlefeldt,
Lieut. J. M. Adams, and Lieut. Stitt, all acting aids. Also Lieut. A. Hoeppner my only engineer.
To these I must now add Major Bowen Who commanded my body guard and with the mountain
howitzers did gallant service in every battlefield, in the pursuit, and especially at ' Pea Ridge. "
Captain Stephens, Lieut. Madison and Lieut. Crabtree, of this battalion, also deserve honorable
mention. Major Weston of the 24th Ho., Provost Marshal in camp and in battle, did gallant
service. Lieut. David, Ordnance Officer on my staff took charge of the first Iowa Battery after
Captain Jones was wounded and did signal service I must also thank my commanders of Posts
who supported my line of operation and deserve like consideration as their duties were more
arduous; Col. Boyd at Rolla; Col. Waring at Lebanon: Col. Mills at Springfield, and Lieut. Col.
Holland at Cassville.
To do justice to all I would spread before you the most of the rolls of this army for I can bear
testimony to the almost universal good conduct of officers and men who have shared with me the
long march, the many conflicts by the way, and final struggle with the combined forces of Price,
McCulloch, McIntosh and Pike under Major General Van Dorn at the battle of Pea Ridge.
I have the honor to be very respectfully,
Your obedient servant,
SAMUEL R. CURTIS,
Capt. N. H. McLEAN,
Assistant Adjutant General.
THE REPORT OF GENERAL FRANZ SIGEL
"HEADQUARTERS 1st AND 2d DIVISIONS,
CAMP PEA RIDGE, ARKANSAS, March 16, 1862
general:—I have the honor to lay before you the following reports in regard to the actions of
the 1st and 2d Divisions from the third to the 9th day of this month.
1st. Expedition to Pineville on the 5th of March. On the evening of the 5th the main body of
the two Divisions was encamped near McKreisick's farm three and a half miles south-ward of
Bentonville, and one mile from the fork of the roads beadier west to Maysville, and north-east to
Pineville, Missouri. The 2d Missouri under Col. Schaffer and one company of cavalry were
stationed at Osage mills, (otherwise called Smith' s mills) five and a half miles south east of
McKreisick's farm, whilst our pickets guarded all the other avenues to the camp.
For the purpose of reconnoitering the country towards the Indian territory, and to detain the
rebels of south-west Missouri to follow Price' s army by the state line road, Major Conrad with
five select companies of infantry, sixty men of cavalry, and two pieces of Welfley' s battery, was
ordered to proceed on the first day to Lindsay's Prairie. where he arrived in the evening, sixteen
miles southwest of McKreisick's farm, on the scout (the 5th) to Maysville, and to return on the
3d day to our camp.
Such was our position on the 5th when I received orders from you to send a detachment of
cavalry to Pineville where there were said to be two or three hundred rebels who disturbed and
endangered the Elation people of McDonald county. I directed Major Meszaros with eighty men
to march at 10 o'clock P. M. on the north-western road to Pineville whilst Capt. Keilmansegge
was sent to Maj., Conrad at Maysville to lead his sixty men of cavalry with one piece of artillery
and twenty infantry, at 10 o'clock ill the night from Maysville to Rutledge and Pineville, and to
act in concert with Major Meszaros. A home guard company stationed between Pineville and
Keitsville was ordered to occupy at night the roads leading to Neosho and Kent, and thereby
prevent the secesh to escape in that direction.
Major Meszaros and Capt. Non Keilmansegge should approach the town from the east, south-east
and south-west. It was understood that these detachments should attack the town
simultaneously at 5 o clock in the morning. Just a few minutes before 10 o'clock in the evening,
when Meszaros was prepared to leave the camp
I received news from Col. Schaefer at Osage mills, that his pickets posted in the direction of
Elm Spring were fired upon by the enemy. This in addition to your own despatches, reporting the
enemy's forces at Fayetteville, and a strong party of cavalry advancing towards Middletown, and
besides this, your order to march to Sugar Creek, made me at once aware of the dangerous
position of my command. I therefore ordered Col. Schaffer to break up his camp immediately, to
send the cavalry company to Osage Spring, to cover his right flank, and to march with his
regiment to Bentonville, leaving Osage Springs to the right, and McKreisick's farm to the left.
All other troops I ordered to be prepared to march at 2 o'clock in the morning.
In regard to the expedition to Pineville, it was too late to countermand the movement under
Capt. Von Keilmansegge, and I therefore ordered Major Meszaros to begin his march and
accomplish his task, with his own detachment and that of Capt. Von Keilmansegge, but to return
to Sugar Creek as quickly as possible without running his horses, so that they could be of some
use in the ensuing bate.
Major Conrad was made aware of our situation and instructed to join us at Sugar Creek by
some circuitous road leading north-east. The result of the expedition was not very great, but
satisfactory. The attack was made according to the instructions given, and at the precise time, but
only one Captain, one Lieutenant, and fifteen men of Price's army were found in the town, and
made prisoners; the others had left some days previously.
The commands of Maj. Meszaros and Capt. Von Keilmansegge [arrived] safely on the 6th in
our camp at Sugar Creek, bringing with them their prisoners. Unfortunately they had to leave
behind and ten destroy a printing press and types taken at Pineville, as the roads they took were
too bad to bring this important material along Major Conrad with his detachment found his way
to Keitsville and Cassville, which place he left on the 9th and arrived at the former place with
Colonel Wright some time after I had opened the road to Cassville on the pursuit of Price's
forces, which retired from Keitsville to Berryville.
II. Retreat from McKreisick's farm by Bentonville to camp Halleck * on Sugar Creek.
At two o'clock in the morning of the 6th the troops encamped at McKresick's farm moved
forward toward Bentonville in the following order
Advance guard under General Asboth.
1 Company of 4th Mo. cavalry (Fremont Hussars.)
2d Ohio Battery under command of Lieut. Chapman. 15th Mo. volunteers under command of
*Not Camp Halleck, camp Halleck was at Cross Hollows.
Train of 1st and 2d Divisions, escort and guarded by detachments of the respective regiments.
The 1st Division under Col. Osterhaus The flying Battery
5th Mo. cavalry (Benton Hussars), and the 36th Illinois cavalry, Capt. Jenks.
Before leaving camp I detached Lieutenant Shepherd, of Co. "A," Benton Hussars, with
twenty men from Osage Springs to communicate with Col. Schaffer, and to bring news to
Bentonville as soon as the enemy would approach that place.
The advance guard of General Asboth arrived at Bentonville at 4 o'clock when I directed him
to halt until the train came up more close. He then proceeded to Sugar Creek, followed by the
train. Meanwhile the 2d Missouri, Col. Schaffer, and one part of the 1st Division arrived in town.
I ordered this regiment as well as the 12th Mo. under command of Major Wanglein, the Flying
Battery under Captain Elbert, and the whole disposable cavalry force under Col. Nemett,
comprising the Benton Hussars, the 36th Illinois cavalry under Captain Jenks, and ^ squad of
thirteen men of Fremont Hussars under Lieut. Fred. Cooper, to occupy and guard the town to let
the whole train pass, and remain at my disposal as a rear guard.
At 8 o'clock the train had passed the town and was moving on the road to Sugar Creek. With
the intention not to be too close to the train and awaiting report from Lieut. Shephard's pickets at
Osage Springs, two hours elapsed, when (ten minutes after ten) it was reported to me that large
masses of troops, consisting of infantry and cavalry, were moving from all sides towards our
front and both flanks.
After some observation I had no doubt that the enemy' s advance guard was before us, I
immediately called the troops to arms and made them ready for battle. As Bentonville is situated
on the edge of Osage prairie. easily accessible in front, and covered on the right arid left and rear
by thick woods and under brush, I ordered the troops to evacuate the town and to form on a little
hill north of it. Looking for the 2d Missouri I learned to my astonishment, that it had left the
town by a misunderstanding of my order.
I am glad to say this matter is satisfactorily explained by Col. Schaffer, but at the same time, I
regret to report that this regiment was ambuscaded on its march and lost in the conflict thirty
seven men in dead, wounded and prisoners.
The troops now left to me, consisted of about eight companies of the 12th Mo., with an
average strength of forty five men; five companies of Benton Hussars, and five pieces of the
Flying Battery, in all about six hundred men. The troops I directed to march in the following
Two companies of the 12th at the head of the Column, deployed on the right and left as
skirmishers, followed by the Flying Battery: one company of the same regiment on the right, and
one on the left of the pieces, marching by the flank and prepared to fire by ranks to the right and
left, the remainder of the regiment behind the pieces; two companies of cavalry to support the
infantry on the right and left, and the rest of the cavalry under command of Col. Nemett, with
one piece of artillery, following in the rear.
In this formation, modified from time to time according to circumstances the column moved
forward to break through the lines of the enemy who had already taken position in our front and
on both flanks whilst he appeared behind us in the town, in line of battle reinforced by some
pieces of artillery.
The troops advanced slowly, fighting and repelling the enemy in front, flankwards and rear,
wherever he stood or attacked. from the moment we left the town at l0+ in the morning until 3
1/2 in the afternoon, when we met reinforcements, the 2d Mo., 25th Illinois, and a few
companies of the 44th Illinois. We sustained three regular attacks and were uninterruptedly in
sight and under the fire of the enemy. When the first reinforcements had arrived, I knew that we
were safe, and left it to the 25th and 2d Rio., and afterwards to Col. Osterhaus, to take care of the
rest which he did to my satisfaction.
It would take too much lime to go into detail of this most extraordinary and critical affair; but
as a matter of justice I feel it my duty to declare that according to my humble opinion, never
troops have shown themselves worthier to defend a great cause than en this day of the 6th of
III. Battle of the 7th near Leesburg [Leetown] and on Pea Ridge.
In the night of the 6th the two Divisions were encamped on the plateau of the hills near Sugar
Creek, and in the adjoining valley separating the two ridges extending along the creek. The 2d
Division held the right, and the 1st the left of the position, fronting toward the west and south-west
in order to receive the enemy should he advance from the Bentonville and Fayetteville road
Col. Davis' division, forming the centre, was on our left, and Col. Carr covered the ground on the
extreme left of our whole line.
Early in the morning. report came in that troops and trains of the enemy were moving the
whole night on the Bentonville road around our rear towards Cross Timbers, thereby
endangering our line of retreat and communication to Keitsville, and separating us from our
reinforcements and provision trains.
This report was corroborated by two of my guides, Mr. Pope and Mr. Brown who had gone
out to reconnoiter the country. I immediately ordered Lieut. Schramm of my staff, to ascertain
the facts, and to see in what direction the troops were moving. On his return he reported that
there was no doubt in regard to the movement of a large force of the enemy in the aforesaid
direction. You then ordered me to detach three pieces of the Flying Battery to join Colonel
Bussey's cavalry in an attack against the enemy in the direction of Leesville [Leetown], Col.
Osterhaus was directed to follow him, with three regiments of infantry and two batteries.
At about 11 o' clock the firing began near Elk Horn Tavern and Leesville
To see how matters stood, I went out to Col. Carr' s Division and found him a short distance
beyond the tavern engaged in a brisk cannonade several pieces partly disabled and partly without
ammunition were returning whilst another advanced from the camp. The enemy's fire was
directed to the place where I halted. I ordered two pieces of the battery which came up to take
position on an elevated ground to the left and to shell the enemy. After a few shots the fire of the
enemy Opposite our position became (position on an elevation) weaker and I sent the two pieces