Pea Ridge, AR
[Battle of Pea Ridge, Ark., by Kurz and Allison - Courtesy of Wikipedia]
March 6-8, 1862
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Pea Ridge National Military Park, Arkansas, United States
Pea Ridge Campaign 
Union forces in Missouri had effectively
pushed Confederate units out of the state.
By the spring of 1862 Union
General Samuel R. Curtis
determined to pursue the Confederates back into Arkansas with his Army of
Curtis moved his approximately 10,250 Union soldiers and 50
artillery pieces into Benton County, Arkansas, along a small stream called
Curtis found an excellent
defensive position on the north side of the creek and proceeded to fortify
it and place artillery for an expected Confederate assault from the south.
General Earl Van Dorn had been appointed overall commander
of the Trans-Mississippi District to moderate a conflict between competing
generals Sterling Price of
Missouri and Benjamin McCulloch
Army of the West totaled approximately 16,000 men, including 800 Cherokee
Indian troops, Price's Missouri
State Guard, Texas Rangers, and Confederate infantry from Arkansas and
was aware of the Union movements into Arkansas and was intent on
destroying Curtis's Army of the
Southwest and reopening the gateway into Missouri.
Union: Maj. Gen. Samuel R. Curtis
Maj. Gen. Earl Van Dorn
Army of the Southwest [11,000]
Confederate: Army of the West
On the night of March 6, Maj. Gen. Earl Van Dorn set out
to outflank the Union position near Pea Ridge, dividing his army into two
Learning of Van Dorn’s approach, the Federals marched north to
meet his advance on March 7.
This movement—compounded by the killing of
two generals, Brig. Gen. Ben McCulloch and
Brig. Gen. James McQueen McIntosh,
and the capture of their ranking colonel—halted the Rebel attack.
led a second column to meet the Federals in the Elkhorn Tavern and Tanyard area.
By nightfall, the Confederates controlled Elkhorn Tavern and Telegraph Road.
The next day, Maj. Gen. Samuel R. Curtis,
having regrouped and consolidated his army, counterattacked near the tavern
and, by successfully employing his artillery, slowly forced the Rebels back.
Running short of ammunition, Van Dorn
abandoned the battlefield.
The Union controlled Missouri for the next two years.
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