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[263] entire force, together with all our supplies. They outnumbered us three to one; besides, our men were much exhausted with two days fighting and the loss of sleep — the nights being too cold to sleep without fire, and our proximity to the enemy and position not allowing us to build fires along our advance-lines. Near a thousand of our men were dead or wounded. Both parties were eager for the fray; one, stimulated by an apparent certainty of success and hopes of plunder; the other determined to conquer or die. The rising sun was saluted with the smoke and roar of cannon. Colonel Carr's division was strengthened by a large part of Colonel Davis's division — thus enabling our right wing barely to maintain its position. General Sigel having learned the exact position of the enemy's batteries, commenced to form his line of battle by changing his front so as to face the right flank of the enemy's position. Probably no movement durring the war has shown more skill in the disposition of forces, or caused as great destruction to the party attacked, with so little loss to the attacking party. He first ordered the Twenty-fifth Illinois, under the command of Col. Coler, to take a position along a fence, in open view of the enemy's batteries, which at once opened fire upon them. Immediately a battery of six of our guns (several of them twelve-pounders, rifled) were thrown into line one hundred paces in the rear of our advanced infantry, on a rise of ground. The Twelfth Missouri then wheeled into line, with the Twenty-fifth Illinois on their left, and another battery of guns was similarly disposed a short distance behind them. Then another regiment and another battery wheeled into position, until thirty pieces of artillery, each about fifteen or twenty paces from the other, were in a continuous line, with infantry lying down in front. Each piece opened fire as it came in position. The fire of the entire line was directed so as to silence battery after battery of the enemy.

Such a terrible fire no human courage could stand. The crowded ranks of the enemy were decimated, their horses shot at their guns, large trees literally demolished; but the rebels stood bravely to their post. For two hours and ten minutes did Sigel's iron hail fall thick as autumn leaves, furious as the avalanche, deadly as the simoom. One by one the rebel pieces ceased to play. Onward crept our infantry; onward came Sigel and his terrible guns. Shorter and shorter became the range. No charge of theirs could face that iron hail, or dare to venture on that compact line of bayonets. They turned and fled. Again Sigel advanced his line, making another partial change of front. Then came the order to charge the enemy in the woods, and those brave boys who had lain for hours with the hail and shot of the enemy falling upon them, and the cannon of Sigel playing over them, rose up and dressed their ranks as if it were but an evening parade, and as the “forward” was given, the Twenty-fifth Illinois moved in compact line, supported on the left by the Twelfth Missouri, acting as skirmishers, and on the right by the Twenty-second Indiana. As they passed into the dense brush they were met by a terrible volley. This was answered by one as terrible and far more deadly. Volley followed volley; yet on and on went that line of determined men. Steadily they pushed the rebel force until they gained more open ground. Here the confederate forces broke in confusion and fled. The day was ours, and the battle of Pea Ridge was added to the already long list of triumphs clustering around the old starry flag.

the rebel atrocities at the battle.

The following is a complete copy of all the correspondence between the commander of the army in Arkansas and the commander of the rebel army, after the battle of Pea Ridge:

headquarters Trans-Mississippi District, March 9, 1862.
To the Commanding Officer of the United States Forces on Sugar Creek, Arkansas:
sir: In accordance with the usages of war, I have the honor to request that you will permit the burial party whom I send from this army, with a flag of truce, to attend to the duty of collecting and interring the bodies of the officers and men who fell during the engagement of the seventh and eighth inst.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Earl Van Dorn, Major-Gen. Commanding Army.

headquarters army of the Southwest, Pea Ridge, March 9, 1862
Earl Van Dorn, Commanding Confederate Forces:
sir: The General commanding is in receipt of yours of the ninth, saying that in accordance with the usages of war, you send a party to collect and bury the dead. I am directed to say all possible facilities will be given for burying the dead, many of which have already been interred. Quite a number of your surgeons have fallen into our hands, and are permitted to act under parole, and under a General Order from Major-Gen. Halleck, further liberty will be allowed them, if such accommodations be reciprocated by you. The General regrets that we find on the battle-field, contrary to civilized warfare, many of the Federal dead who were tomahawked, scalped, and their bodies shamefully mangled, and expresses a hope that this important struggle may not degenerate to a savage warfare.

By order of

S. R. Curtis, Brig.-General. T. J. Mcckinney, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General

The following communication was received from Van Dorn, in response to the above:

From Van Dorn.

headquarters Trans-Mississippi District, Van Buren, Ark., March 14, 1862.
General: I am instructed by Major-Gen. Van Dorn, commanding this district, to express to you his thanks and gratification on account of the courtesy extended by yourself and the officers under your command, to the burial-party sent by him to your camp on the ninth inst.


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