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[354] centre, the Second Missouri brigade the left, and the Texan troops the reserve. The action had scarcely commenced, when Gen. Blunt, who, having burned his stores and his train, had made a rapid movement, by an obscure road leading through a valley, reached the battle-field. The new force appeared upon the Confederate left. It was necessary for the First Missouri brigade to change its front from the east to the north, to meet the charge which the enemy was now preparing to make. Just as the evolution was completed, the combined forces of the enemy advanced to the charge. It was gallantly met by the two Missouri brigades. As night fell, the action was decided. The enemy was driven from the field; Blunt swinging around, uniting with Herron, and both retreating. The Federal forces fell back six miles.

The evidences of victory were with the Confederates. Their loss was about two hundred killed and five hundred wounded; that of the enemy, by his own accounts, exceeded a thousand. It appears, however, that Hindman, who had blundered during the day, although he had yet succeeded in driving the combined forces of Herron and Blunt, was so impressed with the fact they had formed a junction, that he determined to retreat during the night. The wheels of his artillery were muffled, and the Confederates actually retreated from a field of victory. Thus terminated the battle of Prairie Grove (as it was called by the Confederates); the importance of which was that it virtually decided the war north of the Arkansas River.

The country of the Trans-Mississippi suffered from peculiar causes in the war. A great part of it not only laboured under military incompetency; but singular disorders affected the whole population, and an enormous despotism cursed the land. Gen. Hindman, who had but a weak head in military matters, exhibited an iron hand in the management of other affairs, usurped all authority in the country he occupied, and exercised a tyrannical rule, that only finds a parallel in antique despotism. His conduct was made the subject of a special investigation in the Congress at Richmond. It was discovered that he had established within his military lines what he was pleased to call a “government ad interim.” He superseded the entire civil authority; he deliberately amplified the conscription law by proclamation; he declared martial law throughout Arkansas and the northern portion of Texas; and he demanded, under the penalty of death, the services of all whom he had tyrannically embraced in his conscription lists. Crops were ravaged; cotton burned, or appropriated to unknown purposes; while straggling soldiers, belonging to distant commands, traversed the country, armed and lawless, robbing the people of their property under the pretence of “impressing” it for the Confederate service. To a great part of the country within the limits of his command Hindman extended no protection whatever. Hostile Indians

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