miles a day. When he reached the Little Missouri he did not attempt to cross it until he had been reinforced by 2,500 or 3,000 men under General Thayer
, which made his whole force probably 12,000 men of all arms.
Then he threw a brigade across the river, which was promptly driven back under cover of his artillery by Marmaduke
The second day afterward, however, he crossed his whole force, and moving out of the bottom encamped in the timber bordering on Prairie d'ane.
division and General Gano
in command of several regiments of Texans and Indians
, were camped about five miles away on the other side of the river, and Marmaduke
a little to the north and nearer Steele
Every day the two forces skirmished on the prairie, and sometimes the fighting became lively.
The third day, in the evening, Steele
advanced in force, but Marmaduke
resisted him so stubbornly that just after dark he drew back to the camp he had left and remained for the night.
The next morning at sunrise both forces were in line of battle and confronting each other on the open level prairie.
The sun shone brightly and Steele
's army was an inspiriting sight.
His line extended for more than a mile, with the infantry in the center, the artillery between the brigades and the cavalry deployed on the flanks, every flag displayed and the arms of the men flashing brightly in the sunlight.
decided not to accept the challenge to battle.
Two roads were open to Steele
—one to Washington
, the other to Camden
If he took the first it became evident that he had not abandoned his intention of going to Shreveport
If he took the last he had surely abandoned that intention and proposed to return to Little Rock
, or perhaps attempt to hold Camden
and southern Arkansas
divided his force, he with Fagan
's division and Gano
's troops falling back on the Washington
road, and Marmaduke
's division retiring on the Camden
went toward Camden
, which had been fortified the