conditions that required agreement and concert of action, and they could not agree nor act together.
, therefore, wrote to Gen. Earl Van Dorn
, commander of the Trans-Mississippi department, whose headquarters were at Pocahontas
, in the northeastern part of Arkansas
, laid the matter before him in full, and suggested that he settle all differences by taking personal command of his and McCulloch
's forces, and attacking the enemy.
's views impressed Van Dorn
favorably, and he started at once for the scene of action, and made the ride across the State
in five days. He spent a day with Price
and another with McCulloch
, with the result that he determined to move early on the morning of the fourth day, March 4th, find the enemy and give him battle.
His army was divided into two corps, commanded respectively by McCulloch
, aggregating about 17,000 men. The combined force of Curtis
comprised about 18,000.
's corps was composed of the First Missouri Confederate brigade, under General Little
, consisting of three regiments of infantry, one of cavalry, and two batteries, in all about 2,000 men; the Second Missouri Confederate brigade, under General Slack
, consisting of about 700 Confederates and 350 State Guard men; General Rains
' division of the State Guard, numbering 1,200, General Steen
's 600, Gen. E. W. Price
's 500, General McBride
's 300—making the Missouri
force about 5,700 rank and file.
's division, nearly 2,000 strong, was left to guard the train and stock.
's corps was composed of eleven Confederate regiments, one of which was unarmed, and Pike
's Indians, whom no one probably ever undertook to count.
The men had been ordered to prepare five-day rations, and were in buoyant spirits.
They marched with their guns loaded, not knowing at what moment they might meet the enemy.
The enemy occupied three separate camps, the main