General Van Dorn
was at Pocahontas
when, February 23d, he received dispatches informing him of the retreat of Price
, followed by Curtis
, and the battle of Sugar Creek
immediately sent McCulloch
orders to form a junction with Price
without loss of time, to which McCulloch
sent reply, March 1st, that he had ordered the command to march, as soon as the commanding general
should arrive, with six days cooked rations, and awaited his arrival anxiously.
He appended to this note a memorandum of his actual effective strength: Hebert
's brigade, 4,637; Greer
's brigade, 3,747; total, 8,384.
Artillery, 18 guns.
's command marched the next day across Boston mountains
to Elm Springs, Ark.
, where it would be joined by General Van Dorn
and the Indian
forces of Gen. Albert Pike
, who had been given command of the department of the Indian Territory
, November 22d.
The main body of Price
's Missouri State Guard was camped near Elm Springs
The march of the division over the Boston mountains
was toilsome and slow.
It reached the place of rendezvous on the 3d, where the commanding general
On the 4th of March, without waiting for General Pike
, Van Dorn
moved out for Bentonville
, where Sigel
, with his Germans, had arrived and taken possession.
Two bodies of cavalry, one under McIntosh
and one under Gates
, were pushed forward, the former to go around the town on the west, the latter on the east, in an effort to cut off Sigel
from the main body of the enemy at Sugar creek
found the country north of Bentonville
so rough with rocks, ravines and mountains, guarded by a natural cheval-de-frise of small oaks and black-jacks, that he could not hope to form a junction with Gates
Coming upon the Federals
in force on these heights, and being fired upon from an ambuscade, he made an effort to charge the enemy in position, but the ground was impracticable for cavalry, and he drew back