In speaking of the courage and patriotism of the Confederate troops, I referred to the fact that at the battle of Arkansas Post the Confederates were commanded by that gallant Arkansas soldier, Gen. Thomas J. Churchill, who had a fort, with three smooth-bore guns and an army of less than 5,000 men to defend it; that it was assailed by the most powerful fleet of ironclads that was ever assembled on the inland waters of the United States, and supported by an army estimated at 60,000 men; that the battle began on Saturday, the 10th of January, and early on the morning of the 11th, General Churchill rode down the Confederate line and read to the army a telegram from General Holmes at Pine Bluff, that the army must not surrender, but ‘fight till the last man was dead, dead, dead;’ that the battle began again Sunday morning, the 11th. The fort was knocked to pieces and silenced. All the army, including the general commanding, was captured; and Deshler's brigade alone, consisting of Texas and Arkansas infantry, and Hart's Arkansas battery, held their guns and standards and stood defiantly in the face of the foe. Charge after charge was made against their line all day long, only to meet slaughter and defeat. Captain Hart, another gallant Arkansas officer, and his brave lieutenant, E. A. Dubose, strewed the field in front of the muzzles of their guns, and had 80 horses, out of 86 in the battle, killed during the day. About one hour before sunset the enemy's columns again came from the woods, waving their standards and cheering, while a general officer and a member of his staff, displaying a white flag, rode ahead of his troops, and approaching close to our line, General Deshler crossed the works and met him. He told Deshler that all of our army except his command had surrendered, and that he demanded the surrender of his command. He was told very promptly that his demand was refused; that we had been ordered to fight till the last man was dead, and that order would be obeyed. While they were talking, the Federal troops had advanced till they were within pistol-shot of our lines, when Deshler said: ‘If you do not command “Halt,” I will command “Fire.” ’ ‘Halt’ was commanded, and the parley was continued for some ten minutes. When the proposition was made to him, ‘Will you surrender if I will bring General Churchill, and he will command you to do so?’ Deshler said he would obey
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.