night over wide circuits, dismount and engage as infantry, and if pressed by superior numbers, remount and elude the foe. The trains of the Confederates
were very light and employed chiefly for ordnance.
Each soldier had his scanty wardrobe rolled up in an oilcloth behind his saddle, and with this for his pillow at night, covering with a saddle blanket, he slept anywhere.
The beef and pork killed by the way and his country's cornmeal made his rations; and he marched by the stars as often as by the light of the sun, to fall confidently upon the flanks and rear of the invading army.
The winter quarters of the Confederates
were broken up at the first advance of Steele
from Little Rock
The pleasant diversions of a few weeks of rest were now only a stimulating memory, and the stern duties and privations of the soldier, with their uncertain consequences, confronted them.
's brigade, which had been camped near Camden
, was ordered to cross the Ouachita river
and pass to the rear of the advancing army, between it and Little Rock
It was not long before his comrades heard the old iron guns of Bledsoe
sending their messages across the valleys, announcing that he was ‘closing up’ the enemy upon their flank.
, in command of the Federal
frontier division, moved from Fort Smith
March 21st, to make a junction with Steele
He moved by way of Booneville, Ark.
, through Danville
and Mt. Ida
to Caddo gap
, thence down the Caddo
and Antoine creeks
to the river, and joined Steele
, April 9th, at the crossing of the Little Missouri.
, with his force of a little over 5,000, composed of negro regiments and mountain Federals, with his immense train of broken-down teams, some stuck in the mire, others upset, might have been destroyed as he emerged from the mountains of Caddo creek
if the Confederates
had attacked him in force; but Marmaduke
was devoting his exclusive attention to Steele