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Chapter 3:

Prairie Grove.

SINCE the battle of Pea Ridge, fought on the 7th and 8th of March, 1862, the great events that have taken place east of the Mississippi have not allowed us to cast a glance over that immense territory, extending between the river and the Rocky Mountains, where the belligerent armies were not proportionate in numbers to the geographical extent of the country, but to the small amount of population which occupies it. Let us return for a while to these regions, not to relate in detail each of the engagements which drenched that almost virgin soil in blood, during the remainder of the year 1862, but in order to collect in a single chapter all those minor military exploits which, to all appearance, have scarcely any connection between them.

We left Curtis in possession of the battle-field of Pea Ridge and the Ozark Mountains, whilst Van Dorn was bringing back his vanquished army to the banks of the Arkansas. Shortly after, the latter descended the river with the largest portion of his troops as far as the neighborhood of Little Rock, then proceeded eastward, reached the Mississippi at Helena, crossed it, and, as we have stated, joined the army of Beauregard at Corinth a few days after the battle of Shiloh.

After his departure there remained but few regular troops of the Confederacy to defend Arkansas, but this State was sufficiently protected by its extent, and the necessity under which the Federals were placed, in their turn, of weakening themselves on that side to concentrate all their forces around Corinth.

Curtis had followed the movements of his adversary at a distance; quitting the high lands, the resources of which his army had exhausted, he had descended into the vast plains as soon as he no longer feared to be attacked by the Confederate cavalry,

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