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[436] place, easy to defend, Marmaduke repulsed all the charges of the assailants, who vainly endeavored to capture his cannon.

Immediately after the battle he fell back as far as Lee's Creek, near Van Buren, to wait for Hindman, whilst Blunt, satisfied with his success, returned to Cane Hill. Schofield, who had fallen ill, had entrusted him with the management of military operations in Arkansas. The Federal army was then divided into two corps, far distant from each other. Blunt, with the first division, composed of three brigades and numbering about six or seven thousand men, was at Cane Hill and the hamlet of Rhea's Mills, situated on the Fayetteville road, twelve kilometres north of Cane Hill. The three other divisions, comprising six thousand infantry, eight thousand horse and twenty guns, under Herron, were encamped in the vicinity of Wilson's Creek, in Missouri; they were thus enabled to obtain their supplies more readily, but were separated from Fayetteville by a distance of one hundred and seventy-five kilometres.

On the 1st of December, Hindman, having hastened to Marmaduke's relief, crossed the Arkansas with nine thousand infantry and two thousand cavalry. These two generals, having joined their forces twenty-five kilometres from Van Buren, found themselves at the head of eighteen thousand men. This was more than sufficient to crush Blunt's weak division before Herron could come to his assistance. But Hindman, who had assumed the chief command, wasted the valuable time. He no doubt believed himself justified in despising his adversaries, whom, in a proclamation addressed to his soldiers, he had described as a motley gathering of cowards and rascals.

Blunt, on being informed of this movement, felt the necessity of defending the chain of the Ozark Mountains by covering the Fayetteville and Cane Hill roads on the eastern slope of those hills. He proceeded to this slope, pushing his outposts toward Cove Creek, and on the 2d of December he telegraphed to Herron an order to join him immediately. This general started with all his troops on the morning of the 3d, and by forced marches reached Elkhorn Tavern on the 5th with his convoy. On the same day, Hindman, having at last roused himself from his inaction, met Blunt's outposts, but without having any serious encounter

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