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Chapter 6:

After General Holmes had arrived at Little Rock, General Hindman, continuing in charge of military operations in Arkansas and the Indian country, took measures to expel the Federals from the latter region. As he reported, he pushed across the mountains, from Fort Smith, two regiments of Missourians, under Brigadier-General Rains, and three regiments of Arkansans, under Col. C. A. Carroll. The enemy hastily retreated beyond the Kansas line. ‘Thus the loyal Cherokees were restored to their country, and enabled to assemble a convention, depose Ross, and make Stand Watie chief of the nation.’
On August 24th I assumed command at Fort Smith. Our troops then held the line of the Boston mountains as far west as that place, and the line of the Arkansas river thence westward. The country above, in northwestern Arkansas and the Cherokee nation, was overrun by marauding parties of jayhawkers, tories and hostile Indians, and was fast being depopulated. The country adjacent to our line was almost wholly exhausted of subsistence and forage. Our force was about 2,500 white infantry, about 3,600 armed white cavalry, and Indian cavalry estimated at 3,000 armed men. I pushed forward our troops from Forts Gibson and Smith, and occupied a line corresponding to the north boundary of Arkansas, posting the infantry and eight pieces of artillery at Elkhorn. . . . On September 10th, under orders from department headquarters, I left Pineville for Little Rock. The [130] command thus devolved on General Rains. I instructed him to make no aggressive movement, but if assailed, to hold the line occupied as long as practicable.

His experience thus far, he reported, led him to believe he could continue to lead his cavalry northward, drive Blunt into Kansas, and then turn against Springfield, Mo., cooperating with an advance of the infantry under Rains, and he had already issued preliminary orders to this effect, when he was recalled to Little Rock.

The Federal District of Missouri, under the command of Brig.-Gen. J. M. Schofield, was subdivided, Brig.-Gen. E. B. Brown commanding the southwestern division, Brig.-Gen. Thomas Totten the central division, Col. J. M. Glover the Rolla division, and Col. Lewis Merrill the St. Louis division. General Schofield gives the subdivisions credit for the following numbers of troops: The central, 4,750; southwestern, 3,450; Rolla, 1,500; St. Louis, 4,660; total, 14,660, not including the two northern divisions. An order for the enrollment of the Missouri State militia (Federal) was issued July 22d, and by the 29th, Schofield said, 20,000 men had been organized, armed, and called into active service. ‘Many of these were mounted, and joined the regular troops in active operations in the field; others relieved forces guarding railroads, etc., while some portions of the State were given over entirely to the enrolled militia.’ Captains Poindexter, Cook and Porter (Confederate) waged a sanguinary war against this militia and the other Federal forces, from July 20th. On August 13th they attacked and captured the Federal garrison at Independence, under Colonel Buell, of the Seventh Missouri Federal cavalry. Colonel Coffee, with a small force, not equal to a regiment, passed out of Arkansas and surrounded Springfield, causing General Brown to send a large force in pursuit of him. General Blunt, commanding the department of Kansas, was ordered from Fort Scott to aid in surrounding Coffee. [131]

It was supposed that Coffee intended to attack Lexington. General Totten, in command there, sent Colonel Warren with 1,500 men and artillery, and Major Foster with 800 men and two pieces of artillery, to intercept him, when they were attacked by Confederates from Arkansas, under Colonel Cockrell, who utterly routed them and captured their artillery at Lone Jack, August 16th. Col. Jo Shelby reported to Gen. J. S. Marmaduke, regarding his operations in this period:

I started from Little Rock, July 25th, joined my company at Frog bayou (near Van Buren, Ark.), and Col. J. V. Cockrell at said camp, and marched with him for the Missouri river, as far as Newtonia, where we came in contact with Federals under Major Hubbard. After a short skirmish with him, turned west and proceeded as far as Lone Jack, unmolested, traveling night and day. At Lone Jack, Colonel Cockrell attacked and defeated the Federals under Major Foster. We proceeded (my squad) to the river, some 40 miles further. On my arrival there, I made it known that I was duly commissioned by General Hindman to raise a regiment of cavalry,. . . and in four days raised the regiment, and started south from the river, about the 18th of August. . . . Joined Cols. Upton Hays and J. T. Coffee at Elkhorn creek, about the 9th of September. At said encampment we were met by General Hindman, who caused the three regiments to be thrown together, which constitute this brigade; the command of same being given to me. We were then ordered to Camp Kearny, 6 miles south of Newtonia. . . . Whilst at Camp Kearny we attacked the Federals at Newtonia, driving them some 10 miles, in which engagement we lost Colonel Hays. We then moved up to Newtonia. In a few days thereafter we attacked a part of Colonel Phillips' brigade, near Carthage, routing them. We likewise, after that, had two skirmishes with them at Mount Vernon, some 30 miles northeast of Newtonia, driving their pickets in, and on one occasion driving their forces out of Mount Vernon, some 10 miles east. During all this time, we were some 40 miles in advance of General Rains, and were required to scout all the country in his front, from Cassville west to Scott's mill, 18 miles west, which required on an average from 700 to 1,000 men daily. [132] We were joined, about the 27th of September, by Colonel Cooper, who assumed command. On the 30th we fought General Salomon at Newtonia, defeating him badly.

The battle of Newtonia, so briefly alluded to by Colonel Shelby, was a decided Confederate victory. Newtonia is about 30 miles from the Arkansas border, in Newton county, Mo. Gen. Frederick Salomon was commander of the Federal forces, estimated at 6,000 men, with 18 pieces of artillery. Col. D. H. Cooper commanded the Confederates, composed of Missouri and Texas regiments, and Cherokee, Choctaw and Chickasaw Indians. The Confederates were desirous of holding the Granby lead mines, in the vicinity, and hearing that a body of Kansas and Pin Indians had marched to that place, moved forward to meet them, and occupied a position at Newtonia. The Federals appeared on the morning of the 30th in force, and a fierce conflict took place. The Confederate artillery, under Captains Bledsoe and Howell, held its position from the beginning of the conflict. Alexander's and Hawpe's Texas cavalry and Bryan's Cherokee regiment (dismounted) received them behind stone walls and stopped their advance. When Col. Tandy Walker's Choctaws and Chickasaws charged them, mounted, with a war-whoop, and Shelby's Missouri and Stevens' Texas regiments flanked them, the enemy was put to flight. But they reformed, after a retreat of several miles, and advanced their infantry in strong force. The arrival of Colonel Fulsom's Choctaw regiment saved the right from disaster, and a fierce conflict followed, ending in another Federal retreat. A third stand of the enemy, after dark, was broken by Howell's artillery, and the Federals fled in confusion, pursued as far as Sarcoxie, 12 miles distant. The Confederates lost about 75 killed and wounded. The loss of the Federals greatly exceeded this number.

In his report of November 3, 1862, General Hindman has written the history of the subsequent operations; [133]

On October 15th, I returned to Fort Smith, where I learned, from rumor, that our troops had retired to the vicinity of Fayetteville1. . . . Upon arriving at Fayetteville, I learned that General Rains, with the armed infantry, one regiment of Arkansas cavalry and eight pieces of artillery, was in camp 2 miles west of Huntsville, on the road to Elkhorn; that three regiments of Missouri cavalry and two pieces of artillery, under Colonel Shelby, were 4 miles nearer Elkhorn, on the same road; that four regiments of Texas cavalry, under Colonel Bass, were at Holcomb's, 9 miles above Fayetteville; that the Indian troops and two white cavalry battalions, with four pieces of artillery, had gone west, toward Maysville, on the Cherokee and Arkansas line, and that the unarmed infantry were at McGuire's, about to miles south of Fayetteville, on the road to Ozark. I was informed by Colonel Bass that the enemy in great strength was pressing upon him; that he was retiring upon Huntsville. I directed Colonel Bradfute to go forward at once and assume command of the forces under Colonel Bass, and offer as stubborn resistance as he could, . . . ordered the unarmed men across the mountains toward Clarksville, and started to Huntsville. . . . General Rains informed me that he had retired from Elkhorn because satisfied that a Federal force of 15,000 to 20,000 was moving upon him; . . . also that the Indian troops under Cooper had refused to retire in the direction of Fayetteville, and that he had therefore ordered them toward the [134] Cherokee line, and thence into Kansas. I sent an order to General Cooper to the same effect, but it did not reach him in time. . . . His command scattered when he reached Maysville, and on the 22d was completely routed, and the battery taken, by the enemy. General Cooper at the time was sick.2 I also sent an order to Colonel-Burbridge, commanding a Missouri cavalry brigade near Pitman's Ferry, to move rapidly upon Rolla, Mo., retiring, when compelled, in the direction of Yellville. I placed General Rains in command of the two brigades of Texas and Missouri cavalry, with instructions to concentrate his force in front of the enemy's main body, and resist his advance to the last moment, scouting to the right toward Huntsville and to the left toward Maysville. With an infantry brigade, provided with no subsistence except beef, and only about ten rounds of ammunition, I retired to a point 21 miles south. I reached this point on the 22d of October. On that day I accepted the resignation of General Rains and relieved him from duty. I placed Brig.-Gen. J. S. Marmaduke in command of the two cavalry brigades of Shelby and Bradfute. The latter fell sick . . and Col. Jesse L. Cravens was assigned to his position.

On the 22d of October a Federal force, reported from 8,000 to 10,000, under Generals Schofield and Brown, entered Huntsville, having evidently learned the exact whereabouts of General Rains' late camp. Their advance [135] was resisted by Shelby's brigade; several killed and General Schofield's cook captured. Shelby fell back about 4 miles and prepared to fight, but that night the enemy was seized with a panic, and retreated rapidly toward Holcomb's.

Notwithstanding the Confederates had been for months in camps of instruction, the infantry on Mazzard prairie, near Fort Smith, where they were organized and drilled by officers appointed by General Hindman, were poorly equipped to meet the well-armed, well-fed and insolent invaders. The cavalry had few other arms than double-barrel shotguns. But they were well mounted, and relied on their weapons in a charge at close quarters. The infantry had been supplied with the Virginia make of Springfield army rifles, and presented a more military appearance. The force now assembled in north Arkansas, under Hindman, numbered about 20,000 men. He was encamped with the infantry south of the junction of the roads leading, one from Fayetteville, and the other from Huntsville, to Ozark, on the north or east bank of the Arkansas river where he could not be attacked from the rear by the enemy marching from either Fayetteville or Huntsville. McCrae's brigade of Arkansas infantry and Woodruff's battery, numbering in all about 2,500 men, and 6 pieces of artillery, were camped 22 miles south of him on the 22d. On the 26th, General Parsons with his brigade of Missouri infantry was ordered to fall back from Greenville, across the mountains, to this camp. The new cavalry regiment organized by Colonel Fagan, Lieutenant-Colonel Monroe and Major Johnson, which had been scouting on Grand prairie, between Little Rock and White river, was ordered up to Bellefonte, a village near Yellville, north of the mountains. While camped there, on the 27th of October, there was a fall of four inches of snow, which enveloped the green forests. It hung for days on the leaves, which had not been turned by previous frosts, an unusual spectacle.

Colonel Fagan was promoted to brigadier-general and [136] ordered to Camp Mazzard, in charge of an infantry brigade. Lieut.-Col. J. C. Monroe became colonel; Maj. Andrew Johnson, lieutenant-colonel; Capt. P. A. Wheat, of Devall's Bluff, major. Carroll's Arkansas cavalry was ordered to Huntsville to cover the movement of Gen. M. M. Parsons, who was marching to join Hindman.

On the 26th of October, General Hindman moved forward, intending to take position at McGuire's store, on the Fayetteville road, then held by Marmaduke, commanding a cavalry division. A large force of the enemy, advancing against Marmaduke in front and threatening his left, drove his cavalry back from McGuire's before Hindman got up, and Hindman fell back to his former position, and ordered Marmaduke to cross the mountains and take up position on the north and east of Van Buren and Fort Smith. The enemy did not venture any further south, but retreated, followed by Arkansas cavalry under Colonel MacDonald, of the provost-marshal's department, who took position at Cane hill.

Thus, for the time, that picturesque country of lofty limestone ridges, pretty valleys watered by crystal mountain-streams, peopled with industrious communities, prosperous in their flocks and herds and buoyant with their young men and rosy-cheeked young women, was saved from the ravages that attended the movements of a Federal army, made up in part of savage militia (which under the lead of skilled officers of the regular army, but defiant of restraint, were shielded in the perpetration of all of war's enormities) and the not more savage Pin Indians, who were licensed to indulge their brutal and cowardly instincts.

President Davis noted on General Hindman's report: ‘The remarks about undisciplined cavalry agree entirely with the conclusions I reached many years since, and by reference to the orders under which many of these troops were raised it will be seen that it was not intended they should serve on horseback.’ The cavairy, [137] or mounted infantry, known in Napoleon's wars as the voltigeurs, was used as our cavalry was, for none had sabers or carbines; and in a great war this is an efficient and indispensable arm of the service, as was soon realized. Under Lieut. Geo. Cook's system of tactics, ‘the fourth man held the horses’—one man keeping four horses quiet in position to be mounted—while three-fourths of the command attacked and fought with long-range rifles. Such troops could move great distances by night or day, strengthen or mask flanking movements, and resist flanking movements of the enemy, which annoy beyond endurance. Merely as cavalry, fighting on horseback, which we never did, the criticisms of the President and General Hindman are just. But fortifying passes in the mountains and points along a frontier of hundreds of miles, which could be avoided or surrounded, was a reminiscence. Beauregard was the ‘chief engineer’ whose system had become universal, and with pick and shovel the army carried the passes and the everlasting mountains along with it as it moved. Any other system requires garrisons and supplies of food and munitions, becoming (except on the seaboard) mere traps to their defenders. President, generals, and men were taking a new lesson in the art of war. The men, forced from their fields and workshops, could not be expected to fight like veterans. The officers who knew war as depicted in the fanciful pictures of illustrated works, had only vague ideas of its ‘pride and pomp and circumstance.’ These last it possesses, but not in the guise of the toy prints. A baffled enemy with his hosts overthrown, retreating in blood and terror from fields and hamlets of a land which bears marks of his ruthless hand, are its ‘circumstance;’ vindicated honor, its true ‘pride.’ To the soldier who stands for these, whatever his clime, ambition becomes a ‘virtue’ and realizes the ‘pomp of glorious war.’ [138]

For him her poet's lyre is wreathed,
Her marble wrought, her music breathed;
For him she rings the birthday bells.

The snow which fell on October 27th and had remained for several days, disappeared, and the weather resumed its autumnal, hazy mildness, peculiar to that section. Some scouting and resistance to inroads of marauders from Missouri, kept the cavalry alive to the existence of hostilities until the last of November, when the regiments composing the cavalry brigade of Col. Chas. A. Carroll were ordered to unite on the road from Ozark to Fayetteville, and take up the line of march to Cane hill under command of Brigadier-General Marmaduke. Shelby's brigade of Missouri cavalry had preceded them and were in occupation of Newburg, a pretty village on an elevation known as Cane hill, commanding views of the surrounding region, a fertile and cultivated country to the north, and the site of Cane Hill college, a favorite institution of learning. Shelby had with him Bledsoe's battery of two iron 6-pounders, and four little howitzers under command of Captain Shoup. On the morning of November 28th, having information of the advance of the enemy under General Blunt, from Lindsay's prairie, 15 miles south of Maysville, the brigade was drawn up, dismounted, north of Kidd's mill, on the Fayetteville road, by which the enemy was approaching; Col. Emmet MacDonald was posted northeast of Kidd's mill, and Carroll's brigade was formed across the road, north of the village of Boonsboro, also on Cane hill.

The enemy's artillery, supported by infantry, opened the battle by shelling the positions occupied by Shelby and MacDonald. It was answered by Shelby's two guns promptly for a while, then Bledsoe moved one of his guns from its position covering the Cincinnati road to one giving him a cross-fire on the enemy's position, against which his other gun was playing. Heavy forces of the enemy were rapidly deploying and advancing in numbers sufficient to [139] surround Shelby and MacDonald, when the former fell back to Boonsboro on Carroll's brigade. MacDonald also fell back from a position now greatly exposed and formed on Shelby's right. Here MacDonald made an advance against the enemy and checked him for a short time, then fell back before the weight of numbers, which seemed to swarm over the hills, while Shelby took new position about the college. Carroll was ordered back to meet the enemy south of the college and Newburg, which he did, until Shelby could reform behind his line on a ridge overlooking a valley, which separated the ridge from the town. Then Carroll, in turn, fell back, after several volleys from his shotguns (falling short and ineffectual), and formed on Shelby's left, MacDonald going into line on his left. The enemy had now reached the college hill, and played his batteries of twelve guns upon the Confederate line, answered by Bledsoe with spirit, and by the little howitzers under Shoup, which had gone into battery on the ridge. This artillery duel was kept up for half an hour, while ladies and little children, who had fled from their pretty homes in Newburg, crouched in terror as the artillery played over them, down in the valley between the contending lines, their bedding having been thrown out by the enemy, and houses dismantled. It was a most touching scene—the reality of ruthless war.

General Marmaduke had information that the enemy was advancing by a route on the right, threatening his rear, and he ordered the command to retire down the Cove creek road, receiving the enemy by regiments in successive formation along the road. Seeing this movement of the Confederates, the enemy advanced with great boldness, infantry, artillery and cavalry, but being checked until the last crest of the mountain was reached and the train was secure beyond it. There Shoup's little battery, gallantly sending defiance to the foe as he advanced, was partially disabled, and the guns, with the assistance of [140] the cavalry, were packed upon horses and carried to the rear.

True enough, as General Marmaduke had anticipated, a large force of the enemy now came into the Cove creek road, just as Carroll's brigade passed the junction. It was closely pushing some of Shelby's men and Bledsoe's guns. Just at the junction of the roads on the right, facing north, Col. G. W. Thompson had placed a part of his regiment. The rear guard of Monroe's regiment getting under fire of the enemy's carbines from the junction, Colonel Monroe halted the men of his regiment in hearing, and facing about, ordered a charge. His little line went across a vacant field at double-quick, firing as it went. At this moment Colonel Thompson, with some of his men, stationed on a rock overhanging the road, delivered a deadly fire in the front and flank of the enemy's column. It brought down the lieutenant-colonel commanding, a lieutenant and a number of men, and instantly stopped the pursuit.

General Blunt, in his report of this affair, said:

The fight continued for 3 miles, until, on descending partially from the mountain into a valley, the Cove creek road was reached, leading from Fayetteville to Van Buren, at the point where it intersects the road from Cane hill to the last-named place. At this point the enemy again brought his artillery into requisition. [Not true.] It was now near sundown, and darkness must soon put an end to the pursuit. Down the valley, in front of us, the ground appeared to be adapted to the use of cavalry, and I determined to make an effort to capture their artillery, of which they had six pieces. A large force of their best cavalry was acting as rear guard, with a portion of their artillery just in front of them. Waiting for my cavalry to come up, I called for volunteers to make a charge. Three companies of the Sixth Kansas, nearest at hand, promptly responded to the call, and under command of their three field officers, Colonel Judson, LieutenantCol-onel Jewell and Major Campbell, dashed into the rear of the rebel column, cutting and shooting them down with sabers, carbines and revolvers. The charge continued for [141] half a mile down the valley, to a point where it converged into a funnel shape, terminating in a narrow defile. At this point a large body of the enemy were in ambush in front, and upon the flanks where the cavalry could not approach, with their battery also masked in front. [Bledsoe's two guns had gone by, down the road and did not unlimber there; Shoup's were on the backs of horses.] As soon as the party we were pursuing had passed through this defile, they opened upon us a most destructive fire, which, for the moment, caused my men to recoil and give back, in spite of my own efforts and those of other officers to rally them; whereas, if they had, after receiving the enemy's fire, passed on 200 or 300 yards, we could have secured, in a moment more, what we so much coveted—the enemy's artillery. Emboldened by their success in defending the defile and checking our advance, they raised a wild yell and advanced toward us.

The rest of his report is an exercise of the imagination. There was no effort by the Federal forces to pass further down the defile. It is true that, with his howitzers, he shelled from a safe position to which he had retired, some distance back of the place where Jewell fell. Maj. P. H. Wheat and the writer dismounted and removed that fatally-wounded officer from the middle of the road to a fence-corner, where he might not be trodden in a charge of cavalry. The enemy retired voluntarily. No one ever presented for Marmaduke, or at any time had any occasion to bear, as he mendaciously relates, a flag of truce; for not a Confederate had been there touched, except the few who had received saber cuts before the enemy was checked. The sabered men were not ‘seriously’ hurt, as they made a joke of their wounds. One man, whose ear was bleeding from a saber cut, said, ‘The enemy thought me a wild shoat and was trying to mark me.’ A perfect quiet reigned thenceforth in the little, lonely gorge, the enemy sending men wearing badges of the infirmary corps to take away his dead and wounded. A short distance below the scene of this casual fight the Confederates went into camp, and sent scouting parties the next [142] day and ascertained that Blunt remained there. It was remarkable how well the several thousand Southern farmers, who had never before been under fire, demeaned themselves, not a man showing the white feather. Colonel Shelby and some of his men, riding rapidly down the road, called out to Monroe's men: ‘If you won't fight, get out of the road and let us fight!’ To which the gallant Monroe replied scornfully, ‘I am obeying orders, but will cover your retreat; about wheel, forward charge!’ and made the charge above described. The Confederates lost 7 or 8 killed in the forenoon, and about 20 wounded. The enemy's loss was reported by him as 8 killed and 36 wounded. Artillery was disabled and horses killed on both sides; no captures by either.

The purpose of the stand at Cane hill was to develop the enemy's strength and subject the newly-organized commands to the baptism of fire, in view of a general advance of the army under Hindman, for regaining the former position at Elkhorn and driving the enemy from the State, which he contemplated making early in December. Preparatory to his advance, he ordered the cavalry under Marmaduke to move from its camp at Dripping Springs, on December 3d, in the direction of Fayetteville. Early Wednesday morning the cavalry division under MarmadukeCarroll's brigade, under Col. J. C. Monroe, reduced to about 500 effective men; Shelby's brigade, 1,100; MacDonald's brigade, about 700; total, 2,300— moved northward. On Friday, the 5th, Monroe, who had advanced on the line road along the Indian Territory boundary, moved across to Cove creek and formed a junction with Shelby on the Cove creek road, the same over which Carroll's brigade had fought on November 29th, ten miles above Oliver's. MacDonald was ordered forward on the Wire road, east of the Cove creek road. Both commands engaged and drove back the enemy's pickets. Early Saturday morning, Shelby encountered the enemy in strong force, and dismounting his men, drove him back [143] across the crest of the Boston mountain to a position within two miles of his main force. During Friday night MacDonald was withdrawn from the Wire road to unite with Monroe in the Cove creek road (leaving a strong picket), and Shelby relieved, that his men might rest and cook their food.

On Saturday afternoon it was reported that Blunt was retreating from Cane hill, and Monroe was ordered to move, by the Cove creek road, directly against Cane hill. Shelby and MacDonald were ordered forward to the intersection of the Cove creek and Fayetteville roads, to cut off the enemy's retreat. Monroe's brigade went into line along the crest of the mountains about 4 p. m. Hunter's regiment of Parsons' infantry brigade soon followed and formed across the road in rear, to hold what the cavalry might gain. Clambering the mountainsides, with rifles in hand, resting from time to time in squads, gay as if engaged in a hunting excursion, these infantry veterans easily kept up with the horses. Monroe's advance was met by the enemy in force along the rocky ledges of the mountainside. He charged down the mountain and was repulsed, having 3 men killed and several wounded, and returning to the charge bareback, saddle-girth broken, failed to dislodge the enemy. His assistant adjutant-general, J. M. Harrell, was now ordered to direct a sufficient force under Maj. L. L. Thompson, commanding Carroll's regiment, over an unused road to the left. Dismounting near the foot of the mountain, this force was able to pour a steady fire almost directly in the backs of the enemy, who fell back, pursued by Monroe's brigade, and formed behind their artillery in a field at the foot of the mountain. Monroe was ordered to press no further, and bivouacked on the mountain, spreading his camp-fires for about a mile. Hunter's regiment moved, without bivouacking, to the Fayetteville and Cove creek road, and rejoined its brigade that night, at or near Morrow's. General Marmaduke says in his report of the action: [144] ‘The conduct of Colonel Monroe, who charged at the head of his brigade, and of the officers and men under his command in this affair, was gallant in the extreme.’ General Hindman said: ‘Colonel Monroe and his brigade of Arkansas cavalry greatly distinguished themselves.’

Advancing skirmishers, Sunday morning, Monroe's brigade met only a feeble resistance, and pushed into Cane hill about noon, to find Blunt had evacuated, leaving behind immense piles of corn, enough to last the brigade a month. The enemy had prepared for Monroe a warm reception, having rebuilt the fences into three-cornered pens and stationed his artillery at the openings between them. There were several wounded Federals, with a surgeon in charge, who were made prisoners at Cane hill, and citizens pointed out graves of several who had fallen in the fight at the mountain.

The same day, December 7th, General Marmaduke, learning from his scouts that a large force was hurrying from Fayetteville (two divisions of the army of the Frontier, under General Herron), ordered Bledsoe's battery to take position in the road, supported by Shelby's brigade, dismounted, ready to resist an advance from either end of the road, and sent MacDonald around to strike the enemy in the flank and rear, which he did skillfully, causing the Federal cavalry to flee, panic-stricken, back nearly to Fayetteville, and killing fifty or sixty of their number, taking 300 prisoners, and capturing horses, cavalry equipments, and a number of wagons laden with clothing. Colonel Thompson was then sent to learn the movements at Cane hill, while Shelby and MacDonald moved forward toward Fayetteville. On crossing the Illinois creek, the enemy was found in line of battle—infantry, artillery and cavalry. Marmaduke withdrew Shelby and assigned him a position with the infantry, on a commanding hill, and ordered MacDonald to remain [145] mounted and retire around the foot of the hill, there to wait the movements of the enemy from the north and west, and repel any attack in that direction.

Hindman came up about ten o'clock with his infantry and artillery, to the position chosen by General Shoup, where the Fayetteville road cuts the center of a hill, on which stood Prairie Grove church, and where a cross-road from Cane hill to Cove creek passes by the church. The enemy, coming up in about an hour, opened fire with artillery on the captured train and prisoners, also upon a hospital established for wounded Federal soldiers. At this time a smoke in the direction of Rhea's and Newburg (Cane hill) indicated that Blunt was burning supplies or houses, and moving to unite with Herron. Shoup's division and Shelby's brigade, dismounted, were placed in line to resist Blunt. Frost's division, to which there were added a Texas brigade and Clark's Missouri regiment, all commanded by Brigadier-General Roane, was held in reserve. Frost's division was also held in reserve to await the movements of Blunt. MacDonald's Missourians and Lane's Texans, the latter commanded by Col. R. P. Crump of Hindman's staff, were disposed to guard the Confederate flanks. The enemy opened with artillery at noon, the Confederate batteries being kept silent. At 1 p. m., under cover of a heavy artillery fire, Herron advanced against Shoup and Marmaduke from the north, across Crawford's prairie, and moving rapidly past Blocher's Confederate battery, had the battery a moment within his lines. Shoup and Marmaduke received them at short range, with shotguns, rifles and muskets, then charging, drove the Federals back, the regiment of Col. A. T. Hawthorn retaking the battery.

The enemy fled in disorder across the prairie, but reformed and renewed the attack. Shaver's Arkansas brigade of Frost's reserves was ordered to the support of Shoup, and the enemy was again repulsed with heavy loss, leaving the ground strewn with dead and dying, and [146] retiring in great confusion. Blunt having arrived, now advanced his line against Shoup's left, when Frost's division in reserve was brought up on the left of Marmaduke and received the attack of Blunt, which was principally directed against Parsons' brigade, and though persistent and bloody, was also repulsed with heavy loss, causing the retirement of the enemy in disorder. The enemy now massed his artillery against the Confederate left, and with his rifled guns played upon the Confederate line for an hour, meanwhile throwing his whole cavalry force against the Confederate right, in which he was defeated by MacDonald. Then moving up with his combined force against the Confederate center, he was finally routed by Shoup's division, Shelby of Marmaduke's division, and Shaver's and Parsons' brigades of Frost's left division. The Federal commander left his dead and wounded and the colors of several regiments, besides a number of prisoners, in the hands of the Confederates. Some of these were found to be of Totten's division, of the central district of Missouri. In all, 275 prisoners, 5 Federal flags, 23 wagons of clothing and equipage, and over 500 small-arms were captured by the Confederates, who held the ground but made no attempt at pursuit. The Confederate loss in killed was 164, wounded, 817, missing, 236. The enemy had not less than 400 dead on the field, and 1,500 wounded.

General Hindman said in his report:

There was no place of shelter upon any portion of the field. Wounds were given and death inflicted by the enemy's artillery in the ranks of the reserves, as well as in the front rank. During five hours, shells, solid shot, grape and canister, and storms of bullets swept the entire ground. Many gallant officers and many soldiers, equally brave, fell dead or wounded, but their comrades stood as firm as iron. Volunteers sustained their reputation. ‘Conscripts’ arose at once to the same standard, and splendidly refuted the slanders put upon them.

A Federal officer under flag brought the following letter: [147]

Headquarters Federal Forces, In the field, December 7, 1862.
Commanding Officer, Confederate Forces:
General: The bearer, Dr. Parker, visits your lines with a flag of truce for the purpose of caring for my wounded.

Jas. G. Blunt, Brigadier-General Commanding.

The bearer of the flag indicated twelve hours from sunrise next day as the desired period of truce. To this I acceded, detaining the Federal officer and notifying General Blunt immediately of the fact. Receiving no written reply, and the bearer of my first note not returning, I again gave him the same information. He replied as follows:

Headquarters Federal Forces, In the field, December 8, 1862.
Maj.-Gen. T. C. Hindman, Commanding Confederate Forces:
I have the honor to acknowledge your second note, under flag of truce, and express to you my regards for the privilege granted of entering your lines to care for my wounded, which is in accordance with the usages of civilized warfare. Instead of returning a written reply, as perhaps I should have done, I sent an unarmed party with ambulances, accompanied by commissioned officers, to meet General Marmaduke and to be by him conducted within your lines.

I have the honor to be, General, your obedient servant,

Jas. G. Blunt, Brigadier-General Commanding.

General Blunt's officer had submitted a proposition, as by authority, that surgeons, hospital nurses and attendants on the sick and wounded should not in any case be regarded as prisoners, but released unconditionally. This was not in such shape as to be conclusive. I therefore requested that General Blunt should meet me, personally, next day. He assented, and we met about 10 a. m. on the 8th. The result of the conference was the adoption of the proposition before referred to, with the additional stipulation that ambulances and hospital trains, medicines and hospital stores should be exempt from capture.

The following is an interesting acknowledgment of trophies:

Headquarters Trans-Mississippi Department, Little Rock, Ark., December 24, 1862.
Maj.-Gen. T. C. Hindman, Comdg. First Corps, Trans-Mississippi Army, in the field:
General: I have the pleasure of acknowledging receipt, at the hands of Lieutenant Hammett, acting assistant [148] adjutant-general of your corps, of the three stand of colors captured by your army from the enemy at Prairie Grove church on the 7th inst.

I am, General, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

S. S. Anderson, Asst. Adjt.-Gen.

The victorious general paid to the officers who had participated in the engagement, the following official approval and special commendation to promotions:

Generals Frost, Shoup and Marmaduke, commanding divisions; Generals Roane, Fagan, Parsons and McRae, and Colonels Shaver and Shelby, commanding brigades, did their duty nobly. I strongly commend them to the lieutenant-general commanding the department. Generals Shoup and Marmaduke do not appear to have been confirmed as brigadiers. They fully merit the honor. Had the authorities, whose consent is requisite, been present at Prairie Grove or at Shiloh, where these gallant officers equally distinguished themselves, the act of confirmation could not be delayed. . . . I had with me the following staff: Col. R. C. Newton, chief of staff; Maj. J. P. Wilson, assistant adjutant-general; Lieut. S. B. Reardon, aide-de-camp; Lieut. R. W. Lee, aide-de-camp, acting chief of ordnance; Col. D. Provence, acting chief of artillery; Col. A. S. Dobbin and Maj. E. E. Boudinot, volunteer aides-de-camp; Surgeon J. M. Keller, medical director. All of them were constantly under fire. They displayed great coolness. This was the second bloody battle in which Major Wilson and Colonel Newton served on my staff. In both they evinced the same high qualities. The confirmation of their ranks has been fairly won at Shiloh and Prairie Grove. I present this subject specially to the department commander, with the case also of Lieut. McK. A. Hammett, all being of the number of assignments made by me while commanding the Trans-Mississippi district.

Reference to the foregoing details will deeply impress all intelligent minds with the grandeur of this achievement of General Hindman and his army. He had made his dispositions to fight Blunt alone, who had a force better equipped, better fed and inured to warfare. When too [149] late to retire, he was confronted also by the Second and Third divisions of the army of the Frontier, under Herron, the largest of the formidable armies which had been created in Missouri, the theater of war from the beginning of strife. They were hurled against him simultaneously, bold in the confidence of their superiority in armaments and numbers. It was a situation for the Confederate commander that must have appalled any one not endowed with a nerve that grew steadier when threatened by such imminent danger. His men were untried, were involuntary levies for the most part, and under leaders whom they had not known or chosen; ill fed, badly armed, without tents or sufficient clothing in the severe weather, and suffering from unaccustomed hardships and privations. When he formed his small army of 10,000 to face the approach of two armies each of that strength, if not in numbers, yet in all physical respects in evident superiority, he realized the task before him and quailed not; met them squarely, fought them fairly, and whipped them with a courage that was sublime and a success almost miraculous. Is it at all singular that he retired from his position, when it is a wonder that he held it at all? So he concludes the report of the action with the satisfying explanation following:

Considering the strength of my command, as compared with the enemy; considering that my men were destitute of food, their wagons 39 miles in the rear, and not to be brought forward without imminent danger of being lost; that my small supply of ammunition was reduced far below what would be necessary for another day's fighting, and that my battery animals were literally dying of starvation and could not be foraged in the presence of a superior force of the enemy, I determined to retire, and gave the necessary orders for that purpose. Cavalry was extended along both sides of the Cove creek road, distant 2 or 3 miles from it, from near Prairie Grove to the mountains, and scouts were thrown upon all routes leading toward the enemy's position. The prisoners and captured property were removed. At 12 o'clock the rear guard of [150] the infantry had passed out of hearing. I remained with Marmaduke's cavalry on the field, occupying the line help at dark, caring for our wounded and dead, and collecting the arms which the enemy had abandoned in his frequent flights before our men. About 12 o'clock I withdrew Marmaduke's command, and overtook the infantry that night, at Morrow's. The return to our camp was attended with no incident worthy to be reported.

The men, who lay down a little before dawn, divested of their accouterments, to which each footsore mile had added increasing weight, had driven the enemy all day, and piled their front with his slain, which he had begged leave to carry off. Yet the enemy remained in the field to feed upon harvests he had neither sown nor reaped, while the brave Confederates must return to privation, and endure a withdrawal very like the ignominy of defeat. They had borne themselves as heroes in battle; the world had never beheld their superiors. They could win victories and lose the fruits; they could endure disaster without humiliation—brave, faithful Southerners, as true as they were disinterested.

Monroe's brigade covered the ‘retreat’ the next day and following night, beneath the full, round moon, the hills and ravines sparkling with whitening frost. A personal reminiscence will illustrate the circumstances of this retreat. The writer obtained at Newburg a half-peck of fresh cornmeal; and his companion, after the battle, had bought on the road, from a fellow-soldier, a loin of fat, fresh pork. Since Sunday noon no food had passed the lips of either. The temptation to fall out of the column at a cottage on the hillside, a little before bedtime, and have some cooking done, was irresistible. Two handsome, young married women, of the farmer class, received them and their provisions graciously, and soon had the white sweet-pones and crackling cutlets ready for the table, to which they added, of their own volition, pickles, stewed fruit, butter, and fresh milk served in real glass goblets, upon a snow-white tablecloth. Their [151] delighted guests were barely seated, when without knocking, a tall soldier entered, with army rifle and new, shining cartridge box and bayonet scabbard. He quietly stood his rifle in the corner of the room, but was immediately clasped about the neck by one of the ladies and caressed silently. The other and more active of the two looked on with an expression of pleasure, and exclaimed, ‘John! you were not hurt! You don't know how glad we are to see you. Where is Charley?’ The newcomer was calm and taciturn, and after a short silence replied, ‘He stayed with Jim White; he will not be here tonight.’ ‘Oh, why did you leave him? Where is he? What about Jim White?’ she asked, under nervous tension. ‘He's wounded.’ ‘Is he hurt much?’ ‘I think he is.’ ‘When will Charley come?’ ‘He cannot come tonight.’ The silent caressing of the soldier by the smaller woman continued. The soldier was one of the new levies of Brooks' regiment, he told us, as he took a seat at table. He was very quiet, and turned his eyes away from the fair-haired sister-in-law, who was busying herself about the board, but yet earnestly asking, ‘Was Charley hurt? Will he be home tomorrow?’ Quieting answers were given, which seemed to satisfy her, but the guests looked grave, for they understood. The division was bivouacked close by, at the foot of a mountain along the creek, and the men slept late under their saddle-blankets on the frosty earth. They were awakened by a woman's shriek. It was the fair-haired woman, who had come ‘to camp’ to inquire about Jim White and Charley. She was told they were both killed—dead on the battlefield.

The enemy had been severely punished. His main body fell back to Rhea's mill, and was ready to retreat farther when the fact that the Confederates were preparing to fall back was ascertained. They were no longer apprehensive of a renewed attack. Monroe's brigade marched the night of the battle over the ground upon which most of the fighting had occurred, and found it unoccupied by [152] any Federal force. Hindman's messengers, in response to Blunt's note, under flag of truce, passed entirely over the ground formerly occupied by the enemy, before they reached his headquarters, protected by cavalry only.

General Herron, in a communication to Major-General Curtis, dated Camp Prairie Grove, December 10th, wrote:

The loss in my division is heavy, and will almost reach 1,000 killed and wounded. For four hours the fighting was the most desperate I ever witnessed, and within a space of two acres, 250 of our own and the enemy's dead were found. The victory is more complete and decided than I had imagined. The Iowa regiments fought nobly—the Nineteenth particularly distinguished itself. We mourn the loss of Lieutenant-Colonel McFarland, and several other officers of that regiment, killed.

General Blunt, in his report of December 20th to General Curtis, said:

I could not tell with any certainty the extent of the damage done the enemy, but knowing that they had a force greatly superior to mine, I felt assured that they would give us battle again in the morning, and made my arrangements accordingly . . . Just before daylight I received a note from General Hindman, requesting a personal interview, to make provision for caring for his dead and wounded. [See his own note, supra, first making this request of Hindman.] On meeting him, I soon became satisfied that no other force was there except his staff and escort and a party left to take care of the wounded, and that his forces had commenced retreating early the previous night. [In a paragraph just preceding he had written, ‘I felt assured that they would give us battle again in the morning.’]

It is idle to follow his exaggerated estimate of the Confederate strength and losses. The official return of casualties in the Federal army, by brigades, shows 175 killed, 813 wounded, 263 captured or missing; aggregate, 1,251.

The infantry and artillery of Hindman's corps went into camp near Van Buren. The cavalry division under [153] Marmaduke was distributed for obtaining forage and rest.

December 12, 1862, the following was the organization of the army of the Trans-Mississippi department, Lieut.-Gen. T. H. Holmes commanding:

First corps, Maj.-Gen. T. C. Hindman commanding.

First division, Brig.-Gen. John S. Roane: First brigade, Brig.-Gen. Douglas H. Cooper—Cherokees, Choctaws and Chickasaws, under Cols. Stand Watie, D. N. McIntosh, Chilly McIntosh; other Indian commands; Texas cavalry under De Morse, Lane and Randolph; Howell's Texas battery. Second brigade (dismounted cavalry), Col. W. R. BradfuteTexas cavalry under Bass, Stevens, Guess and Alexander; Etter's Arkansas battery.

Second division, Brig.-Gen. Francis A. Shoup: First brigade, Brig.-Gen. James F. FaganCol. A. T. Hawthorn's Arkansas regiment; Twenty-second Arkansas, Col. J. P. King; Twenty-ninth Arkansas, Col. J. C. Pleasants; Thirty-fourth Arkansas, Col. W. H. Brooks; Capt. W. D. Blocher's Arkansas battery. Second brigade, Col. Dandridge McRae—Twenty-eighth Arkansas, Col. D. McRae: Twenty-sixth Arkansas, Col. A. S. Morgan; Thirtieth Arkansas, Col. A. J. McNeill; Thirtysec-ond Arkansas, Col. C. H. Matlock; West's and Woodruff's Arkansas batteries. Unattached, Cheek's battalion of sharpshooters; Venable's Arkansas cavalry.

Third division, Brig.-Gen. M. M. Parsons: First brigade, Col. Alex. A. Steen (killed at Prairie Grove)— Missouri regiments of Colonels Caldwell, Hunter, White and Steen; Tilden's Missouri battery. Second brigade, Col. R. G. ShaverCol. C. W. Adams' Arkansas regiment; Twenty-seventh Arkansas, Col. James R. Shaler; Thirty-third Arkansas, Col. H. L. Grinsted; Thirty-eighth Arkansas, Col. R. G. Shaver; Roberts' Missouri battery. Unattached, Roberts' Missouri cavalry.

Fourth division, Brig.-Gen. John S. Marmaduke: First brigade, Arkansas cavalry of Col. C. A. Carroll (retired from service and succeeded by Col. J. C. Monroe); Monroe's cavalry; Shoup's Arkansas battery. Second brigade, Col. Joseph O. ShelbyMissouri cavalry of Colonels Coffee, Jeans and Shelby; Bledsoe's Missouri battery.


Second corps.

First division, Brig.-Gen. Henry E. McCulloch: First brigade, Col. Overton YoungTexas regiments of Colonels Young, Ochiltree, Hubbard and Burnett. Second brigade, Col. Horace RandalTexas regiments bf Colonels Roberts, Clark, Spaight and Randal; Gould's Texas battalion. Third brigade, Col. George FlournoyTexas regiments of Colonels Flournoy, Allen, Waterhouse and Fitzhugh; Daniel's Texas battery.

Second division, Brig.-Gen. T. J. Churchill: First brigade, Col. R. R. GarlandTexas regiments of Colonels Garland, Wilkes and Gillespie; Denson's Louisiana cavalry; Hart's Arkansas battery. Second brigade, Col. James DeshlerTexas regiments of Colonels Mills, Sweet and Darnell; Haldeman's Texas battery. Third brigade, Col. J. W. Dunnington—Nineteenth Arkansas, Col. C. L. Dawson; Twenty-fourth Arkansas, Col. E. E. Portlock; Crawford's Arkansas battalion; Nutt's Louisiana cavalry, and Marine battery. Fourth brigade, Brig.-Gen. J. M. HawesTexas regiments of Cols. W. H. Parsons, Burford and Carter; Chrisman's Arkansas battalion. Fifth brigade, Col. M. J. WhiteMissouri cavalry of Cols. Colton Greene and J. Q. Burbridge.

During the operations in the northwest, which have been described, there had been activity of a minor sort in the northeast, including a skirmish at Pitman's Ferry, October 27th; an expedition from Helena to Moro, including skirmishes at Marianna and LaGrange, November 5th, and a ‘dash upon the Post of Arkansas,’ by Gen. A. P. Hovey, from Helena, November 16 to 21, 1862. Hovey failed to reach his destination, and was called back to help Grant in his first campaign against Vicksburg.

The Post of Arkansas is situated upon a bluff bank of the Arkansas river, twenty miles from Napoleon on the Mississippi, above the navigable cut-off from White river in Arkansas. The bluff is the southern extremity of the peculiar land feature known as Grand prairie, lying between the Arkansas and White rivers, and extending [155] northward through the counties of Arkansas and Prairie into White. It was visited by Marquette and the followers of Chevalier de la Salle, some of whom intermarried with the Indians, and whose descendants survive in the vicinity. Reminiscent engineers are unmindful that fortifications become mere traps for ensnaring their defenders in a war of such magnitude as may deprive their confederates of the ability to furnish forces to raise the siege. It was one such who conceived the plan of erecting earthworks at the Post of Arkansas, and assigning a garrison of several thousand men the duty of defending it. The garrison at Vicksburg held the Mississippi a long time, but it experienced the inevitable capture in the end. The defenders of the Post of Arkansas, if they had been outside with their arms and munitions, could have rendered themselves more formidable to the enemy's transports; or, if after trying they found they could not, they might have withdrawn into the interior with their equipments.

General Grant in his Memoirs, after mentioning Sherman's defeat at Chickasaw bayou, in his first campaign against Vicksburg, December, 1862, said:

After consultation, Sherman and Porter decided that neither the army nor the navy could render service to the cause where they were. Learning that I had withdrawn into the interior of Mississippi, they determined to return to the Arkansas river and attack Arkansas Post, garrisoned by 5,000 or 6,000 men.3 McClernand approved the move reluctantly. No obstacles were encountered until the gunboats and transports were within range of the fort. After three days bombardment by the navy, an assault was made by the troops and marines, resulting in the capture of the place and taking 5,000 prisoners and 17 guns. I was at first disposed to disapprove this move, as a side movement having no bearing upon the work before us. But when the result was understood, I regarded it as very important. Five thousand Confederates [156] left in the rear might have caused us much trouble and loss of property while navigating the Mississippi.

The story of the assault and defense will be understood most clearly from the Confederate point of view by reading the unaffected, concise account contained in the official report of General Churchill, who was in command:

On the morning of the 9th of January, I was informed by my pickets stationed at the mouth of the cut-off, that the enemy, with his gunboats, followed by his fleet of seventy or eighty transports, was passing into the Arkansas river. It now became evident that his object was to attack the Arkansas Post. I immediately made every arrangement to meet him, and ordered out the whole force under my command, numbering about 3,000 effective men, to take position in some lower intrenchments about a mile and a quarter below the fort. The Second brigade, under Colonel Deshler, and the Third, under Colonel Dunnington, occupied the works, while the First brigade, under Colonel Garland, was held in reserve. Three companies of cavalry, under command of Captains Nutt, Denson and Richardson, were sent in advance, to watch the movements of the enemy. During the night the enemy effected a landing about two miles below, on the north side of the river.

The following day, about 9 o'clock, the gunboats commenced moving up the river, and opened fire upon our position. Having but one battery of field pieces, of 6 and 12-pounders, I did not return the fire. It was here that I expected the cooperation of the guns from the fort, but owing to some defect in the powder they were scarcely able to throw a shell below the trenches, much less to the fleet. About 2 o'clock p. m., finding that I was being flanked by a large body of cavalry and artillery, I thought it advisable to fall back under cover of the guns of the fort to an inner line of intrenchments.

The enemy advanced cautiously, and as they approached our lines were most signally repulsed. They made no further attempt that evening to charge our works, and I employed the balance of the time until next morning in strengthening my position and completing my intrenchments. Discovering that a body of the enemy had occupied the cabins in our old encampment, I ordered [157] Col. R. Q. Mills, with his regiment, to drive them from the position, which he did most successfully, capturing several prisoners. Just before dark Admiral Porter moved up with several of his ironclads to test the metal of our fort. Colonel Dunnington, who commanded the fort, was ready in an instant to receive him. The fire opened and the fight lasted nearly two hours, and finally the gunboats fell back in a crippled condition.

Our loss was slight, that of the enemy much heavier. During the night I received a telegraphic dispatch from you [Holmes] ordering me ‘to hold out till help arrived or until all dead,’ which order was communicated to brigade commanders, with instructions to see it carried out in spirit and letter. Next morning I made every disposition of my forces to meet the enemy in the desperate conflict which was soon to follow. Colonel Deshler with his brigade, with the regiment of Colonel Dawson attached, commanded by Lieut.-Col. A. S. Hutchison, occupied the extreme left; Colonel Garland with his brigade, with his right resting on the fort, while Colonel Dunnington commanded the river defenses. It was near 12 o'clock before the enemy got fully into position, when he commenced moving upon my lines simultaneously by land and water. Four ironclads opened upon the fort, which responded in gallant style with its three guns.

After a continuous fire of three hours, they succeeded in silencing every gun we had, with the exception of one small 6-pounder Parrott gun, which was on the land side. Two boats passed up and opened a cross-fire upon the fort and our lines. Still we maintained the struggle. Their attack by land was less successful; on the right they were repulsed twice in attempting to storm our works, and on the left were driven back with great slaughter in no less than eight different charges. To defend this entire line of rifle-pits, I had but one battery of field pieces, under command of Captain Hart, to whom great credit is due for the successful manner in which they were handled, contending as he did with fifty pieces in his front. The fort had been silenced now about an hour, most of the field pieces had been disabled, still the fire raged furiously along the entire line, and that gallant band of Texans and Arkansans, having nothing to rely upon now save their muskets and bayonets, still disdained to yield to the overpowering foe of 50,000 men who were [158] pressing upon them from almost every direction. Just at this moment, to my great surprise, several white flags were displayed in the Twenty-fourth regiment, Texas dismounted cavalry, First brigade, and before they could be suppressed, the enemy took advantage of them, crowded upon my lines, and . . I was forced to the humiliating necessity of surrendering the balance of the command.

My great hope was to keep them in check until night, and then if reinforcements did not reach me, to cut my way out. No stigma should rest upon the troops. It is no fault of theirs. They fought with a desperation and courage yet unsurpassed in this war, and I hope and trust that the traitor will yet be discovered, brought to justice, and suffer the full penalty of the law. My thanks are due to Colonels Anderson and Gillespie for the prompt measures taken to prevent the raising of the white flag in their regiments. In the Second brigade, commanded by the gallant Deshler, it was never displayed.

I ordered Col. E. E. Portlock, commanding at St. Charles, to hasten to my relief with what troops he could spare. Capt. Alf. Johnson reached the post on Saturday night and took part in the action of the 11th. Colonel Portlock, at the head of 190 men of his regiment of infantry, made ,the unprecedented march of 40 miles in twenty-four hours, and succeeded in entering our lines amidst a heavy fire from the enemy on his flank. He was just on the eve of bringing his men into action when the surrender took place. In no battle of the war has the disparity of forces been so great. The enemy's force was full 50,000, while ours did not exceed 3,000, and yet for two days did we royally repulse and hold in check that immense body of the enemy. My loss will not exceed 60 killed and 75 or 80 wounded. The loss of the enemy was from 1,500 to 2,000.4

An officer in Churchill's command, now a senator of the United States, of conceded ability and fidelity to the traditions of the South, has recently paid the Arkansas soldiers the following eloquent tribute, which is also a graphic account of the combat: [159]

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 [160] General Churchill's orders. An officer was sent for General Churchill. After a half-hour's delay he was brought. He commanded the brigade to surrender, and it stacked its arms, though it had won every inch of the field over which it had fought for two days.

That gallant little band of about 2,500 men knew what it meant to continue the fight when surrounded by 60,000, and their lines swept by the enemy's fleet, but they were ready and willing to obey their country's commanding officer and lay their lives on their country's altar. To have attempted to take them by assault, with the whole military and naval forces that surrounded them, would certainly have succeeded in the end, but it would have been scored by a loss to the enemy of more than five times our number. I commanded the Tenth Texas regiment of infantry that was in Deshler's brigade, was with him, heard the conversation, participated in it, and know whereof I speak.

General Holmes, when advised of the expedition against Arkansas Post, had ordered Hindman's army to march at once across the State. It was at the most inclement season of this climate—snow, sleet and rain made the roads impassable, and overflowed the creeks and low places. The army literally waded from Van Buren to Little Rock, without tents, without ambulances, strewing the way with the mules which attempted to draw the scanty subsistence and ordnance. At Little Rock the drenched soldiers, in a heavy snowstorm, were housed partly by the citizens and partly in the workshops at the arsenal, and, hurried on transports, proceeded down the Arkansas river, but escaped the doom which might have been theirs also, by being too late to get into the trap. There was no more hope of defending that petty lunette against the assailing horde, supplied with such an armament, than of ‘damming the Nile with bulrushes.’

General Hindman's troops were returned on transports from Pine Bluff to Little Rock in rather sad plight, but were encamped south of the city, where they were soon made comfortable in winter quarters. [161]

1 General Schofield reported that, having secured, in September, united action between Totten in southwest Missouri and Blunt in Kansas, he asked the cooperation of Steele, now at Helena, and determined to go to Springfield, take command of the united forces, and in conjunction with General Steele, drive the enemy, not only from Missouri, but from the Arkansas valley. But Steele failed to cooperate. On September 24th, General Curtis assumed command of the department of Missouri, and Schofield took command of the forces in southwest Missouri, and after the battle of Newtonia he advanced against Rains with 10,000 men, occupied Newtonia after a skirmish, and pushed on to Pineville, Ark. He then ordered General Herron from Springfield, Mo., to Cassville, and occupied the old battleground at Pea ridge, October 17th. Thence Blunt's division marched to Old Fort Wayne, near Maysville, and defeated Cooper, and Totten's and Herron's divisions occupied Huntsville. On the 30th, Schofield withdrew his whole force, then 16,000 men, to the vicinity of Bentonville, and later, leaving Blunt in northwest Arkansas, moved the other two divisions to the neighborhood of Springfield. He relinquished command November 20th.

2 Douglas H. Cooper, May 25, 1861, had been adopted a member of the Chickasaw tribe of Indians by legislative enactment, under the Chickasaw constitution. He was brave and genial, and trusted by the Indians, who endorsed him, by petitions and addresses, to President Davis before and after the disaster at Old Fort Wayne, or Maysville. Governor Colbert and others, of the Chickasaws, wrote to Gen. Kirby Smith, in April, 1863: ‘With feelings of deep regret, I learn that false representations have been made to you or to General Holmes as regards the feelings of the Chickasaws toward Gen. D. H. Cooper. Having the utmost confidence in General Cooper, both as an Indian agent and as a general whom they have unanimously placed at the head of their forces to be raised in defense of their country and the South, no one can stand higher in the opinion of the Chickasaws.’ He was commended in similar terms of confidence by leading men and military officers of the Creeks, Seminoles, Cherokees and Choctaws, and by resolutions of the Chickasaw legislature and Choctaw council. Col. Tandy Walker wrote at great length in praise of General Cooper, concluding, ‘This is the general, above all others, we desire to be placed in command of the department of the Indian Territory.’

3 Churchill reported ‘3,000 effective men.’

4 Federal reports, strength about 32,000; losses, 134 killed, 898 wounded.

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