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ordered his troops to take four days' cooked rations, and moved forward to the attack. As our camp near Sugar Creek was a strong natural position and difficult of access on either flank, General Van Dorn decided to make his attack in our rear, thus cutting off our base of supply and re-enforcement. The Union position was on the main road from Springfield to Fayetteville, and General Van Dorn, in marching northward, left that road near the latter town and turned to the westward, passing through Bentonville, and entering the main road again near the State boundary, about eight miles north of Sugar Creek. A small force was left to make a feint upon our front, and a considerable body of Indians, under General Albert Pike, took position about two miles on our right to divert attention from the main attack in the rear. The Union force was in four divisions, the first under Colonel Osterhaus, the second under General Asboth, the third Colonel Jefferson C. Davis, the fourth Colonel Carr. The first two divisions were commanded by General Sigel. When the enemy drove in Sigel on the 6th, General Curtis became assured that their intention was to attack his right and rear, and early on the 7th he changed front, so that his right, which was at Sugar Hollow Creek, became his left, under Sigel, while Carr, at the head of Big Sugar Creek, held the new right. The line was across Pea Ridge. The division of Carr was ordered to advance up the road to within about four miles of the State line, and the brigade of Colonel Dodge filed off from the main road to a point east of the Elkhom hotel, and opened his fire upon the enemy, who, posted on a declivity in front, sheltered by a wood, promptly responded. The brigade of Vandeveer passed a half mile beyond the hotel and took position on the left of the road. At the same time a battery opened upon the enemy with great effect, but the reply of the latter was very sharp, exploding two of the Union caissons. It was now nine o'clock, and the whole line being engaged, the enemy advanced with great fury, capturing one of the guns.. The infantry supports (the Iowa Ninth), however, came up and delivered such a fire as compelled the enemy to promptly seek the shelter of the woods. The enemy seemed to be increasing in force, and the position was not well calculated to resist superior numbers. Hence Carr retired, fighting. The enemy made repeated charges, capturing another gun and caisson, but after each charge the ground showed the effects of the steady fire of the retiring troops. The enemy were armed with double-barreled shot-guns, loaded with ball and buckshot, an effective weapon when the fire is reserved for short range. Carr was compelled still to retire, until about 4 P. M. Colonel Asboth supported him with two regiments and a battery, with which force he held his ground for the night.
On the left, McCulloch commenced moving his forces to the south and east, evidently intending to form a junction with Van Dorn and Price, and by so doing to surround our entire army on three sides, and at the same time cut off totally its opportunity of retreat. General Sigel, detecting this movement, sent forward three pieces of flying artillery, with a supporting force of cavalry, to take a commanding position, and delay their movements until the infantry could be brought up into proper position for an attack.
These pieces had hardly obtained their position and opened fire, when an overwhelming force of the enemy's cavalry came down upon them, driving our cavalry, and capturing the artillery. This onslaught, which was made in handsome style, enabled their infantry to reach unmolested the cover of a dense wood. Here McCulloch was encountered by Osterhaus, and a very severe struggle took place until Davis was ordered up to support the Union line. The Third Iowa was ordered forward to clear the timber, but the enemy were in great strength, and the cavalry were broken in disorder, followed closely by the enemy, who captured three guns. It was now that the Indiana regiments, under Osterhaus, came up at the run, and, delivering a murderous fire, followed by a bayonet charge, sent the Indians and Texans to the rightabout and recovered the three pieces. Sigel then re-enforced the command. The action recommenced with redoubled vigor. The enemy brought their heavy guns into position, and after an artillery duel the enemy retired in confusion, leaving their opponents masters of this part of the field. Thus the day closed with Union success on the left and defeat on the right.
At dark the firing had ceased at all points, and the wearied men lay upon their arms in quiet expectation of the morning conflict. Colonel Carr's Division was now in the centre, having been re-enforced by Davis* on the right, while Sigel still held the left. The enemy, during the night, had planted some of his batteries on an eminence about two hundred feet high, sloping away to the north, but precipitous on the side in our front. Batteries and large bodies of infantry were posted at the right base of this hill and at the edge of some timber to its left. Infantry and cavalry, with a few guns, were posted on his extreme left beyond the road. It was apparent that if we could dislodge the rebels from this hill the victory would be with us. At sunrise the right and centre opened upon the enemy with their batteries, while the left, under Sigel, advanced against the hill occupied by the enemy. Having learned the exact position of the enemy's batteries, he commenced to form his line of battle by changing his front so as to face the right flank of the enemy's position. He first ordered the Twenty-fifth Illinois to take a position along a fence, in open view of the enemy's batteries, which at once opened fire upon it. Immediately a battery of six of our guns (several of them twelve-pounders, rifled) was thrown into line one hundred paces in the rear of our advanced infantry, on a rise of ground. The Twelfth Missouri then wheeled into line, with the Twenty-fifth Illinois on their left, and another battery of guns was similarly disposed a short distance behind them. Then another regiment and another battery wheeled into position, until thirty pieces of artillery, each about fifteen or twenty paces from the other, were in a con
Jefferson C. Davis, in command of a division under General Curtis, was appointed, in 1548, a second lieutenant of the First United States Artillery. He was not instructed at West Point. On the 29th of February, 1852, he was promoted to a first lieutenancy, and on the 14th of May, 1861, was appointed captain in the same regiment, being allowed leave of absence to take the commmand of the Twenty-second Regiment of Indiana
Volunteers. He was commissioned brigadier-general of volunteers in December, 1861, saw much service in Missouri, Arkansas, and Tennessee, and in September, 1862, killed General Nelson in an altercation and under great provocation. He subsequently served under Rosecrans, and participated with great credit in Sherman's campaigns of 1864-65, commanding, finally, the Fourteenth Army Corps.
tinuous line, with infantry lying down in front. Each peace opened fire as it came in position. The fire of the entire line was directed so as to silence battery after battery of the enemy.
Such a terrible fire no human courage could stand. The crowded ranks of the enemy were decimated, their horses shot at their guns, large trees literally demolished; but the rebels stood bravely to their post. For over two hours did the iron hail fall, until one by one the rebel pieces ceased to play. Onward crept our infantry; onward came Sigel and his terrible guns. Shorter and shorter became the range. No charge of theirs could face that iron hail, or dare to venture on that compact line of bayonets. They turned and fled. The centre and right were ordered forward, the right turning the left of the enemy, and cross-firing on his centre. This final position of the enemy was in the arc of a circle. A charge of infantry, extending throughout the whole line, completely routed them, and they retreated through the deep, impassable defiles of Cross Timber, making again for Boston Mountain, closely pressed by the cavalry. The Union loss at the battle of Pea Ridge was, killed, two hundred and twelve; wounded, nine hundred and seventy-two; missing, one hundred and seventy-six. The loss of the enemy was reported at two thousand; among the prisoners taken were General Herbert, Colonel Stone, adjutant-general, and Colonel Price. Among the killed were Ben McCulloch, General McIntosh, and General Stark. General Price was wounded. On the 9th of March, General Van Dorn sent to request permission to bury the dead of the 7th and 8th. The permission was granted by General Curtis, who, however, complained that the Union dead had been, in some cases, scalped and mangled. This led to a correspondence, in which General Van Dorn, whilst expressing the greatest anxiety to repress the savage horrors of war, stated that numbers of Confederate prisoners, who had surrendered, were reported to have been murdered in cold blood by the Germans. General Curtis replied that he had no knowledge of any atrocities committed by German soldiers under his
The victory at Pea Ridge cleared the northern part of Arkansas of regular Confederate forces; those under Van Dorn and Price being called to the support of Beauregard at Memphis. Although there were now no enemy's troops in Northern Arkansas, it was not deemed prudent to advance upon Little Rock, for the reason that a communication of three hundred miles by wagons was very difficult to keep up, and General Curtis withdrew his troops from the State, and established his quarters, April 12th, at Forsyth, on the White River, forty-five miles south of Springfield. While here in camp, General Curtis issued the following special order, dated
"HEAD-QUARTERS, ARMY OF THE SOUTHWEST, March 26. Charles Morton, Hamilton Kennedy, and Alexander Lewis, colored men, formerly slaves employed in the rebel service, and taken as contraband of war, are hereby confiscated; and, not being needed for the public service, are permitted to pass the pickets of this command without let or hindrance, and are forever emancipated from the service of their masters, who allowed them to aid in the efforts to break up the Government and laws of our country."
On the 19th, the advance under General Osterhaus, with about two hundred and fifty men, met a superior force of rebels near Searcy, on the Little Red River, and after a sharp skirmish, put them to flight. They, however, succeeded in destroying the bridges along the route to the city.
The news of the battle of Pea Ridge was telegraphed to Washington by General Halleck, on the 10th of March, and on the 12th he published the following order:
HEAD-QUARTERS, DEPARTMENT OF THE MISISSIPPL
12, 1862. "In compliance with orders of the President of the United States, the undersigned assumes the command of the Department of the Mississippi, which includes the present Departments of Kansas and Missouri, and the Department of the Ohio, and the country west of a north and south line drawn through Knoxville, Tennessee, and east of the western boundaries of the States of Missouri and East Arkansas. The head-quarters of the Department of the Mississippi will remain, until further orders, at St. Louis. Commanding officers not in the Department of Missouri, will report to these head-quarters the strength and position of their several commands. H. W. HALLECK, "Major-General Commanding."
The effect of this order was to bring the active operations in Kentucky and Tennessee under the control of General Halleck. He issued another order continuing Buell in his command, with the exception of dépôt of prisoners, which were to report to Halleck. General Denver was assigned to the District of Kansas, and General Curtis to Arkansas.
Island No. Ten.-Beauregard at Corinth.-Battle of Pittsburg Landing.—Huntsville.— Fort Wright.
WHEN the enemy, on the 3d March, evacuated Columbus, they fell back upon Island No. Ten, in the Mississippi River, a place of remarkable strength as far as the river is concerned, but which, as it proved, was easily turned by a combined attack of the army and navy. The general course of the river is south, but at Island No. Ten it makes a sharp bend to the northwest for about twelve miles, and then turning southeast, forms a tongue of land, opposite the northern point of which, on the Missouri side, is New Madrid, which was held by a strong Confederate force. On the 3d of March, General Pope arrived before New Madrid, the same day on which Columbus was evacuated-a fact of which he was, however, ignorant. He took possession of Point Pleas ant, eight miles below New Madrid, with five thousand troops, in order to cut off communication from below, and erected heavy batteries, which prevented the passage of the rebel gunboats. The enemy erected batteries of their heaviest guns directly opposite New Madrid, and, in conjunction with their gunboats, attempted to shell Pope from his position, but without effect. New Madrid was defended by redoubts at the upper and lower end, connected by lines of entrench
ments, and six gunboats were anchored along the shore between the redoubts. The land is there so low that the guns of the boats command the country for some distance.
General Pope, instead of making a direct attack, took up a position below the town, cutting off supplies and pushing forward works to command the place. On the 13th, fire was opened from these works, by which several of the enemy's gunboats were disabled. During the night, a furious storm took place, under cover of which the enemy evacuated the place, leaving behind thirty-three guns and several thousand stand of arms. The Union loss was fifty-one killed.
The bombardment of Island No. Ten was begun on March 16th, by the gunboats, under Flag-officer Foote. His fleet consisted of the Benton, flag-ship, the Cincinnati, Carondelet, Mound City, Louisville, Pittsburg, St. Louis, and the Conestoga, all being iron-clad except the last named, and a number of mortar-boats in tow of steamers. A. M., all the gunboats dropped down stern foremost, to a point within one mile of the head of Island No. Ten, where, formed in line across the river, all headed up stream, the flag-ship several hundred yards in advance, they opened fire. The mortar-boats were got into position on the Missouri shore, half a mile above Missouri Point, whence they commenced throwing across or over the point on Island No. Ten. The fire of the gunboats continued with great vigor for several days, and was replied to by the enemy.
The siege, however, went on slowly, and the fire of the fleet seemed to make so little impression on the rebel works, that Flag-officer Foote, in a dispatch of the 8th of March, said :—
"Island No. Ten is harder to conquer than Columbus, as the island shores are lined with forts, each fort commanding the one above it. I am gradually approaching the island, but still do not hope for much until the occurrence of certain events, which promise success."
Of the "events" here alluded to, the most important was the cutting of a canal through the inundated forest on the base of the peninsula, opposite Island No. Ten, to New Madrid, with a view of thereby sending down to General Pope a sufficient number of steamboats and barges to enable him to cross the river and attack the enemy in the
General Pope, from New Madrid and from Point Pleasant, on the Missouri shore below New Madrid, sustained almost a constant cannonade. The enemy had four batteries, of six guns each, on the shore, looking up the river as it approaches Island No. Ten. The island. itself was heavily fortified, and lying abreast of it in the river was a floating battery, carring twelve thirty-two-pound guns. There were also in the river six gunboats lying between the island and New Madrid. The force of the enemy was estimated at seven or eight thousand men. Although New Madrid had fallen, it was impossible, for want of transportation, for General Pope to cross the river and co-operate with the fleet in an attack on the island. In this situation, General Schuyler Hamilton proposed to cut a canal twelve miles across this tongue, by which gunboats and transports could pass to New Madrid,