Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Pea Ridge Battle

Further Details of the Fight.

(Correspondence of the Missouri Democrat.)

PEA RIDGE, Near Sugar Creek, Ark.,
March 9, 1862

During the past three days we have had some terrible fighting against fearful odds.

On Wednesday, Gen. Curtis, commander-in-chief, whose head-quarters was at Camp Halleck, received reliable information that the rebels, under Van Dorn, McIntosh, McCulloch, Price and Pike, were marching on us with a large force of Confederate Rebels and Confederate Indians.  All prisoners taken give the rebel forces from 35,000 to 40,000.  Gen. Curtis then ordered Carr’s division to move from Cross Hollows to Sugar Creek to take a strong position he had previously selected in case of attack.  Col. Carr marched in the night and joined Col. Davis, who had previously taken position before break of day, in good order.

Gen. Sigel, at Bentonville, was also ordered to rejoin Gen. Curtis at the same point.  Gen. Sigel’s rear cut their way through the enemy at the latter place, and kept up the fight for six miles.

The rebels on Friday morning having made a detour from Bentonville, got a heavy force directly on our rear and right, occupying the heights and brush on both sides of the Fayetteville road.  Colonel Carr’s division was sent to dislodge them.  The battle commenced at half-past 10 a. m., and raged eight hours, until darkness put an end to the contest.  They played on us from masked batteries.  At night we occupied a position considerably nearer our camp.  The carnage was dreadful on both sides.

Simultaneously with the action on our right fighting tool place opposite our front near Leetown, between Gen. Davis and another large body of the enemy.  The latter were forced from the field and hastened to form a junction with the rebels on our right.  The numerous instances of gallantry and heroic devotion which occurred, cannot be mentioned in this communication.  The move of the enemy caused a change of our line.  The battle was resumed next morning, (Saturday) about half past six o’clock, our guns opened on the enemy.  Gen. Carr formed in the center, with Davis on the right and Sigel on the left.  The line of battle was a magnificent sight.  The enemy occupied an open wood directly in front, a perfect hive of them.  They also covered a high bluff more to the left where a battery was planted.  They had another battery playing on us from a more central position, and also a battery of twelve rifled pieces on the Fayetteville road.  We opened upon them with five batteries planted at different points along our whole line, the cross fire produced such a tremendous effect as caused the enemy to falter.

Soon after 10 a. m. Gen. Curtis gave the order to advance, and the infantry becoming engaged, poured in such a murderous fire of musketry that the enemy fled from the field in all directions.  The victory was decisive. – Under the eye of Gen. Curtis, Commander-in-Chief, Gen. Sigel followed the flying enemy for several miles.  Col. Bussy with a cavalry force, is in pursuit toward Boston Mountains, after the main body.  We captured five cannon.  It is impossible to give our loss at this time, or any reliable estimate of the enemy’s loss.  We have taken prisoners, Acting Brig. Gen. Herbet, the commander at Cross Hollows; also Colonel Mitchell, adj. Gen. Stone, Col. Price and majors and captains in abundance.

The loss of valuable officers on our side is deeply deplored.  We have four general hospitals established for the relief of the wounded.

The rebel McIntosh is reported dead, and also McCulloch, who was known to be mortally wounded.

Price was wounded in the hand.

Van Dorn got away safe.

Col. Reeves of the rebel Second Missouri, is mortally wounded.

Albert Pike Commands the Indians.

Many of our wounded have been tomahawked and scalped by the Indians, with savage ferocity unbecoming civilized warfare.

I give a list of our casualties in killed and wounded.

Col. Hendricks, 22d Indiana, was killed by Indians.

Liet. Col. Herron was wounded in the foot and taken prisoner.

Maj. Black of the 37th Illinois, wounded in the arm.

Lieut. Col. Fredricks, 59th (late 6th Missouri,) reported mortally wounded.

Gen. Asboth, wounded in arm.

Lieut. Colonel Trimble was wounded in the mouth.

Lieut. Col. Crittenden, Co. K, 3d Iowa cavalry, was severely wounded.

Major Coyle of the 9th Iowa in shoulder.

Lieut. Porcher, Co. H, 4th Iowa, severely wounded in thigh.

Color Sergeant Teal, 4th Iowa, shot in the arm.

Captain Burger, Co. H, 4th Iowa, wounded in head.

Add Pea Ridge to the list of battlegrounds.

All our letters including my dispatches, have been detained several days here – cut off by the enemy.


(By Dispatch from Rolla.)

ROLLA, Missouri, March 16. – The remains of Colonel Hendricks, of the 29th Indiana, who was killed at the battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas, arrived here yesterday, accompanied by his brother and two or three other gentlemen, who left the battle-ground on Monday following the battle.

They represent the contest as having been a terrible one.  The rebels fought desperately, using stones in their cannon, when their shot gave out.  Their force is stated at 35,000 including 2,200 Indians under Albert Pike.

As near as can be ascertained, our loss is six hundred killed and 800 to 1,000 wounded.  The rebel surgeons, who came into our lines to dress the wounds of their soldiers, acknowledge the loss of 1,100 killed and from 2,500 to 3,000 wounded.

We took 1,600 prisoners and thirteen pieces of artillery, ten of which were captured by Gen. Sigel’s command and three by Col. Patterson’s brigade.

Two of our cannon, belonging to Davidson’s battery, were taken by the rebels, but were recaptured by our troops.

The rebels were completely whipped, one division under Price fleeing in one direction and the other, under Van Dorn, taking another. – Maj. Hebart of one of the secession regiments, who was taken prisoner, says that Gen. Erost of Camp Jackson notoriety was killed.

– Published in The Burlington Weekly Hawk-Eye, Burlington, Iowa, Saturday, March 22, 1862, p. 4

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