By William L. Shea
The 1862 conflict of Pea Ridge in northwestern Arkansas used to be one of many greatest Civil struggle engagements fought at the western frontier, and it dramatically altered the stability of strength within the Trans-Mississippi. This examine of the conflict is predicated on study in data from Connecticut to California and features a pioneering learn of the terrain of the sprawling battlefield, in addition to an exam of squaddies' own reports, using local American troops, and the function of Pea Ridge in local folklore.
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Extra resources for Pea Ridge: Civil War Campaign in the West
The huge infantry brigade, commanded by Col. Louis Hébert, was composed of the 3rd Louisiana, the 4th, 14th, 15th, 16th, and 17th Arkansas, and the dismounted 1st and 2nd Arkansas Mounted Rifles and 4th Texas Cavalry Battalion, a total of 5,700 men. The 3rd Louisiana had seen action earlier at Wilson’s Creek and was by all accounts the best Confederate infantry unit ever to serve west of the Mississippi. The Arkansas regiments were untried in battle as units but included numerous veterans of Wilson’s Creek.
Curtis expected his officers to serve as examples for the enlisted men in this matter and allowed no exceptions for them. After considerable grumbling Capt. , of the 37th Illinois (no relation to the general) finally got his kit in order. He marched after the rebels with three pairs of socks, one spare shirt, and a change of underwear stuffed in his pack and two blankets strapped on top. 17 Logistical problems would be compounded by weather and terrain. The delay in beginning the campaign meant that the Federals would struggle toward Springfield at the worst possible time of the year in a mid-latitude climate.
Alternately freezing and thawing, the primitive roads degenerated into sloughs. 23 While his men and animals recuperated from their ordeal in Lebanon, Curtis celebrated his fifty-seventh birthday on February 3. During this brief lull in the advance, he reorganized the mélange of military units under his command into an operational field army of four undersized divisions: Osterhaus’s 1st Division, composed of the 25th, 36th, and 44th Illinois, the 12th and 17th Missouri, and two batteries; Asboth’s small 2nd Division, composed of the 2nd, 3rd, and 15th Missouri, the 4th and 5th Missouri Cavalry, and two batteries; Davis’s 3rd Division, composed of the 8th, 18th, and 22nd Indiana, the 37th and 59th Illinois, the 1st Missouri Cavalry, and two batteries; and Carr’s 4th Division, composed of the 4th and 9th Iowa, the 25th Missouri, the 35th Illinois, the 3rd Illinois Cavalry, and two batteries.