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1862 March 12: Battle of Pea Ridge

March 12, 2012

The March 12, 1862, issue of The Hudson North Star is full of news about some exciting Union victories.  First up is the Battle of Pea Ridge, which took place March 6-8, 1862, in northwestern Arkansas.  The Confederate loss ensured Union control of Missouri.  Unfortunately, this is a rather small account of the battle and we will hope to see more about it.

H U’ R A H   F O R   U S !
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MORE FIGHTING EVERYWHERE!
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UNION TROOPS VICTORIOUS!
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A THREE DAY’S BATTLE IN MISSOURI !

Interesting Particulars.

ST. LOUIS, March 10.—The following is the official despatch to Major General McClellan, at Washington :

The army southward, under General CURTISS [sic],1 after three days hard fighting, has achieved a most glorious victory over the combined forces of Van Dorn,2 McCulloch [Ben McCulloch], Price [Sterling Price] and McIntosh.3

Our loss in killed and wounded is estimated at 1000.

That of the enemy still larger.

Guns, flags, provisions, &c., captured in large quantities.

Our cavalry are in pursuit of the flying enemy.

H. W. HALLECK [Henry W. Halleck], Major General.

Battle of Pea Ridge, Ark., by Kurz & Allison (see footnote 4)

1.  Samuel Ryan Curtis (1805-1866) had been a congressman from Iowa in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1856-1860.  When the war started he was appointed colonel of the 2nd Iowa Infantry, and subsequently promoted to brigadier general and given command of the Army of the Southwest.  He moved his headquarters to Rolla, Missouri, to solidify Union control in Arkansas, and won the Battle of Pea Ridge.  He will be promoted to major general for his success.
2.  Earl Van Dorn (1820-1863) was a career military officer who fought in the Mexican War, the Seminole Wars, and the Comanche Wars.  With the start of the Civil War, he resigned his U.S. Army commission and was appointed a brigadier general in the Mississippi Militia in January 1862.  When Jefferson Davis became the president of the Confederacy, Van Dorn replaced him as major general and commander of Mississippi’s state forces.  He is known for his defeats at Pea Ridge and Corinth in 1862, and his murder by a civilian in May 1863.
3.  James McQueen McIntosh (1828-1862), a graduate of West Point, was another career military officer.  At the beginning of the Civil War, he resigned his commission in the U.S. Army and became colonel of the 2nd Arkansas Mounted Rifles.  He was killed in action at the Battle of Pea Ridge.
4.  This digital image is from an original 1887 Kurz & Allison print, available at the Library of Congress. The UWRF University Archives & Area Research Center has in its special collections a copy of Battles of the Civil War: The Complete Kurz & Allison Prints, 1861-1865, Birmingham, Ala.: Oxmoor House, 1976 (Oversized E 468.7 .B3 1976).

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