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Pea Ridge Battlefield by Markers Use the “First >>” button above to see these markers in sequence.
Arkansas (Benton County), Garfield — They Passed This Way — Trail of Tears National Historic Trail — National Trails System
"Long time we travel on way to new land.... Womens cry... Children cry and men cry...but they say nothing and just put heads down and keep on go towards West. Many days pass and people die very much." -Recollection of a survivor of the Trail of Tears The Trail of Tears - Land Route After passage of the Indian Removal Act of 1830, the United States government forced tens of thousands of American Indians to leave their ancestral lands in the southeast for new homes in Indian Territory . . . — Map (db m35436) HM
Arkansas (Benton County), Garfield — The Enemy Is Behind Us! — March 7, 1862 - Mid-Morning
It was still below freezing at 10:30 a.m. March 7, 1862, when an alarmed messenger thundered into Union headquarters. The news he carried was startling: Confederates were moving down the Telegraph Road a mile north of Elkhorn Tavern. All of General Curtis's careful troop positioning for a battle at Little Sugar Creek - to the south - was now useless. As gunfire from the far side of Elkhorn Mountain and the fields north of Leetown grew louder, Curtis had to move his remaining troops to . . . — Map (db m35459) HM
Arkansas (Benton County), Garfield — City of Soldiers
In early March 1862, these now quiet fields bustled with the clamor and constant motion of an army headquarters in time of battle. Soldiers drilled, cleaned guns, and checked ammunition. Scouts and couriers rode in to report. Officers convened for councils of war. Mules brayed and teamsters swore. Teams pulling wagons and artillery rattled by. Here, across the road from Samuel Pratt's store, decisions were made that would determine the fate of two armies - and the state of Missouri. A . . . — Map (db m35476) HM
Arkansas (Benton County), Garfield — Getting Ready To Fight — March 6, 1862 - Late Afternoon
General Samuel Curtis had only 10,500 troops to hold back a Confederate army of more than 16,000 men moving toward him. Curtis had asked army headquarters in St. Louis for reinforcements. None could be sent. At the last minute, Union soldiers dug in the bluffs just north of Little Sugar Creek, about three miles southwest of here on the Telegraph Road. There - Curtis thought - his army would await Van Dorn's Confederates. — Map (db m35496) HM
Arkansas (Benton County), Garfield — A Village Full of Wounded Men — March 7, 1862 - Late Afternoon
Entering a little clearing, we discovered the yellow hospital flags fluttering from the gables of every house in the hamlet of Leetown, and the surgeons busy with the sad, yet humane task that was theirs to perform. Lyman G. Bennett, private, 36th Illinois Infantry Regiment The quarter-mile-long trail you see ahead leads to the site of Leetown, Arkansas. Today the woods and meadows of the Pea Ridge battlefield appear to be an uninhabited wilderness. During the Civil War, this whole area . . . — Map (db m35503) HM
Arkansas (Benton County), Garfield — Leetown
The small hamlet near here included two stores, a blacksmith shop, Masonic hall, church, school and several residences. During the fighting some of the buildings were used by the Union Army as hospitals. — Map (db m35505) HM
Arkansas (Benton County), Garfield — A Crisis in Command — March 7, 1862 - Afternoon
We must not let the men know that General McCulloch is killed. Benjamin Pixley, Lieutenant, 16th Arkansas Infantry The general in charge of this half of the Confederate army - Texan Ben McCulloch - had formed his division, some 7,000 strong, just out of sight behind the trees you see in the distance. Before ordering a massive charge into Oberson's cornfield, "Old Ben," as his troops called him, rode alone to the edge of the trees for a final scout. Yankee skirmishers behind a rail fence . . . — Map (db m35559) HM
Arkansas (Benton County), Garfield — Save the Cannon! — March 7, 1862 - Mid-Morning
Like maddened hornets, Confederate infantrymen boiled out of Morgan's Woods, crossed Leetown Road, and swarmed toward the six Federal cannon that had unlimbered in this corner of Oberson's cornfield. Captain William Black stood in front of the cannon and fired his Colt repeating rifle to single-handedly delay the fierce assault until he fell wounded. Black bought the artillerymen time to save four of the six guns from being captured. (Caption Under Black's Portrait): William Black was . . . — Map (db m35562) HM
Arkansas (Benton County), Garfield — A Fierce Tangle in Morgan's Woods — March 7, 1862 - Late Afternoon
...this battle...was a mass of mixed up confusion from beginning to end...Would to God it was night or reinforcements would come. William Watson, sergeant, 3rd Louisiana Infantry Regiment Four regiments of volunteers from Arkansas and Louisiana, moving "with all the vim and vigor [of] regulars," ran headlong and unawares into two Illinois regiments near here. The close-range fighting was so intense that men from both armies threw themselves flat on the ground to survive the hurricane of . . . — Map (db m35566) HM
Arkansas (Benton County), Garfield — Stand to Your Posts! — March 7, 1862 - Mid-Morning
Officers and men, you have it in your power to make or prevent another Bull Run affair. I want every man to stand to his post! Nicholas Greusel, colonel, 36th Illinois Infantry Regiment Yankee cavalrymen, mauled from a sharp fight with 7,000 Confederates, raced back across Samuel Oberson's cornfield from the belt of trees you see in the distance. "Turn back! They'll give you hell!" some troopers shouted as they sped by the infantrymen moving into line of battle. Two predominately . . . — Map (db m35591) HM
Arkansas (Benton County), Garfield — Two Armies Collide
Imagine 7,000 Confederate troops crowded in close order along Ford Road, the lane you see on the right edge of this field. As they trudged east toward Elkhorn Tavern, a small Union force of Iowa cavalrymen - only 600 men - unexpectedly appeared from the thick belt of trees you see on the left. Neither force expected to fight here. Three Union cannon unlimbered and fired into the massive rebel formation. Within minutes, 3,000 cavalrymen from Texas and Arkansas turned off the road. With war . . . — Map (db m37755) HM
Arkansas (Benton County), Garfield — A Long, Cold Hungry March — March 4, 5, 6, 1862
I don't believe they ever made a harder march during the Revolution than we made that night. Jack Bower, private, 2nd Missouri Regiment The 16,000-strong Confederate Army of the West spent most of the first week of March 1862 trudging on muddy roads through northwest Arkansas. They traveled some 60 miles from their winter camps deep in the Boston Mountains, beyond the low ridges you see in the distance, to get to Pea Ridge. General Earl Van Dorn pushed his troops hard to sweep . . . — Map (db m35614) HM
Arkansas (Benton County), Garfield — Fiery Finale on Ruddick's Field
The first day's fighting ended at sunset on the large open field you see in the distance below. The half of the Confederate army that had circled completely around Big Mountain - where you now stand - had fought hard all day to force their way up the long mountain hollow that leads to Elkhorn Tavern. As the late winter sunlight faded, Union troops pulled back from Elkhorn Tavern and prepared for a last-ditch defense along the tree line that bordered Benjamin Ruddick's cornfield below. Federal . . . — Map (db m35616) HM
Arkansas (Benton County), Garfield — Night Moves
I have ordered Generals Sigel and Davis to move with their divisions during the night and form on the left of Carr's division ... and be ready to renew the battle at daylight. The enemy will concentrate his whole force at Elk Horn; we will fight him there tomorrow...[I am] certain of success on the coming day. Samuel Curtis, major general commanding, United States Army of the Southwest From this overlook you can see the great challenge facing General Samuel Curtis as two armies grappled . . . — Map (db m35619) HM
Arkansas (Benton County), Garfield — It was the Grandest Thing I Ever Saw...
It was extremely rare in the Civil War to be able to see an entire army lined up for a fight, with all the regiments within sight of each other. Had you stood here on Saturday, March 8, 1862, you could have see 10,000 Union men in battle lines stretching for a mile over the open fields below. It was a sight that few veterans of the battle of Pea Ridge ever forgot. Forward quick time guide right. Halt make ready take aim fire. After first shot load at will. Our guns a-booming. The battery . . . — Map (db m35622) HM
Arkansas (Benton County), Garfield — Slaughter in the Rocks — March 8, 1862 - Morning
Below you here stand 30-foot-tall columns of stone. Bone-tired Confederates of the 2nd Missouri Brigade took shelter amid these rocky dens after the first day's hard marching and fighting. What at first seemed like a good natural defense became a deathtrap. As the second day's fighting began, 21 Union cannon in Cox's field below fired a punishing barrage toward this mountainside. A hurricane of artillery projectiles, rock fragments, and timber splinters tore through the infantrymen posted near . . . — Map (db m35638) HM
Arkansas (Benton County), Garfield — Hard Fighting Near Leetown
The families who lived outside Leetown, Arkansas first heard shots fired on the far side of Little Mountain, the low wooded rise you see to the right. Half of the Confederate Army of the West was marching eastward on Ford Road, moving this way. To delay their link-up with the other half of the Confederate army nearing Elkhorn Tavern, a small Federal force opened fire across the fields of Wiley Foster's farm. The fighting intensified as Texas and Arkansas regiments moved south from Foster's . . . — Map (db m35639) HM
Arkansas (Benton County), Garfield — Remembrance and Reunion
The two stone monuments you see here reflect the long-lasting grief - and the hopes - of the generation of Americans who survived the Civil War. After the war, young men whose lives had been forever changed by this battle began returning to these bullet-shattered forests and blood-soaked fields. They mourned comrades lost and reflected on the meaning of their trial by fire. In 1914 veterans began the call to preserve this battlefield as sacred ground. Their descendants again strove for national . . . — Map (db m35642) HM
Arkansas (Benton County), Garfield — Reunited Soldiery Monument
(Front):Angel AloftSpirit of eternal light Keep silent vigil o'er the brave The untarnished blue. The unsullied gray. In peace and love unite. Proud heroes have fallen And over their grave Our hearts are united Our country to save. Over the dead the living bend. And up to their God their voices send. That in Liberty's crown or Eternity's day He may palace as far Jewels The Blue and the Gray. A Reunited Soldiery The Blue The Gray (Upper Right Side):Blue Maj. Gen. S.R. . . . — Map (db m35644) HM
Arkansas (Benton County), Garfield — Pea Ridge — Confederate Monument
(Front):The Brave Confederate dead who fell on this field Mar., 6,7, & 8 1862.The graves of our dead with the grass evergreen May yet form the footstool of Liberty's throne; And each single rock in the war-path of Alight. Small yet be a rock in the Temple of Right. (Right):General James McIntosh of ArkansasOh give me the land with a grave in each spot. And names in the graves that shall not be forgot; Give me the land of the wreck and the lamb, There's a grandeur in graves - . . . — Map (db m35652) HM
Arkansas (Benton County), Garfield — Pea Ridge and the Trail of Tears — Trail of Tears National Historic Trail — National Trails System
"Decr 23rd 1837, Buried Rainfrogs daughter. Marched at 8 o'c A.M. halted at Reddix, 3 o'c. P.M. encamped and issued corn & fodder & beef, 16 miles today. -B.B. Cannon, Detachment Leader Not Far to Go Here, members of William Ruddick's family witnessed more than 11,000 Cherokee people passing by between 1837 and 1839 on their forced removal to Oklahoma. About 356 Cherokee in the detachment led by B.B. Cannon, camped near here on December 23, 1837 - the first removal contingent to . . . — Map (db m21085) HM
Arkansas (Benton County), Garfield — Lifeline for Two Armies
Elkhorn Tavern overlooks a highway of vital importance for Arkansas and Missouri during the Civil War. Union and Confederate leaders both wanted this 20-foot-wide dirt road to move men and supplies. Alongside the road ran 3-year-old telegraph wires, the latest way to send information and fast. In the week before battle broke out here, both armies had hurriedly marched southward past this crossroads and tavern. The night before the shooting started, Union troops from Missouri set up a small . . . — Map (db m35660) HM
Arkansas (Benton County), Garfield — Elkhorn Tavern Taken — March 7, 1862 - Early Afternoon
Confederate commander Earl Van Dorn had pushed his army relentlessly for a week to catch the Union army by surprise. Now, after hours of hard fighting up the Telegraph Road, here in sight of Elkhorn Tavern, Van Dorn gambled by committing all his reserves. As the Missouri State Guard regiments drove back the last Federal defenders, Elkhorn Tavern appeared to be a bold Confederate victory. Like magic the word 'Charge!' ran along the line... a battery [of six Union cannon] opened upon . . . — Map (db m37756) HM
Arkansas (Benton County), Garfield — Vulnerable in Victory — March 7, 1862 - Mid-Night
It was the fiery end of the best day of Earl Van Dorn's 20 years as a professional soldier. Bone-tired from the jarring of a week-long ambulance ride and still feverish from pneumonia, the Confederate commander lay down here in the side yard of Elkhorn Tavern amid the wreckage of the day's battle. Because he now controlled his enemy's sole supply line, General Van Dorn assumed he had the battle of Elkhorn Tavern won. No one yet knew that the rebel wagons bearing food and ammunition for the . . . — Map (db m35661) HM
Arkansas (Benton County), Garfield — Disastrous Retreat — March 8, 1862 - Afternoon
It took two weeks for the stunned survivors of the Confederate Army of the West to make their way from here back to rendezvous on the Arkansas River. In late March 1862 General Van Dorn was ordered to take his army east to Mississippi. This left northern Arkansas in the hands of the Union. "[Our] regiment arrived...in straggling squads, tired, hatless, barefooted, hungry, dirty, and ragged. They had been in rain-storms, climbed steep mountains along narrow and rugged foot-paths, waded deep . . . — Map (db m35666) HM
Arkansas (Benton County), Garfield — Confederate Sunset — March 7, 1862 - Sunset
As the sun set on the first day of battle, about 3,000 rebels from Missouri made their final charge here. Crossing Ben Ruddick's stubbled cornfield, they ran straight toward the muzzles of Federal cannon set wheel hub to wheel hub against a line of trees. After hours of fighting withdrawals, this last Union line held firm. Rebuffed Confederates ebbed back to Elkhorn Tavern. In the dusk, men of both armies feared they were standing on the brink of collapse. ...it was almost dark and we got . . . — Map (db m35671) HM
Arkansas (Benton County), Garfield — A Perfect Storm of Shot and Shell — March 8, 1862 - Morning
...[the Yankees] opened a perfect storm of round and shrapnell shot and shell...[the ground] was literally ploughed up by cannon ball...It is a perfect miracle that any of us ever came out. John J. Good, captain, Dallas Texas Light Artillery, Good's Battery Here two armies lined up for a second day of fighting after a long, bitterly cold night. Confederate artillerists set up their guns along the edge of these woods. The Union battle line was only 500 yards away - a 5-minute walk - . . . — Map (db m35672) HM
Arkansas (Benton County), Garfield — "Dat De Shpot, Sergent!" — March 8, 1862 - Morning
I saw General Sigel sight one piece...and send a shot at the [rebel] guns that had driven us back...It went tearing in among the men and horses, killing and wounding both, and then exploded in one of the caissons...Placing his glass to his eye to note the effect of his hot, the General said 'Dat de shpot, Sergent; just put 'em right in dare.' Samuel McKay, private, 37th Illinois Infantry Regiment General Franz Sigel ordered the Union gunners positioned here to concentrate on first one . . . — Map (db m35684) HM
Arkansas (Benton County), Garfield — That Beautiful Charge — March 8, 1862 - Mid-Morning
That beautiful charge I shall never forget; with banners streaming, with drums beating, and our long line of blue coats advancing upon the double quick, with their deadly bayonets gleaming in the sunlight, and every man and officer yelling at the top of his lungs. Eugene B. Payne, captain, 37th Illinois Infantry Regiment When the bugles sounded the charge at 10:00 a.m., standing here were 10,000 Union men - an entire army visible from one place. During the Civil War such a sight was so . . . — Map (db m35677) HM
Arkansas (Benton County), Garfield — U.S. Army Headquarters 1862
This site was the camp-ground for commanding officers and headquarters of U.S. Army for Battle of Pea Ridge. Here councils of war were held. Camp for 10,500 soldiers. U.S. Army located 1 ½ miles south. Depot of supplies 1 mile north of this site. — Map (db m35688) HM
Arkansas (Benton County), Garfield — Where I Knew I Might Make the Best Fight
The high bluffs here on Little Sugar Creek were a scene of frantic activity on the morning of March 6, 1862 as Federal soldiers shoveled out rifle pits and cut down trees for hasty field fortifications. With no hope of reinforcements from St. Louis, General Samuel Curtis had only 10,500 men to confront a Confederate army of more than 16,000 marching toward him. Curtis ordered his men to use this creek and the line of steep hills to prepare a strong defense. Sugar Creek's trenches were never . . . — Map (db m35690) HM
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