Back before Ollie had to leave for his job in Nebraska, we had taken a trip to his daughter, Allison's, house in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Upon leaving, we decided to take the "scenic route" home.
We made a stop in a small town called Pea Ridge, Arkansas, which is the site of the Pea Ridge National Military Park. Here are a couple of pictures:
View from atop Pea Ridge:
Now, for some of the official Pea Ridge National Military Park information. There is a lot more information available about this battle. It is considered to be the battle that saved Missouri for the Union.
Close to 23,000 soldiers fought at Pea Ridge on March 7 and 8, 1862. Many of the soldiers were from small towns and had never traveled more than twenty miles away from home before they joined the Army. They were farmers, merchants, teachers, mechanics, lawyers and countless other occupations before they enlisted.
At this early stage of the war, every man was a volunteer. Many joined for patriotic reasons, to preserve the embattled Union or to fight the "Second American Revolution", while others sought to escape the boredom of life in a small town. Some went with their heads filled with dreams of glory, while others simply did not want to be thought of as cowards. No one thought that this was to be a long or bloody war. They were wrong.
Throughout the years that have passed, the park has come into possession of diaries, letters and notes from the soldiers who fought here.
Pea Ridge was the only major Civil War battle in which Indian troops participated. Almost 1,000 Cherokee made up two Confederate regiments. Cherokee Stand Watie as their Colonel. The Indian Brigade joined McCulloch’s division.
Pea Ridge was a decisive victory for the Federal Army, even though the Federal forces at Pea Ridge were outnumbered and outgunned by the Confederates, and had been surprised by Van Dorn's bold moves. The Battle of Pea Ridge was one of the few times during the Civil War that a Federal Army would be at such a disadvantage.
The victory came down to one important factor - leadership. The outcome of the battle rested squarely upon the shoulders of Samuel Ryan Curtis. Curtis led his army capably and skillfully. His division and brigade commanders fought aggressively, took the initiative when it was required, and served their chief well. Thoughout the campaign, Curtis allowed his commanders enough flexibility to adapt to changing situations while still retaining control.
Each time that the Confederates appeared to gain the upper hand, a different leader stepped forward and made a bold counter move - Osterhaus & Davis at Leetown, Carr at the Elkhorn Tavern, Sigel on Welfley's knoll, Dodge on the Bentonville Detour and on the morning of the 7th.
Pea Ridge would be the proving ground for some of the Federal Army's most successful leaders. Curtis and Asboth would command military districts during the war. Sigel would command an Army. Osterhaus, Davis and Dodge would each command a Corps. Carr would command a cavalry Division. And then there was Sheridan. He would rise to be General-in-Chief of the United States Army, only the 4th man (after Washington, Grant & Sherman) in United States history to wear the four stars of a full General.