War of the Rebellion: Serial 008 Page 0217 Chapter XVIII. PEA RIDGE, OR ELKHORN TAVERN, ARK.

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united forces of the Confederate and Missouri rebels had passed our right flank and were deploying also on our line of retreat near Elkhorn Tavern. They advanced during the night by the direct road leading from Bentonville, Ark., to Cassville, Mo. This road joins the Telegraph road from Fayetteville to Cassville at a point a few miles north of the above-mentioned Elkhorn Tavern. To prevent the enemy from still more strengthening their position in our rear and to engage a part of his forces General Curtis ordered me to make a demonstration on their right flank towards Leetown, if necessary, on the Bentonville and Cassville road. The forces detailed for this purpose were mainly cavalry (battalions of Third Iowa Cavalry, First and Fifth Missouri Cavalry), and three pieces of the flying battery, all under the immediate command of Colonel Bussey, Third Iowa Cavalry; and, further, the Twelfth Missouri, Thirty-sixth Illinois, and Twenty-second Indiana Regiments, three pieces, 12-pounder howitzers, of Captain Welfley's battery, and Captain Hoffmann's battery. This command started after 10 o'clock a.m. I arrived at Leetown, having no knowledge whatever of the whereabouts of the enemy, and took position in the open fields north of Leetown, going forward myself with the cavalry and three pieces of the flying artillery. The field in which the infantry and artillery were posted is divided from another tract of cultivated land by a belt of timber with thick undergrowth. Debouching from this timber I came in sight of a large force of the enemy, mostly cavalry. All the open fields to my front and right were occupied, and the road from Bentonville was filled with new regiments arriving.

As appears from the accompanying sketch,* this gathering of the enemy's forces was accomplished in the immediate neighborhood of the headquarters of our army, being only 1 1/2 miles distant, and it was patent that the enemy was preparing a most energetic attack on our right flank at the same time that they opened fire on our rear. Notwithstanding my command was entirely inadequate to the overwhelming masses opposed to me, which I learned afterwards were under the immediate command of Generals McCulloch and McIntosh, and comprised some of the very best-drilled regiments in the Confederate service and Indian regiments, I could not hesitate in my course of action. The safety of our position was dependent upon the securing of our right flank and the keeping back of the enemy until I was re-enforced. I therefore ordered the three pieces of the flying battery to form, supporting them by companies from the First Missouri Cavalry, provided with revolvers and revolving carbines, forming the remainder of the cavalry in line of attack. The battery opened fire with the most disastrous effect on the enemy, and in order to cut off fresh supports two companies of cavalry were ordered to charge down the road. When I saw the effect of the artillery, creating a panic in the lines of our opponents, I ordered Colonel Bussey to charge from the right, attacking the left of the rebels. While these preparations were making, a wild, numerous, and irregular throng of cavalry, a great many Indians among them, rushed towards us, breaking through our lines. A general discharge of fire-arms on both sides created a scene of wild confusion, from which our cavalry, abandoning the three pieces of artillery, retreated towards their old camping ground, while that of the enemy made their way across the fields towards the Bentonville road.

It being evident that the cavalry could not be formed again for the present, I had to rely solely on the infantry and artillery to achieve my


*Not found.