War of the Rebellion: Serial 032 Page 0073 Chapter XXXIV. BATTLE OF PRAIRIE GROVE, ARK.

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by two of my 12-pounder mountain howitzers, without any damage to either party. I directed Colonel [W. F.] Cloud to withdraw his troops on the outposts, with the view of drawing them out and ascertaining their force and design. Upon my advance falling back, the rebels came forward a short distance and formed in line of battle, their right resting on the mountain, their left extending down the valley, and representing a front of half a mile. It now became evident that their demonstration in front was only a feint, and that their main force had gone by the Cove Creek road, for the purpose of intercepting communication between General Herron and myself, and, notwithstanding that I had received no intelligence from Colonel Richardson, upon whom I had relied to watch this movement, I determined to act accordingly. I immediately ordered the transportation to Rhea's Mills, by a road leading directly north over the mountain, guarded by the third Indian Regiment (Colonel Phillips), keeping the bottom road on the right, leading to the same point, and also the Fayetteville road, open for the movement of troops. I ordered Colonel Wickersham, with his cavalry, to move rapidly in the direction of Fayetteville and form a junction with General Herron. He was followed by General [Frederick] Salomon's brigade, and the Second and Third Brigades were withdrawn from the front and directed to move rapidly on the Fayetteville road.

As soon as I determined on this disposition of the forces under me, I sent two messenger parties with dispatches to General Herron, apprising him of my movements, and what I believed to be those of the enemy, and urged him to press forward as rapidly as possible, that we might form a junction of our before Hindman could get between us, and also directing him to send his train to Rhea's Mills. Neither of these dispatches reached him, the messengers being but off by Marmaduke's advance.

At about 10 a. m., and after the whole of the First Division was in motion toward Fayetteville, I received the first intelligence from Colonel Richardson, who coolly informed me that the rebel forces had been moving up the Cove Creek and Fayetteville road since midnight, and he judged, from the noise, that several batteries of artillery had passed. I afterward learned that Colonel Richardson, instead of obeying my orders, had only gone to within 2 miles of the Cover Creek road, sending a light picket to the crossing, which was driven back by the advance of the rebel column to where the remainder of the party had halted, and where the valiant colonel was content to remain until 9 o'clock the next morning, listening to the tramp of the rebel army, and not even notifying me of the facts until the rear of their column had passed. The conduct of Colonel Richardson in this instance, upon whose vigilance and strict compliance with orders depended the safety and success of my command, is, to say the least, deserving of the severest censure.

On learning that Hindman's forces had passed north, I ordered Colonel Judson, with his regiment (cavalry) and two 12-pounder mountain howitzers, to proceed rapidly on the same road by which I had sent Colonel Richardson the previous night, and to attack and harass them in the rear, which order he executed with promptness and gallantry, attacking them in the rear with his howitzers and following them 2 or 3 miles, until they made a stand in such force as to compel him to withdraw his command.

Moving with my staff in advance of the First Division, on reaching a point some 3 miles north of Cane Hill, where a road to the left leads to Rhea's Mills, I learned that Colonel Wickersham, who was in the advance with the cavalry, and had been instructed to proceed