« PreviousContinue »
BATTLE OF BOSTON MOUNTAINS.
a Oct., 1862.
FRANCIS J, HERRON.
Cross Hollows and Osage Springs, near Pea Ridge. There he learned that between three and four thousand Confederate cavalry were encamped
on White River, eight miles from Fayetteville. He immediately ordered General Francis J. Herron to march with about a thousand cavalry to attack their rear, and General Totten to advance from Fayetteville and fall on their front. Herron first
reached the foe. It was
at the dawn of the 28th." His attack was so vigorous that the Confederates fled to the mountains, leaving their camp equipage behind. Missouri was now comparatively secure from danger, and the importance of the services of Schofield was
gratefully acknowledged by the loyalists of that State. Late in November he was compelled by sickness to resign his command, and leave it in charge of General Blunt.
General Hindman now prepared to strike a decisive blow for the recovery of his State. By a merciless conscription, and the concentration of scattered forces, he had collected in the western part of Arkansas over twenty thousand men at the close of November. Blunt, with the First division, was
then at Lindsay's Prairie, fifteen miles south of Maysville, and Ő November.
on the 26th' was informed that Hindman's advance, consisting of a strong body of cavalry under Marmaduke, was at Cane Hill, about thirty miles south of him. On the following morning Blunt went forward with five thousand men, provisioned for four days, and thirty pieces of artillery, to attack Marmaduke. They marched twenty-seven miles that day, bivouacked at night, and at dawn the next morning his advance, composed of only two hundred of the Second Kansas cavalry, and his own staff and body-guard, with two mountain howitzers and Rabb's battery, were within half a mile of Marmaduke's camp before they met with resistance. The main body had been detained, and an artillery duel was kept up until their approach, when Marmaduke retreated to his reserves on the Boston Mountains, and took a good position on a height. Blunt, with his entire force, assailed him vigorously, and, by a charge of the Second Kansas cavalry, Third Cherokee Indians, and Eleventh Kansas infantry, he was driven away and compelled to retreat in the direction of Van Buren. Blunt then took position at Cane Hill. His loss in THE BATTLE OF Boston MOUNTAINS was four killed and thirty-six wounded. Marmaduke had seventy-five killed. The number of his wounded is not known.
Hindman now determined to crush Blunt, and on the 1st of December he crossed the Arkansas River at Van Buren with about eleven thousand men, including two thousand cavalry, and joined Marmaduke at a point fifteen miles northward. Informed of this, Blunt sent to Herron, then in Missouri,
i See map on page 258.
BATTLE OF PRAIRIE GROVE.
for assistance. That excellent officer was at Wilson's Creek when the inessage reached him, and within three hours afterward his divisions (Second and Third), which were fortunately much nearer the Arkansas border, were moving southward with guns and trains at the rate of twenty miles a day. They were at Elk Horn on the 5th," when Herron sent forward his cav
a , alry, three thousand strong, under Colonel Wickersham, for the December, immediate relief of Blunt, and, pressing on with the main army, he reached Fayetteville on the morning of the 7th, having marched all night. Resting there only one hour, he marched on for Cane Hill, and at the end of less than six miles he met a part of the cavalry he had dispatched from Elk Horn, who had been smitten and broken ten miles from Cane Hill by Marmaduke's horsemen.
Herron was now in a perilous position. For two days Blunt had been skirmishing with what he supposed to be the advance of Hindman's main army, when the fact was the Confederates had turned his left, were making for Blunt's trains, under the charge of General Salomons, at Rhea's Mill, and were interposing between him and Herron's infantry and artillery. This alarming fact he discovered on the 6th, and two hours afterward Wickersham, with four cavalry regiments,' arrived at Cane Hill, and reported that Herron would be at Fayetteville the next morning. Blunt tried to warn Herron of his danger, but failed, because of the vigilance of Marmaduke's cavalry; and that active and earnest officer was allowed to march on until he met the mounted vanguard of his enemy in force, at a little settlement on Illinois Creek, called Prairie Grove.
Herron was divested of his cavalry, and had only about four thousand men ready for action. He was in a strong position, and might have made a good defensive stand, but, unconscious of great danger near, and being intent on the relief of Blunt, he drove the Confederate cavalry across the Creek, when he was confronted by a force of infantry and artillery under Hindman, Parsons, and Frost, nearly twenty thousand strong. They were well posted on a wooded ridge, three-fourths of a mile from the ford, and so thoroughly masked that lerron did not suspect their real numbers. Ile pushed a light battery across to feel the foe. It was instantly driven back. Under cover of a feint of another advance, he pushed a battery (Murphy's) across the creek half a mile farther down, and opened partially on the flank of the foe. During the surprise and confusion which this occasioned, and which gave the impression that his force was much larger than it really was, he pushed three full batteries across the ford in his front, supported by three full regiments.? These, within sixty minutes, silenced the guns of their antagonists, and then, advancing across open fields, hurling before them a storm of grape and canister, they pushed up to within a hundred yards of the ridge. Then the Wisconsin and Iowa regiments were ordered to charge and capture the Confederate battery on their front. This was done in a few minutes, but they were unable to hold it, and fell back, when the foc, resolved on capturing Herron's batteries, dashed forward, but were repulsed in turn with heavy loss. Now two fresh regiments, under Colonel Houston (Twenty-sixth Indi.
1 Second Wisconsin, First Iowa Tenth Illinois, and Eighth Missouri.
? These were the batteries of Captain Backof, anu Lieltenants Forest and Boeries. Tho supporting regi. ments were the Ninth lowa, Twentieth Wisconsin, and Ninety-fourth Ilinois.
SUFFERINGS OF TEXAN LOYALISTS.
ana and Thirty-seventh Illinois), came up gallantly, charged upon and recaptured the Confederate battery, but they too were compelled to fall back.
While Herron was thus struggling, at half-past two o'clock in the afternoon, Blunt came up and fell upon the Confederate left, where the troops had been massed to turn Herron's right. A severe battle ensued. Blunt brought three batteries to bear, which soon drove those of the Confederates and their supporters back into the woods, where Colonel Wier, with a heavy force,' charged upon them. Then ensued a musketry fight for three hours,
, the National artillery doing admirable service at the same time. Lieutenant Tenney, with six 10-pounder Parrotts, unsupported, repelled a heavy infantry attack, during which the Confederate General Stein, of Missouri, fell. At about the same time an attempt to capture the batteries of Rabb and Hopkins was repelled, to the great hurt of the assailants. Night ended the conflict, and the Nationals slept on their arms on the battle-field, expecting to renew the struggle in the morning. But the Confederates had no desire for more fighting, and retreated under cover of the darkness. Before the dawn, Hindman asked for a personal conference with Blunt concerning the burial of the dead. It was granted, but proved to be only a trick to keep back a pursuit of his flying army, which, as Blunt soon afterward learned, had commenced departing several hours before. The Confederates, having left their transportation south of the mountains, marched rapidly and escaped. Thus ended the sanguinary BATTLE OF PRAIRIE GROVE.
While the war was thus progressing in the region of the lower Mississippi, on its western side, it was seen in many of its distressing aspects still farther west in Texas, the extreme southwestern State of the Republic. From the time when Twiggs betrayed it into the hands of the Confederates, the loyal people of that State suffered intensely from the cruelties of the insurgents. In Western Texas, where there were few slave-holders, and consequeatly more patriotism, the Union element was very strong and pertinacious, and the inhabitants were both hated and feared by the banditti of the conspirators, who moved over the country with fire and rope to destroy property and strangle loyal citizens.
The sufferings of the Texan loyalists were intensified early in the summer of 1862, after the reverses of the Confederates in Tennessee, when Texas was placed under martial law, and a merciless conscription was enforced. The country was scoured by guerrilla bands, who committed the most atrocious crimes, robbing and murdering all who were even suspected of being friends of their country. Great numbers of the loyalists attempted to flee from the State to Mexico, singly and in small parties. The earlier fugitives escaped, but a greater portion were captured by the guerrillas and murdered. One of the organs of the conspirators (San Antonio Herald) said exultingly, “Their bones are bleaching on the soil of every county from Red River to the Rio Grande, and in the counties of Wise and Denton their bodies are suspended by scores from the Black Jacks.”
1 The Tenth and Thirteenth, and a part of the Second and Eleventh Kansas and Twentieth Iowa,
2 Reports of Generals Bluot and Herron, and General Ilindman. The National loss in this engagement was 1,145, of whom 167 were killed, 799 wounded, and 183 missing. A greater portion of the latter were captured by Marmaduke when he first attacked Herron's cavalry. General Blunt estimated the Confederate loss at abont 8.000, as his commanil buried about 1,000 killed on the battle-field. Ilindman reported his loss at 1,317, and claimed to have captured 275 prisoners, 5 flags, 23 wagons, and more than 600 small arms.
9 Sec chapter XI., volume I.
MASSACRE OF TEXAN LOYALISTS.
A notable and representative instance of the treatment received by the Texan loyalists at the hands of their oppressors is found in the narrative of an attempt of about sixty of them, mostly young Germans belonging to the best families in Western Texas, to leave the country. They collected at Fredericksburg, on the frontier, intending to make their way to New Orleans by way of Mexico, and join the National army. On the night of the 9th of August they encamped on the edge of a cedar brake, on the Nueces River, about forty miles from the Rio Grande. They had moved with such secrecy that they scarcely felt any apprehension of danger from the guerrillas, who were scouring the country with orders to kill all Union men. But they were betrayed, and a leader named Duff sent over one hundred men to surprise and destroy them. At near daylight they approached the camp, and captured one of the party. His life was offered him as a reward if he would lead them to the camp of his companions. He refused, and was hanged. The guerrillas then fell upon the patriots who were sleeping. A desperate struggle ensued, and at length, opposed by overwhelming numbers and superior weapons, the Unionists were conquered, but not until two-thirds of their number were killed or wounded. The survivors fed toward the Rio Grande. Some escaped, and others were captured, tortured, and hung. The wounded, already in the hands of the insurgents, were murdered in the most barbarous manner by bullets, bayonets, bowie-knives, and hanging. Some, who were actually dying, were dragged to trees and hung by the fiends. The commander of the butchers, Lieutenant Lilley, afterward boasted that he killed several of the wounded with his own hands, "emptying two revolvers ” in shooting them! The lives of forty of the sixty young men were sacrificed at an expense to the murderers of eight killed and fourteen wounded in the battle. When the banner of the Republic gave protection to the loyalists of Texas, three years later, measures were taken to collect the remains of the slain and bury them. This was accomplished, and a fine monument was erected to their memory.'
Some attempts had been made to “ repossess” important points Texas, especially the city of Galveston. So early as the 17th of May," Henry Eagle, commander of the war vessels in front of Galveston, summoned the town to surrender, under a threat of an attack from a land and larger naval force that would soon appear. “ When the land and naval forces appear, we shall reply," was the answer; and so matters remained until the 8th of October following, when Galveston was formally surrendered by
1 The writer is indebted to the Honorable Daniel Cleveland, the first Union Mayor of San Antonio after the close of the war, for the substance of the above narrative, and more in detail, both oral and written, and for a
THE ARMY OF THE CUMBERLAND.
its civil authorities to Commander Renshaw, of the National navy, the Confederate troops retiring on his approach with four steam-vessels of war. A small military force was placed in the city, and this, with the vessels, held possession until the close of the year.
We have now made note of the antecedents and position of the National troops westward of the Mississippi toward the close of the year 1862, destined to co-operate with the army of General Grant against Vicksburg. We left the latter encamped between Holly Springs and Coldwater, and the Tallahatchee River. Let us leave this region for a while, and follow Rosecrans to his new field of operations after his splendid victory at Corinth.
Rosecrans found the Army of the Ohio, now the Army of the Cumberland, in a sad condition. It was greatly wasted in substance by marches and conflicts, and demoralized by lack of success—“its spirit broken, its confidence destroyed, its discipline relaxed, its courage weakened, and its hopes shattered." It was showing
It was showing in full measure the feeling of grievous disappointment which the loyal people were suffering because of the failure of Buell's campaign. With the exception of Nashville, then garrisoned by the small divisions of Negley and Palmer, and invested and threatened by a confident foe, there was little to show as the result of nine months' weary campaign by the Army of the Ohio. Its effective force was reduced from about one hundred thousand men to sixty-five thousand. About thirtythree thousand, or one-third of the whole army, were absent from their commands, ten thousand of them being in hospitals. Its cavalry was weak in number and equipment, and the rough-riders of Morgan and Forrest had so very little fear of or respect for it, that it was with the greatest difficulty that the communications of the army with its depot of supplies at Louisville could be kept open. Such was the condition and morale of the Army of the Cumberland (now known as the “ Fourteenth Army Corps ”), gathered at
and around Bowling Green and Glasgow, when General Rose
crans assumed the command of it, on the 30th of October,' and proceeded to reorganize it."
photograph of the monument, from which the above picture of it was made. “Upon the arrival of the United States troops at San Antonio, early in August, 1865," says Mr. Cleveland, "General Merrit furnished a smail cavalry escort to the Hon. E. Degener (who had had two sons murdered in this battle), who, with other bereaved relatives, went to the battle-field and collected the remains of the murdered heroes, and brought them to the little town of Comfort, about ifty iniles northwest of San Antonio, near which place most of them haul lived, where, on the 10th day of August, the anniversary of the battle, they were buried. The funeral ceris mony was peculiarly solemn and imposing. A little band, consisting of the survivors of the battle, the wives and children, parents and relations, of the deceased, had gathered from different portions of the Sunte. Me Degener delivered a short oration, a military salute was fired, and, midst the sobs and tears of the bereaved mourners, all that was mortal of the heroic dead was committed to its final resting-place. On the 10th of August, A. D. 1966, a stone monument was raised by their relatives over their graves with appropriate ceremonies. died and were buried as noble a band of patriots as God ever inspired with sublime courage to do heroic deeds and die heroic deaths in the great cause of human freedom.”
On one side of the monument are the words, FIDELITY TO THE UNION; and on the other the names of those who perished.
1 See page 524.
3 The army was arranged in three grand divisions. The right, composed of the divisions of General J. W. Sill, Philip II. Sheridan, and Colonel W. E. Woodruff, was placed in charge of Major-General Alexander MeD. McCook; the center, under Major-General George H. Thomas, composed of the divisions of General L. H. Rousseau, J. S. Negley, E. Dumont, and S. S. Fry; and the left, under T. L. Crittenden, composed of the divisions of Generals T J. Wood, H. P. Van (leve, and W. S. Smith. Rosecrans placed the ca valry in charge of Major-General D. S. Stanley, of the Army of the Mississippi, and appointed the accomplished Julius P. Garesché his Chief of Staff. Captain J. St. Clair Morton was his Chief Engineer, and Colonel William Truesdall was appointed Chief of the Army Police. The services of the latter officer cannot be too highly estimated. He