In the spring of 1862, Union Brig. Gen. Samuel R. Curtis entered Arkansas with his 10,500 strong Army of the Southwest. and 50 artillery guns. He moved into Benton County, Arkansas, following a stream called Sugar Creek. Expecting an assault from the south, Gen Curtis found an excellent defensive position on the north side of the creek and began to fortify it .
Major General Earl Van Dorn's (CSA) Army of the West totaled approximately 16,000 men, including 800 Indian troops. Planning to flank Curtis and attack his rear, Van Dorn planned to either force Curtis to retreat north or be encircled and destroyed. Gen. Van Dorn had ordered his army to travel light so each soldier carried only three days' rations, forty rounds of ammunition, and a blanket. Each division was allowed an ammunition train and an additional day of rations. All other supplies, including tents and cooking utensils, were to be left behind.
On the night of March 6, 1862, Maj. Gen. Earl Van Dorn (CSA) set out to outflank the Union position near Pea Ridge, dividing his army into two columns. Learning of Van Dorn’s approach, the Gen. Samuel R. Curtis (USA) marched north to meet his advance on March 7. This movement—compounded by the killing of two generals, Brig. Gen. Ben McCulloch (CSA) and Brig. Gen. James McQueen McIntosh (CSA), and the capture of their ranking colonel, halted the Rebel attack. Gen. Van Dorn (CSA) led a second column to meet the Federals in the Elkhorn Tavern and Tanyard area. By nightfall, the Confederates controlled Elkhorn Tavern and Telegraph Road. The next day, Maj. Gen. Samuel R. Curtis (USA), having regrouped and consolidated his army, counterattacked near the tavern and, by successfully employing his artillery, slowly forced the Rebels back. Running short of ammunition, the confederates abandoned the battlefield. The Union controlled Missouri for the next two years.
CWSAC: Battle of Pea Ridge
Wikipedia: Battle of Pea Ridge
Source: CWSAC - Battle of Pea Ridge [PDF, p 7]
The battlefield has been preserved.
The Battle of Pea Ridge battlefield has been preserved by the National Parks Service and is part of the Pea Ridge National Military Park.
Visit the official park web site at
Pea Ridge National Military Park
Is there a battlefield app?
Map of the Battlefield showing the locations of the markers?
monuments documented by CWBFM on the battlefield. (Map Monuments
This page originally submitted by Byron Hooks of Sandy Springs, GA, on October 25, 2016. This page has been viewed 1800 time(s) since then. This page has been updated 1 time(s) since then.
The page was last updated by Byron Hooks of Sandy Springs, GA, on February 26, 2021.
BG Hooks was the editor who published this page on November 02, 2016.