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Battle of Prairie Grove.


November-December 1862

From The Missouri Democrat, Wednesday, December 10, 1862.



Gens. Blunt and Herron Achieve Great Victory over the Rebel General Hindman.

Gen. Herron with 7,000 Men Attacked by Gen. Hindman with 24,000.

The Rebels Finally Driven from the Field with Heavy Loss.
Federal Loss 600 Killed and Wounded.
Rebel Loss 1,000 Killed and Wounded.
Col. McFarland, of the 19th Iowa, Killed.
Death of Col. Stein, of the Rebel Army.
Interesting Particulars of the Battle.
The Forces of General Hindman, Marmaduke, Parsons and Frost Combined.
Great Credit Due Gen. Herron and his Gallant Little Army.
&c., &c., &c.

The following dispatch from Headquarters to Washington City, transmitted yesterday evening, announces a great victory at Fayetteville, Ark., to the Union arms:

December 9.

To Major General Halleck:

My forces, the Army of the Frontier, united near Fayetteville, Ark., in the midst of a great battle.

Gen. Blunt had sustained his position at Cane Hill till Saturday night, when the enemy, 23,000 strong, under Gen. Hindman, attempted a flank movement on his left to prevent the arrival of Gen. Herron’s forces, which had been approaching for four days, by forced marches.

Sunday, about 10 A. M., the enemy attacked General Herron, near Fayetteville, Arkansas, who, by gallant and desperate fighting, held him in check for three hours, until General Blunt’s division came up and attacked him in the rear.

The fight continued desperate till dark. Our troops bivouacked on the battle-field, while the enemy retreated across the Boston Mountains. The loss on both sides is heavy, but much greater on the side of the enemy—our artillery creating terrible slaughter in their greater numbers. The enemy had great advantage in position.

Among the enemy’s killed was General Stein, former Brigadier General, Missouri State Guard. Both Generals Blunt and Herron deserve special commendation for their gallantry in the battle of Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Major General Commanding.


To Major General Curtis:
This place yesterday was the scene of a hard fought and bloody field, resulting in a complete victory of the Army of the Frontier.

The rebel forces under Generals Hindman, Marmaduke, Parsons and Frost numbered twenty-four thousand. I had been holding the enemy on the Boston Mountains for two days, skirmishing with their advance, holding them in check until General Herron could come up with reinforcements.

On the 7th they drove in my outposts and got possession of a road by which they commenced a flank movement on my left during the night, while they made a heavy feint in front. Their object was to cut off communication between myself and General Herron, who was to be at Fayetteville at daylight.

They attacked General Herron at about 10 o’clock A. M., who, by gallant and desperate fighting, held them in check for three hours, until I came and attacked them in the rear. The fighting was desperate on both sides, and continued until it was terminated by the darkness of the night.

My command bivouacked on their arms, ready to renew the conflict at daylight in the morning. But the enemy had availed themselves of the night to retreat across the Boston Mountain.

The loss on both sides has been heavy. My loss in killed is small in proportion to the number of wounded. The enemy’s loss, compared with ours, was at least four to one. My artillery made terrible destruction in their ranks. They had greatly the advantage in numbers and position. Yet Generals Hindman and Marmaduke acknowledged to me in an interview under a flag of truce, that they had been well whipped.

Among the enemy’s killed, is Colonel Stein, formerly Brigadier General of the Missouri State Guard.

The 19th and 20th Iowa, 37th Illinois, and 26th Indiana regiments, of General Herron’s division, suffered severely.

General Herron deserves great credit for the promptness with which he reinforced me, by forced marches from near Springfield, and also for his gallantry upon the field.

Very respectfully,
JAS. G. BLUNT, Brigadier-General.

[To the Associated Press.]

BATTLE-FIELD, NEAR FAYETTEVILLE, ARK., Dec. 8.—General Herron’s command met the enemy yesterday on Crawford Prairie, Ark., ten miles south of Fayetteville, and won a glorious and decisive victory over them.

The enemy was 24,000 strong, commanded by General Hindman. This rebel force, which was splendidly armed, was in four divisions, commanded respectively by Generals Parsons, Marmaduke, Frost and Rains. The flower of the Trans-Mississippi Army were there, well supported by a park of eighteen pieces of artillery, and had the advantage of a choice of positions.

Gen. Herron was going to the assistance of Gen. Blunt, who was at Cane Hill, twenty miles southwest of Fayetteville, and was taken somewhat by surprise when the Arkansas 1st cavalry, who were in the advance, came flying back in the utmost confusion. Two companies of the 1st Missouri cavalry, under the gallant Major Hubbard, stood their ground for some time, but were obliged to fall back by the superior force of the rebels. This took place on the north side of Illinois creek.

Order was soon restored among our troops, and the enemy’s pickets and skirmishers were at once driven back to their main body, and the battle then became general and earnest.

Gen. Herron’s command consisted only of the infantry and artillery belonging to the 2d and 3d divisions of the Army of the Frontier, the cavalry having been sent forward the night previous to Gen. Blunt at Cane Hill. His entire command would not exceed in number 6,500 or 7,000 men and 24 pieces of artillery. It was composed of the following regiments: The 24th and 27th Illinois infantry, 19th and 20th Iowa, 28th Indiana, 30th Wisconsin, 4 companies of artillery and a comparatively small force of cavalry.

The battle-field was an extensive series of improved farms, skirted on the east by abrupt hills, which were covered with a heavy wood. Upon these hills, concealed by the forest, the rebel army posted themselves, and opened the ball by a well directed fire of artillery. The contest commenced at 10 A. M. and terminated at dark. Our superior artillery soon forced the rebel batteries to abandon one or two of their positions, and kept their overwhelming numbers in check throughout the whole of this eventful day.

The 20th Wisconsin charged upon a battery of four heavy guns and took them, but they were forced to retire again under a murderous fire. The 19th Iowa also took the same battery and performed prodigies of valor, but they were also obliged to yield them to superior numbers. Almost every regiment distinguished itself.

At about 4 o’clock General Blunt came up from Cane Hill with 5,000 men and a strong force of artillery, and opened on the enemy from the southwest. The rebels made desperate efforts to capture his batteries, but they were repulsed with terrible slaughter. We held the whole field at dark, and before 8 o’clock that night the entire rebel force was in full retreat.

Our loss in killed and wounded is six hundred—that of the rebels is admitted by themselves to be over one thousand five hundred. Several of their field officers were killed, among them Col. Stein, who was commanding a brigade, and who was formerly a Brigadier-General in Price’s army, the Missouri State Guard. But very few prisoners were taken.

We captured four fine caissons filled with ammunition.

Lieutenant-Colonel McFarland, of the 19th Iowa, was the only field officer on our side who was killed.