Monday, February 18, 2008
Dripping Springs, Part Three
Continuing with our tour of the Dripping Springs Battlefield north of Van Buren in Crawford County, Arkansas, we look today at the beginning of the fight. If you would like to read previous postings on this topic, just scroll down the page.
The Federal army under Generals Blunt and Herron reached Oliver's Store early on the morning on December 28, 1862. Confederate General Hindman had ordered that a cavalry picket be maintained in the Oliver's area, but the Federals saw no sign of them.
They did quickly learn, however, that Lt. Col. R.P. Crump (C.S.) was camped nearby at Dripping Springs with his regiment, the 1st Texas Partisan Rangers. Upon learning of Crump's presence, the two Union generals formed 3,000 cavalrymen and four howitzers and pushed on to attack the Confederates.
As they advanced, the Federals quickly began to spot Confederate pickets. Skirmishing was minimal, however, as the advancing cavalrmen pushed on and soon came down the road seen above and approached the Southern camp at Dripping Springs.
Learning from his scouts that the Union troops were coming, Lt. Col. Crump formed his regiment in a line of battle and sent word down to General Thomas C. Hindman on the Arkansas River, warning him of the impending attack.
As the Federals arrived on the scene, they quickly observed the Confederate battle line and formed a line of their own. General Blunt sent word back to the main body at Oliver's Store, directing that additional infantry and artillery be pushed forward. Without waiting for these reinforcmeents, however, the Union troops prepared to attack.
For more on the Battle of Dripping Springs, watch for my next few posts. In the meantime, you can read about the battle and see more photographs of the battlefield by going to http://www.exploresouthernhistory.com/ and clicking the "Battlefields and Forts" link on the upper left hand side of the page.