Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Battle of Cane Hill, Part Seven
This is part seven of a series on the Battle of Cane Hill, Arkansas. To read the previous posts first, please scroll down the page.
This photograph shows the old Cove Creek Road on the Cane Hill Battlefield at the point it crests the ridge dividing the Cane Hill communities from the Cove Creek Valley.
The final Confederate line on the mountain was formed along the crest on both sides of the road and intense fighting took place here.
According to Gen. Blunt, his men pushed toward the crest and encountered fierce resistance:
The resistance of the rebels was stubborn and determined. The storm of lead and iron hail that came down the side of the mountain, both from their small-arms and artillery, was terrific; yet most of it went over our heads without doing us much damage. The regiments just named, with a wild shout rushed up the steep acclivity, contesting every inch of ground, and steadily pushed the enemy before them, until the crest was reached when the rebels again fled in disorder.
The general's description of the Confederates fleeing in disorder probably appeared that way to him, but it was actually pretty typical of the way Marmaduke fought the battle. The Southern troops were outnumbered more than 2 to 1, so the Confederate general fought the Battle of Cane Hill as a massive delaying action. He would put his men into strong positions, fight, but then as the overwhelming Union army neared the point of being able to overwhelm his lines, Marmaduke would withdraw to another point and reform to fight again.
He did this throughout the day and it proved an effective strategy as it forced the Federals to fight for every inch of ground they gained, but did not endanger the operational safety of Marmaduke's much smaller force.
Our series on Cane Hill will continue tomorrow, but until then you can read more by visiting www.exploresouthernhistory.com/ARCaneHill. The site includes more photographs, an in depth account of the battle and transcriptions of both Union and Confederate official reports.