Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Battle of Cane Hill, Part Six
This is part six of a series on the Battle of Cane Hill, Arkansas. To read the previous posts first, please scroll down the page.
From their position on the mountain dividing the Cane Hill settlements from the Cove Creek Valley, the Confederates could see the ground across which Blunt's Union Army was approaching. Gen. Marmaduke described the scene here in his official report:
Immediately on top of the mountain I had a part of Colonel Thompson’s command, under Major [M.W.] Smith, formed to receive the enemy, and a little to the rear of Smith, on the right, I had one company of Elliott’s scouts, commanded by Captain martin. Smith and Martin calmly awaited the coming of the enemy, and as they came charging up the hill in solid columns, they poured a deadly fire on them, which sent them staggering down the mountain. By this time I had other detachments formed but a short distance in the rear (Smith and Martin falling back and loading), who fired on them with much effect, being in easy gun-shot. Martin, having his men ready and formed, delivered once more a terrible fire, but in doing so this brigade suffered a terrible loss in the death of the gallant and heroic Martin. He fell, as he lived, fighting for his home and fireside, “with his back to the field and his feet to the foe.”
The hillside fight was among the toughest fighting of the day, but the Federals used their overwhelming superiority of numbers to push their way up the mountain. Marmaduke used a staggered defense to defend the hillside, pulling back each line to the reinforcement of the next as the Federals advanced. Finally, though, the battle reached the crest where the final Confederate line had been formed along both sides of the Cove Creek Road.
Our series will continue, but until the next post you can read more by visiting www.exploresouthernhistory.com/ARCaneHill.