Thursday, September 18, 2008
Battle of Poison Spring, Arkansas - Part Six
By the time the firing stopped at the Battle of Poison Spring, the scene was apocalyptic.
The Union forces had sustained losses estimated at 204 killed or missing and 97 wounded.
The Confederates also reported the capture of around 120 prisoners, only four of them black soldiers from the 1st Kansas Colored Infantry.
In addition, Southern troops took all four pieces of Union artillery, several hundred stand of small arms and 1,200 mules.
Of the wagons filled with supplies or stolen goods, the Confederates captured them all, although nearly 30 had to be abandoned and burned because they were either damaged or there were insufficient teams left to haul them away. Eyewitnesses on the scene reported that the wagons were filled with everything from corn to personal goods stolen from houses and even the meager possessions from slave cabins.
Confederate losses, by comparison, were small. Official reports listed 13 killed, 81 wounded and 1 missing. Although the disparity in losses is often used to demonstrate post-battle killings by Southern troops at Poison Spring, it should also be remembered that the Confederates had superior artillery on the ground and struck the Union line from both the front and flank.
Confederate troops pursued the retreating Federals for some distance from the battlefield, but were eventually halted by order of General Maxey who was more concerned with getting the massive haul of captured supplies to a safe position.
Our series on the Battle of Poison Spring, Arkansas will continue. Until the next post, you can read more by visiting www.exploresouthernhistory.com/poisonspring.