Friday, February 29, 2008
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Monday, February 18, 2008
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.
Sunday, February 17, 2008
The Battle of Devil's Backbone (sometimes called the Battle of Backbone Mountain) was fought on September 1, 1863 when Confederate Brig. Gen. W.L. Cabell took up a series of hidden positions behind natural stone breastworks on the Devil's Backbone, an imposing mountain south of Fort Smith. Union troops under Col. William F. Cloud of the 2nd Kansas Cavalry ran headlong into Cabell's ambush.
The resulting battle was noisy and intense, as each side poured artillery fire on the other, but casualties were relatively low. Despite some initial success, Cabell's chance for victory evaporated when most of his forces suddenly retreated from the field. (If you would like to learn more about the battle and see modern photographs of the battlefield, just click here and look for the link.)
This is really exciting news as it means that a portion of the critical historic site will be preserved for future generations.
By the way, if you are interested in learning more about the Civil War Round Table of Arkansas, they have a great website at http://www.civilwarbuff.com/.
This was the road followed by General J.G. Blunt's men as they pushed south from Cane Hill to a planned junction with General F.J. Herron's force at Oliver's Store north of Dripping Springs. Blunt's troops passed down this section of the road on the morning of December 27, 1862.
Although this photograph was taken during the summer, the 1862 movement was actually made in the dead of winter. Soldiers wrote in their journals and letters home that the mountains were covered with snow and ice and that Cove Creek was filled with freezing water and slushy ice.
Blunt and Herron undertook the expedition despite the severe weather in hopes of surprising the Confederate forces camped in and around Van Buren. A Confederate cavalry force was camped at Dripping Springs north of Van Buren to watch for such movements, but the advancing Federals did not encounter Southern horsemen until the next morning.
Our look at the Battle of Dripping Springs will continue, but in the meantime you can read more and see additional photographs by going to www.exploresouthernhistory.com and looking for the link under the Battlefields and Forts heading in the left hand column.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Having given their forces time to recover from the severe fight at Prairie Grove, Union commanders decided to push across the Boston Mountains in the dead of winter and strike at the Confederate forces on the Arkansas River at Van Buren. Following the tactical draw at Prairie Grove, General Thomas Hindman (C.S.) had pulled back to Van Buren and moved most of his battered forces across the river to camps around Fort Smith. A cavalry force was left a few miles north of Van Buren at Dripping Springs with orders to push scouts up the Cove Creek Road to watch for any movement by the Federal troops.
On December 27, 1862, despite cold weather, ice and snow, Union Generals Blunt and Herron left their camps at Prairie Grove, Rhea's Mill and Cane Hill with 8,000 men and 30 pieces of artillery. Herron came down the old Telegraph Road, while Blunt moved across Reed's Mountain from Cane Hill to the Cove Creek Road. Conditions were horrendous. Blunt's men were forced to splash through 33 crossings of Cove Creek (the road runs straight up the creek valley and is crossed many times by the winding waters of the creek). Herron's men had to pull their artillery over the mountain tops and ridges on the Telegraph Road, sometimes using as many as 50 men and 12 horses to pull single guns over the hills with ropes.
The two forces finally met at Oliver's Store, north of Dripping Springs, at 3 a.m. on the morning of December 28, 1862.
We'll continue our look at the Battle of Dripping Springs over the next few days. In the meantime, you can read more and see additional photos by going to www.exploresouthernhistory.com and looking the link under the "Battlefields and Forts" heading in the left had column.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Saturday, February 9, 2008
Thursday, February 7, 2008
Please consider either participating in a local relief effort or making a donation through the American Red Cross: http://www.redcross.org/news/ds/profiles/disaster_profile_southerntornados.html.
Thank you and may God bless you.
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Please remember them in your prayers and do what you can to help. One of the best ways to help in any disaster is to donate to the American Red Cross. You can send donations specifically to help with this disaster by following this link: http://www.redcross.org/news/ds/profiles/disaster_profile_southerntornados.html.
Thank you and God Bless you.
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
Monday, February 4, 2008
Sunday, February 3, 2008
Saturday, February 2, 2008
Although it contains a few inaccuracies, the map clearly illustrates a number of key locations around Fort Smith and Van Buren. Just south of Fort Smith, for example, is shown Massards' Prairie." Massard Prairie (sometimes spelled Mazzard or Muzzard) was the scene of a significant battle during the summer of 1864 that ended in one of the few overwhelming Confederate victories in Western Arkansas. The map also shows Fort Coffee, the old military post on the Arkansas River upstream from Fort Smith in the Choctaw Nation. Occupied at times by Confederate troops under Brig. Gen. Stand Watie, this fort was near present-day Spiro Mounds State Archaeological Park in eastern Oklahoma.