|Edge of the Boston Mountains at Canehill|
Moving up the Cove Creek Road from the Dripping Springs area of Crawford County less than 24 hours after 600 Federals withdrew back across the mountains, Marmaduke emerged from the mountains at Cane Hill on November 24, 1862 (149 years ago today).
Combined, the three brigades under Marmaduke's command should have numbered well above 5,000 men, but this was not the case. A good example can be found in the reports of Colonel Charles A. Carroll's Arkansas Brigade. While his force on paper should have numbered some 1,700 men, Carroll had only 517. Of this number, in fact, only 200 were reported as "effective" while the remaining 317 were either sick or mounted on horses too worn down to be fit for service.
|Looking down into Cove Creek Valley|
It was a dangerous move to put a weak force within striking distance General James G. Blunt's Union Division in Northwest Arkansas, but Confederate commanders believed it to be a necessary one as they continued to prepare their full army for a move across the mountains.
Cane Hill (now spelled Canehill), which was occupied by Marmaduke's men on the night of the 24th, was then one of the most important communities in Northwest Arkansas. In the center of an agricultural area just above the mountains and about 20 miles southwest of Fayetteville, it was home to Cane Hill College, a mill and a small business community:
|Cane Hill College (Post-War Building)|
Each of the three Confederate brigades pitched camp in one of the three small villages at Cane Hill, with the northern-most camped near the Cane Hill College buildings. These positions taken, the Southern commanders pushed heavy patrols of their own north along the roads to look for any signs of Union forces in the area. Some minor skirmishing would take place the next day.
I will continue posting on the Prairie Grove Campaign over coming days, so be sure to check back through the holiday weekend for more. Until the next post, you can read more at www.exploresouthernhistory.com/ArkansasPG1.