|Cove Creek Road|
As the infantrymen trudged north on the Cove Creek Road, which intersected with the Telegraph (Wire) Road at Oliver's, they knew a hard fight was coming. The urgency of the officers, the sudden move into the mountains, the rumors sweeping through the ranks all combined to create a buzz of both fear and anticipation among the men. They also knew enough of the country to know that the day's march would be a difficult one.
Hindman described the road taken by his force:
|Old Road from Morrow's Station to Cane Hill|
As discussed in yesterday's post, the Morrow's mentioned here should not be confused with the modern community of Morrow (a few miles southwest of Cane Hill). There was a community called Morrow's in existence at that site in 1862, but the Morrow's referred to by Hindman was actually Morrow's Station, a stop on the Cove Creek Road. The community of Newburg mentioned in his report was one of the three villages located along the Cane Hill ridge.
Marmaduke's cavalry division was moving up into the mountains well ahead of Hindman's man force, scouting for any sign of Federal activity. He reported his strength by brigade as: Carroll's (under Col. J.C. Monroe), 500 effective men, Shelby's (under Col. Jo. Shelby), 1,100 effective men and MacDonald's (under Col. Emmett MacDonald), 700 effective men. This put the total Confederate cavalry strength at around 2,300 men.
|Map showing key positions of Hindman's Advance|
Click Map to Enlarge
|Gen. John S. Marmaduke, C.S.A.|
Hindman had hoped to reach Morrow's with his infantry by the night of December 5, 1862. On paper this was a reasonable goal, as he estimated the distance from Oliver's store up the Cove Creek Road to that place to be around 15 miles, the standard day's march for an infantry force. The terrain, however, was much more difficult than he expected and his men were hungry, weak and unable to keep up the necessary pace. Instead of over-exerting them, he called a halt a few miles south of Morrow's and allowed his men to rest for the night.
The first heavy fighting of what would develop into the Battle of Prairie Grove would take place on Reed's Mountain between Morrow's Station and Cane Hill the next day.
I will continue posting on the Prairie Grove Campaign tomorrow. Until then, you can read more at www.exploresouthernhistory.com/ArkansasPG1.