Monday, January 16, 2012

The Confederate Army in Northwest Arkansas - January 1862

Col. Louis Hebert
3rd Louisiana Infantry Regiment
January of 1862 (150 years ago) found Northwest Arkansas under the command of Colonel Louis Hebert of the 3rd Louisiana Infantry.

General Ben McCulloch had gone to Richmond leaving Hebert in charge of the small army of around 4,000 men in Northwest Arkansas. From his headquarters at Fayetteville, Hebert reported in January that his men were in winter quarters. His cavalry, he noted, was in bad condition due to sickness. Subsequent Union reports would indicate that he did a good job of overseeing the hospitals of his command and that they were well equipped with mattresses, etc.

To the north of Hebert, General Sterling Price still held Springfield but was growing extremely concerned about the advancing Federal forces of General Samuel Curtis. The Union commander was determined to drive Price out of Missouri and into Arkansas. A critical situation was developing in the Trans-Mississippi and everyone there knew it.

Headquarter's House
A surviving war era home in Fayetteville, Arkansas
According to Hebert, large wagon trains carrying supplies were moving north across the Boston Mountains from Fort Smith during January, supplies that were desperately needed by Price's "Missouri State Guard." Because of the condition of his cavalry, he asked Price to send mounted troops to escort the supply trains from Northwest Arkansas north to Springfield. He also notified Price that he was prepared to move to his support should the Federal army begin moving on Springfield from Rolla, Missouri.

The stage was being set for two great armies to meet on the Ozark Plateau at a place called Pea Ridge. Price and Hebert would figure prominently in the coming battle, as would the Union commander General Curtis. The fight was just seven weeks away.

I will continue posting on the events leading up to the Battle of Pea Ridge over coming days, so be sure to check back regularly. You can also learn more about the battle by visiting

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