Wednesday, February 1, 2012

February 2, 1862 - Curtis reported at Lebanon, Missouri

Gen. Samuel Curtis, U.S.A.
National Archives
As the initial movements of the Pea Ridge Campaign continued to take shape, a report datelined Rolla 150 years ago today indicated that Union General Samuel Curtis had reached Lebanon, Missouri.
Lebanon was a midpoint between the previous Union headquarters in Rolla and the position of Confederate General Sterling Price's Missouri State Guard in Springfield. The Union army was now reported to be within 55 miles of the latter city:

...Reliable information from Lebanon says that Gen. Curtis is now in that place, and the number of troops there is constantly increasing. It is doubtless his intention to remain at that place till all his forces arrive, which will be several days yet, as some of them have not started. A considerable number of them are under orders to march this morning, and probably within two or three days all that are going will have departed. - Unidentified Correspondent writing from Rolla, Missouri, February 2, 1862.

Rumors continued to drift north through Missouri that Price's command at Springfield had been reinforced by 12,000 Confederate troops from Arkansas. Some believed such reports, but the correspondent writing from Rolla on February 2nd noted that most did not.

A much bigger concern was caused by high water in the rivers flowing through Southwest Missouri. Flood conditions were causing delays in the movement of both supplies and men:

...The roads between this place [i.e. Rolla] and Lebanon are almost impassable. Fifty teams are said to be on this side of the Gasconade river, waiting for the water to subside.

The report concluded with a note that the main body of the Third Missouri Cavalry (U.S.) had reached Rolla. A couple of companies were still coming up. The regiment, it was noted, would be attached to the division of General Franz Sigel.

I will continue to post on the Pea Ridge Campaign over coming days and weeks, so be sure to check back often. You can read more about the Battle of Pea Ridge anytime at

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