|Gen. Sterling Price, CSA|
National Park Service
The truth was that General Sterling Price was unwilling to sacrifice the lives of the men in the Missouri State Guard (CSA) in a battle he knew he could not win. As a result, he continued to move his army south down the Wire Road for Arkansas, but kept a strong rear guard in place to hold back any sudden move by the pursuing Federals.
|Flat Creek, Missouri|
They reached the crossing of Flat Creek to find that the fight was definitely not out of Price's Missourians:
...When they arrived here [i.e. Flat Creek] they were fired on by artillery and therefore made a stand until other forces came up. The little howitzers returned the fire of the enemy, and kept them at bay till I got heavier batteries in position and drove the enemy forward. The valley is very strong for the enemy, and I wonder he did not make a better stand. I am taking the straggling cattle for rations to-night, and will move on to Cassville at 4. - Gen. Samuel Curtis, USA, February 1862.
|Gen. Franz Sigel, USA|
Curtis was still having difficulty making contact with the second main column of his army led by General Franz Sigel. With little practical knowledge of that general's location and movements, Curtis expressed hope that they would meet soon:
I hope the force of your command is near me to-night. My men are living on meat, and have hardly time to cook it; but they seem eager to push forward, either to take Price or drive him out of the State. - Gen. Samuel Curtis to Gen. Franz Sigel, February 15, 1862.
Flat Creek township, it is interesting to note, was the childhood home of actor Don Johnson, famed for his roles in "Miami Vice" and numerous movies. On February 15, 1862, however, it was home to a sharp skirmish as General Sterling Price continued to fight delaying actions so his army could safely withdraw from Missouri into Northwest Arkansas.
I will continue to post on the 150th Anniversary of the Pea Ridge Campaign over coming days, so be sure to check back often. You can read more about the Battle of Pea Ridge anytime you like at www.exploresouthernhistory.com/pearidgeindex.