|Gen. Earl Van Dorn, CSA|
He was in Pocahontas on February 22, 1862, when he learned that Springfield, Missouri, had fallen and that General Sterling Price's Missouri State Guard was retreating into Arkansas:
...I received dispatches on February 22, informing me that General Price had rapidly fallen back from Springfield before a superior force of the enemy, and was endeavoring to form a junction with the division of General McCulloch in Boston Mountains. For reasons which seemed to me imperative I resolved to go in person and take command of the combined forces of Price and McCulloch. - Gen. Earl Van Dorn, CSA, March 27, 1862.
With Van Dorn on hand to overrule any disputes that might arise from the long-standing bickering between Generals Price and McCulloch, the Confederate army would be ready to defend itself.
The Confederate commander had more in mind than just defense, however, and would prove it the next day. Although he was sick with fever, Van Dorn was as aggressive as ever and dreamed not just of defeating Curtis in Northwest Arkansas, but of taking Missouri and marching on St. Louis. This dream would lead him to undertake a bold gamble. He would show his hand in just five days at the Battle of Pea Ridge.
Be sure to check back tomorrow as I post on the Confederate army's advance to Pea Ridge. You can learn more about the battle anytime at www.exploresouthernhistory.com/pearidgeindex.