Thursday, April 3, 2008

Battle of Cane Hill, Conclusion

This is the ninth and concluding post in a series on the Battle of Cane Hill, Arkansas. To read the previous posts first, please scroll down the page or check the archives section.
This photograph was taken on the Cove Creek Road at the site of the final fighting of the Battle of Cane Hill, Arkansas.
After he brought his men down from the mountain, Gen. Marmaduke turned south on the Cove Creek Road and moved a short distance to a point where the road ran through a very narrow space between the creek and the steep mountain bluffs overlooking it. The position was an ideal place for an ambush and Marmaduke was quick to take advantage of it.
Leaving a portion of his command to draw the Federals on, he formed a large body of men here and planted his artillery in a masked position. The Union cavalry fell for the trap. Blunt described the ambush in his official report:
The charge continued for about half a mile down the valley, to a point where it converged in a funnel shape, terminating in a narrow defile. At this point a large body of the enemy were in ambush in front and upon the flanks, where cavalry could not approach, with their battery also masked in front. As soon as the party we were pursuing had passed through the defile, they opened upon us a most destructive fire, which, for the moment, caused my men to recoil and give back, in spite of my own efforts and those of other officers to rally them; whereas, if they had, after receiving the enemy’s fire, passed on 200 or 300 yards, we would have secured, in a moment more, what we so much coveted – the enemy’s artillery. Emboldened by their success in defending the defile and checking our advance, they raised a wild yell and advanced toward us.
The final fighting soon ended, however, with both sides pulling back from the point of the ambush. White flags went forward and an agreement was reached to remove the dead and wounded from the field and the Battle of Cane Hill came to a close. The two sides would fight again just nine days later at the Battle of Prairie Grove.
The site of the Battle of Cane Hill today stretches across more than one dozen miles of countryside around the community of Cane Hill. A marker stands on Highway 45 and the Cane Hill College site is open to the public. Please respect private property in the area if you decide to visit.

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