Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Northern View of the Battle of Cane Hill, Arkansas

The following article appeared in newspapers across the North during the weeks after the Battle of Cane Hill and provides a good idea of how the Arkansas engagement was viewed by the families of Union soldiers:

Springfield, Mo., Nov. 29. - Gen. Blunt with 5,000 federals attacked and routed about 8,000 rebels under Gen. Marmaduke at Cane Hill, Arkansas, on the 20th killing 60 and driving the balance some 12 miles. Gen. Blunt telegraphs that the enemy is badly whipped, and will not probably venture North of the Boston Mountains again this winter, and as they have consumed all the subsistence in the valley of the Arkansas, they must soon retreat to Texas. (Wisconsin Weekly Patriot, December 6, 1862, p. 5).

Reports like this led Northerners to believe that General James G. Blunt had achieved a major victory at Cane Hill, a battle that actually would prove to be a significant but preliminary action to the major engagement at Prairie Grove on December 7, 1862.

In fact, the Confederate forces under General John S. Marmaduke had nowhere near 8,000 men and were actually outnumbered by Blunt's Federals. The fight actually took place on November 28, 1862, and did take place over miles of terrain, as reported by the dispatch from Springfield. Southern losses, however, were nowhere near 60 killed and the supposition by General Blunt that the campaign in Northwest Arkansas was over for the winter almost proved disastrous to him just nine days later.

To learn more about the Battle of Cane Hill, please visit The site includes photographs of the battlefield, Union and Confederate accounts of the battle and an in depth summary of what happened there.

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