Monday, December 6, 2010

Battle of Reed's Mountain, Arkansas - December 6, 1862

Original Road over Reed's Mountain
Today (December 6th) is the 148th anniversary of the Battle of Reed's Mountain, the final preliminary fight to the Battle of Prairie Grove, the anniversary of which is tomorrow.

Following the Battle of Cane Hill one week earlier, Union General James G. Blunt had kept his division at Cane Hill. The other division of the Army of the Frontier was in southern Missouri and Confederate General Thomas Hindman saw an opportunity in the miles that separated the two wings of his enemy's army. If he could push north rapidly and place his own army between the two Federal divisions, he might be able to destroy each individually before they could unite and outnumber him.

Driving north through the Boston Mountains, he struck the Cove Creek Road in northern Crawford County and crossed into Washington County on the morning of December 6, 1862. Aware that a small force of Union soldiers had been at the intersection of the Cove Creek and Cane Hill roads, to watch for Confederate movements, Hindman ordered Colonel J.C. Monroe to advance ahead of the main army and drive the Federals over Reed's Mountain where they would not be able to see his main body as it came north. Reed's Mountain is a rugged slope that separates the Cane Hill (now spelled Canehill) area from the Cove Creek Valley.

Cove Creek Valley from Reed's Mountain
Monroe moved forward rapidly and attacked the Federal pickets, driving them up and over the crest of Reed's Mountain. Union reinforcements moved up and the two forces battled back and forth for the top of the mountain. The hard-fighting Arkansas cavalrymen of Monroe's brigade, however, kept the Federals on their side of the mountain and effectively screened the northward march of Hindman's main army.

The battle would pale in comparison to the vicious fighting that would take place the next day at the Battle of Prairie Grove, but it was highly significant as it allowed Hindman to slip past Blunt and put himself into position to deliver what he hoped would be a crushing defeat to the Federals in Northwest Arkansas.

Learn more about the battle at

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