Thursday, February 2, 2012

February 2, 1862 - "The snow here has been a foot deep"

Col. Louis Hebert, C.S.A.
The letter that follows was written by a Confederate soldier stationed at Camp Benjamin in Northwest Arkansas on February 2, 1862 (150 years ago today).
The man identified himself only as "T" and was probably a member of Colonel Louis Hebert's brigade.

Camp Benjamin, according to an account by Surgeon Washington L. Gammage of the Fourth Arkansas Infantry, was two miles southeast of Cross Hollows and two miles east of the main road connecting Fayetteville and Springfield in Benton County, Arkansas. Gamage described the camp as being in a "narrow, level valley, bounded on the north and south by a high range of hills, and supplied with an abundance of pure sparkling water by a mountain stream, which was of sufficient size to support a grist mill where the corn and wheat which the neighboring farms supplied in abundance."

The soldier's letter provides good insight to the mindset of Confederate soldiers in Northwest Arkansas during the early days of the Pea Ridge Campaign:

Thinking perhaps a line from this section might be acceptable, I write you a line from our lonely winter quarters. We are situated twenty miles east of Fayetteville, in a hollow, surrounded on all sides by high hills, and as freefrom any society except our own forces as we would be in the deserts of Arabia. The daily routine of camp duties is all there is to relieve our monotonous life. My duties confine me very close to my quarters.

We look for stirring times, however, on the opening of the spring campaign. Our General, McCulloch, has returned to command us, which gives universal satisfaction. It would have beeen a great misfortune to this brigade if Price's newspaper friends had succeeded in displacing our General. I fear our brigade would ahve been completely demoralized. McCulloch is beloved by officers and men, here, as a prudent, careful and brave officer, and those who know him best love him most.

Our regiment is looking forward with much interest to the time (17th May,) when we are to be permitted to see our friends at home once more. We are willing to "fight on, fight ever," as long as the war and life last; but we would like, if possible, to go home first.

The snow here has been a foot deep on a level the past week, and the weather intensely cold. To-day it is sleeting and raining by turns, while icicles hang from the eaves of our houses four feet long. We are in comfortable quarters. Three regiments being quartered here it looks like quite a village. The houses are built uniform, 18 by 36, two rooms in each, and about one hundred and fifty houses in all, laid out in regular streets and avenues, in military style, the regimental and staff forming a square at the head of each regiment.

The entire regiment is well clothed and healthy.

A marker for the Confederate camps at Cross Hollows is located at the corner of Cross Hollow Road and Old Wire Road, near Rogers and between Fayetteville and Bentonville. The actual hollow runs from just north of Lowell east into what is now Beaver Lake.

I will continue posting on the 150th anniversary of the Pea Ridge Campaign over coming days, so be sure to check back often. You can learn more about the Battle of Pea Ridge at

The map below shows you the Cross Hollows area as it appears today.

View Larger Map


Unknown said...

"Arkansas in the Civil War" has been included in this weeks Sites To See. I hope this helps to attract many new visitors here.

Gail said...

Jerry sent me.

I live close to the location of the Lunenburg Skirmish. I have a few postings from their reenactment.

Very interesting, I will return.

Dale Cox said...

Jerry, Thank you for the note. I actually visit your blog from time to time and love all the recommendations.


Dale Cox said...

Gail, Thank you very much for visiting! As you post things you think might be of interest, let me know and I'll be glad to let people know.