Thursday, March 7, 2013

Battle of Pea Ridge, March 6, 7, 8, 1862

The Battle of Pea Ridge (also known as Elkhorn Tavern) was a land battle of the Civil War, fought on March 6–8, 1862, at Pea Ridge in northwest Arkansas.

Union forces led by General Samuel Curtis moved south from central Missouri, driving Confederate forces into northwestern Arkansas.  Confederate General Earl Van Dorn reorganized the Confederate army and launched a counter-offensive, hoping that a victory would enable the Confederates to recapture northern Arkansas and Missouri. In a two–day battle, Curtis held off the Confederate attack on the first day and drove Van Dorn's force off the field on the second day.

The outcome of the battle essentially cemented Union control of Missouri and northern Arkansas. The battle was one of the few during the war in which a Confederate army outnumbered its Union opponent.

The battlefield at Pea Ridge is now Pea Ridge National Military Park, founded in 1956. The park is known as one of the best preserved Civil War battlefields. The park also includes a 2.5-mile (4-km) section of the Trail of Tears.  

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