Saturday, May 7, 2011

General Van Dorn & The Battle Of Pea Ridge

 Photo of Elkhorn Tavern on the battleground taken during our 2010 visit

From The Blue and The Gray (Volume One)  by Henry Steele Commager:

The Tide Turns At Pea Ridge (Elkhorn Tavern)

In December he (Halleck) sent Pope out with greatly strengthened forces to restore Union control of Northern and central Missouri. Price had retreated to Springfield; he now moved southward to Arkansas where he was joined by Ben McCulloch with a force that included some 5,000 Indians from the Five Civilized Nations. Their combined force numbered over 20,000, and was under the command of General Van Dorn. After him went General Samuel Curtis. The two armies meat at Pea Ridge, Arkansas, at the southernmost tip of the Ozarks. With almost a two-to-one superiority Van Dorn thought it safe to divide his army and try an attack from front and rear.

He was wrong.

General Earl Van Dorn never had the confidence of his troops after the Battle of Pea Ridge. He was murdered by a jealous husband some 14 months after he lost the battle and the hearts of his troops (May 7, 1863).

Note:  Earl Van Dorn's mother was President Andrew Jackson's niece, Sophia Donelson Caffery.  Sophia was the daughter of Mary Donelson and John Caffery.  Mary Donelson was the sister of Rachel, Mrs. Andrew Jackson.

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