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few moments after the scout left a rebel Capt. and soldier, rode up
spoke to Archer not having any idea that there were any Feds
about But Archer supprised them by inviting them to dismount
and fork over what arms they had, which they did and were taken
back to Cane Hill prisoners. The rebels had this road picketed
and we being between their pickets and camp took them prisoners
as we came up to them and took them to Cane Hill. About eleven
oclock we arrived at Evansville where we halted fed our horses
and killed hogs roasted meat and eat dinner then mounted and
went to Cane Hill arriving there at four oclock P. M. having marched
about seventy miles in twenty six hours.

In the afternoon of the 4th of Dec. Cos A, D, I and K were sent
out on another scout under command of Capt Russell seperating
at the grand guard as before Cos A, and D, taking the ridge road
under command of Lieut Moore but arriving at the descent of the
mountain discovered the enemies camp in the valley Then they
formed a line and watched them some time then went back to camp.
But Capt Russel had not returned Gen. Blunt could not believe
that the enemy were advancing and sent the same Cos. back the
next morning under command of Capt Moore. When we arrived
at the mountain the enemy had stationed their pickets and we
driving them in formed our line in sight of their camp and they
sent up a regiment of cavalry and we fell back our rear guard
skirmishing with their advance for five miles when they gave up
the pursuit. We arrived at camp about dark.

Early the morning of the 6th fifty men were detailed to go out
to the pickets with the howitzers we were to arrive at the picket
post by daylight. Capt. Cameron was in command and having
one of his parades delayed starting until nearly daylight. We met
the pickets near the foot of the mountain As Gen. Blunt had
anticipated the enemy had attacked them at daylight and driven
them in On meeting them we halted and retreated half a mile
formed a line but no enemy approached The 2nd & 3rd brigades
were called out and formed a line two miles to the rear of us The
llth brigade was sent back to guard the train which was at Rheas


Mills. About nine oclock we advanced to the foot of the mountain
and the enemy were seen on its top. Here we remained until
two in the afternoon occassionally exchanging shots with the enemy
Col. Bassett came up with the regiment at noon.

At two oclock Capt Crawford took Co. A, and went up to see
what force the enemy had there We dismounted and went up as
skirmishers sheltering ourselves as much as possible behind trees
and arrived at the top with out discovering any enemy then kept
on about thirty rods when we saw about a dozen fired on them
and they retreated one of them had a flag he got behind a
tree and waved it at us and then put spurs to his horse and was
out of sight in a moment We now halted and in a few minutes
fell back to the top of the mountain and formed an ambush ex-
pecting the enemy to soon return Capt Crawford sent back for
a Co of infantry to come up and relieve us Co H of the Eleventh
came up and took our place and we went back and mounted and
went back to the rest of the regiment which was nearly a half mile
from the foot of the mountain Soon after Co. I was sent up dis-
mounted and the Infantry Co. came back

We remained here in this position about an hour when we knew
by the firing on the mountain that the enemy were advancing and
the infantry Co was sent back and Co A and D of the 2nd were
sent up soon after We dismounted leaving our horses about half
way up the mountain Co D went to the right a report having
came in that the enemy were flanking us there Co A went up and
went in among those that were there every man sheltering him-
self as much as possible behind rocks and trees I fired one shot
to the flagbearer and the flag dropped just then but was caught
by another man and I think I must have hit him or his horse
by the time I got my gun loaded again orders were given to reserve
our fire by Capt Crawford who saw that they were about to charge
and soon they did charge on us we poured a deadly fire into thier
ranks and then retreated down the mountain and very fast at that
Albert L. Payne a private in Co A was severely wounded but suc-
ceeded in getting down the mountain and was sent to the hospital
immediately One of the Eleventh was severely wounded also.

The enemy charged to the top of the mountain and halted and
poured a shower of buckshot after us but with little effect and
occasionally a rifle ball would pass After this we went down the
mountain and did not go up any more that night as it was sundown
now we fell back about a half a mile and remained till after dark


and then fell back across a field staying there some time A few
companies of the Eleventh coming here we fell still father back
and halted a short time after which we were allowed to go back
to camp and get some supper

We fed our horses at camp but did not unsaddle expecting
orders to go back in a short time but we did not go till about
three oclock the next morning At that time we mounted and
went out to where the Cove Creek road and the ridge road sepe-
rate halted there built fires and got warm and then Co A was sent
down the ridge road to guard it We went about a mile and
halted and remained there till daylight While there we heard
the heavy rumbling of artilery and tread of cavalry on the other
road and we supposed that they would attack us early in the

[Battle of Prairie Grove, December 7, 1862 29 ]

At daylight we went back to the other road but we were sent
back to the same place again Soon after Co C was on another
road still father to our right The rest of the regiment and Cos
D, F and H of the Eleventh were guarding the Cove Creek road.
About nine oclock we heard cannonading several miles northeast
of us and it continued some time About ten oclock we recieved
orders to fall back and we went back This regiment was the rear
guard leaving Cane Hill and we marched on at a common gait
till we got within a mile of Rheas mill when we again heard can-
nonading to our right and each regiment turned to the right and
marched on double quick in that direction This was about one
oclock and by two were close upon the enemy The road we
traveled over was bad enough at any time but it was at this time

29. Of this major engagement, near Fayetteville, General Blunt, on December 8,
reported: "This place [Prairie Grove], on yesterday, was the scene of a hard-fought
and bloody field, resulting in a complete victory to the Army of the Frontier. The rebel
forces, under Generals Hindman, Marmaduke, Parsons, and Frost, numbered 25,000. My
whole force in the field did not exceed 8,000. I had been holding the enemy on the
Boston Mountains for two days . . . holding them in check until General Herron
could come up with re-enforcements.

"On the 7th, they . . . commenced a flank movement on my left during the
night . . . Their object was to cut off communication between myself and General
Herron . . . They attacked General Herron at about 10 a. m., who, by gallant and
desperate fighting, held them in check for three hours, until I came up and attacked
them in the rear. The fighting was desperate on both sides, and continued until it was
terminated by the darkness of the night. . . . the enemy . . . availed them-
selves of the night to retreat across the Boston Mountains. The loss on both sides has
been heavy. . . . The enemy's loss, compared with ours, is at least four to one.
My artillery made terrible destruction in their ranks. They had greatly the advantage in
numbers and position, yet Generals Marmaduke and Hindman acknowledged to me, in
an interview under a flag of truce, that they had been well whipped. ." Ibid.,

pp. 69, 70.

The rebel casualties were placed at 1,000 killed and nearly 2,000 wounded The
union losses were: 175 killed, 800 wounded and over 260 missing. Ibid., pp. 76, 83, 86.


so crowded that in some places it was nearly impossible to get

When at the scene of action we came very near rushing up to
the rebel army thinking it was our own The rebels were in a
thick grove of small timber the trees being from four inches to a
foot in diameter The rebel Gens intention was to get in our rear
and capture our train. And willie Col. [Charles A.] Carroll with
his cavalry regiment was making fients on Cane Hill while he and
his army took another road which lead to Fayetteville This road
has been guarded by the Sixth Kansas but by some mistake they
had been drawn off for a few hours and the rebel army allowed to
pass The meeting of Gen Herron 30 and the enemy was unexpected
by Gen Herron. His advance guard had stoped to feed and on the
enemy charging up to them threw them into confusion immedi-
ately About two hundred were taken prisoners and the regiment
they belonged to the Arkansas First lost thier train Gen. Herron
succeeded in getting the rest of his men into line and the battle
comenced And they fought till after Gen Blunt got there with his
division In this battle Gen Herron showed himself to be a brave
and efficient officer and the men under his command done thier
part nobly

When we found out the position of the rebels we turned to the
left and went down into a large cornfield leaving the infantry
just at the edge of the timber where they formed a line to be ready
to recieve the enemy Hopkins and Rabbs batteries were placed
on the left where they could see the rebel battery and they opened
fire upon it and soon silenced it Aliens battery was placed on on
the right I[t] was but a short time before the infantry were en-
gaged and the 2nd Kansas were dismounted and went forward in
line passed the tenth and went up and some of us formed on the
right of the Eleventh Two Cos E and H formed on the left of the
Eleventh and were under command of Capt Crawford three
companies of the 2nd A C and G were on the right of the Eleventh
but did not have any field officer over them each Co acting inde-
pen[den]tly Where Col. Bassett was I do not know At least
he was not there

Soon the enemy advanced on us again and after we had com-
menced firing the Tenth came up and formed on our right The
timber where we were was clear of underbrush but in advance
of us where the enemy [was] the underbrush was thick and it

30. Brig. Gen. Francis J. Herron, at this time, commanded the third division of the
Army of the Frontier which was headed by Brig. Gen. John M. Schofield.


made it difficult for us to see them We did not fire by volleys
but each man fired when he saw some enemy to shoot at and
the enemy fired in the same manner After we had been engaged
some time Col Weir came along on foot swearing it was our own
men that we were firing on so we reserved our fire for a few
moments but they kept firing on us whenever they had a good
opportunity We soon found out that it was the enemy that were
firing on us and then our men rushed forward sheltering them-
selves as much as possible behind trees and opened a brisk fire
on them and kept it up some time Joseph Ballance of Co A
was severely wounded in the breast about this time and was
carried of [f] the field

We kept up this fire till about sundown when the enemy being
largely reinforced charged forward in line and we were compeled
to fall back the infantry into the field but we went back to our
horses and mounted but remained in line The enemy advanced
to the edge of the field and then our batteries opened thier fire
with shell and kept it up till dark The enemy got one battery into
position on our right and commenced firing at us with shell One
came just over the right of Co. A and passing over us struck a
horse in Co. C not more than sixty paces behind us killing him
instantly but did not hurt the rider We then moved back some
distance. Aliens battery opened on the rebel battery and soon
silenced it and they moved it away

At dark the firing ceased as if by mutual consent We fell
back about a mile from the position of the enemy and lay down for
the night The infantry stacked arms and lay down near them
the cavalry went and got corn fed thier horses but did not un-
saddle and the horses were kept in line as near as possible till
morning We lay down near our horses but did not sleep very
sound The night was cold and not one of us were allowed to
build a fire

About eleven oclock Lieut Johnson came and waked four of us
up to go out with him to discover the position of the enemy and
gave us instructions that if we ran into the enemy and got scat-
tered to make the best of our way back to camp We went at
first directly towards the enemy but when we got about half way
acrossed the field we turned to the right and went about a mile
still getting closer to the enemy and then turned around and came
back about a quarter of a mile from the timber and paralell to it
We came back to near where Rabb had his battery at dark and
then turned towards our army Just as we turned back we heard


sounds like artilery moving but in what direction we could not
tell The enemy were probably still on the field at least it had that
apearance On our road back we saw two men horseback and an
ambulance but not knowing whether they were ours or not we
struck the gallop towards them and they supposing we were the
enemy turned to the right and run thier horses and mules as fast
as possible towards our army and by that we concluded they
were our own men and so they proved We went strait along in-
stead of turning towards our army as they did but bringing our
horses to a walk soon went to camp On ariving at our army Lieut.
Johnston went to headquarters to report and the ambulance having
arived before him. The driver reported that he had been driven
in by the enemy who came near overtaking him We went back
to our places and lay down About two oclock Nugent came and
waked me up to have me go with the ambulances under a flag
of truce to gather up the wounded but after I told him I had
been out once before and he then excused me

The next morning we got up at daylight mounted and moved
back into the timber and built fires An armistice had been asked
for by Gen Hindman till 6 oclock P. M. but which was not granted
till that time but a short armistice was allowed During this time
Gen's Blunt and Herron met the rebel Gen. [Thomas C.] Hindman
under a flag of truce and at first Hindman claimed the victory but
Gen Blunt told him that he would have to fight it over again and
Gen Blunt said his force would be ready in fifteen minutes and
Gen. Hindman rather than fight it over acknowledged himself
whiped but said the day would come when his army would be
victorious Giving as a reason why his army was whiped that his
army was less in number to the army of Gen Blunt and Herron
and then Gen Herron told him he would fight him man for man
he would take five hundred one thousand or he would take his body
guard against the same number of rebels and fight him and if that
would not do he would fight him by himself but Gen Hindman
declined this offer

About nine oclock one days rations were brought to us of bacon
and hard bread We not having any thing to eat since the night
before the battle About noon it was acertained that the enemy
were on the full retreat leaving thier dead on the field and many
of the wounded were left in our possesion nearly every house
having more or less of them We amedately took possession of the
field after learning that the enemy were on the retreat The 2nd
Kansas were sent about one mile from the field and camped for


the night A detail was made out for a scout of fifty men and we
were ready a little before sundown and went at first back to
Rheas mill and then took the ridge road for Cane Hill and went to
that place but saw nothing of the enemy We stayed at Cane Hill
about half an hour and then went back the same way we came
getting back to camp about four oclock in the morning we lay
down by the fire and slept till daylight

The loss of the enemy at the battle of Prairie Grove was four
hundred and fifty killed and about fifteen hundred wounded Thier
own report was sixteen hundred and fifty in killed and wounded
Some of our reporters place the enemies loss at twenty five hundred
Our loss was about five hundred killed and wounded most of which
were in Herrons division Two companies of this regiment E
K lost eighteen killed and wounded Capt [Avra P.] Russell of
Co. K was mortally wounded and has since died The loss of the
other Co that were engaged was but slight One in Co. A was
severely wounded but not mortally

The ninth of Dec we went into camp at Rheas mill pitched
tents and got us some thing to eat once more The first night in
camp I was so nearly worn out that I could not sleep well not
having slept any of any consequence for the three nights previous
The next day we stayed in camp all day The Tenth [llth?] we
went to Carie Hill once more and camped the same place we were
when we were there before While on our road to that [place]
we met several secesh ambulances which were going to the battle
field after the wounded they were under a flag of truce

Nearly every house in Cane Hill has wounded in and flags of
truce come in nearly every day At first we were obliged to issue
rations to thier wounded but after a few days they sent in rations
for them Our sick and wounded were sent to Fayetteville A. L.
Payne and J. Balance were sent there and five that were sick of
Co A were sent there also M. Stern was sent to take care of them
The Second and Third brigades occupied Cane Hill after the battle
but did not have near as much duty to do as when we were here
before The details for forage and picket are by companies so
that it is not near as hard on the privates as when details are made
from every company for these purposes

Dec twentieth Go's A and D were detailed for a scout and were
under command of Capt. Crawford We started with one days ra-
tions at daylight and taking the Cove Creek road went down as far
as Oliver's store met two flags of truce one which was bringing



in provisions for the wounded and the other had despaches for Gen
Blunt The first one was inside the picket before we met it the
other was near Oliver The last one we met was just as we were
turning a bend in the road and we were as near as fifty paces be-
fore seeing one another We then kept on till as near as twenty
paces when both parties halted and the flag bearer first saluted
first with his hand and then lowered the flag Lieut [John M.]
Mencer who was in command of the advance guard returned the
salute with his hand and then rode up to the flag bearer and asked
for what purpose the flag was sent in and on being answered sent
it back to Capt. Crawford who was at the head of the column
and Capt. Crawford allowed them to go on towards camp We
saw nothing of the enemy at Oliver but some of the inhabitants
said there was a rebel picket one mile father on but as no confidence
could be placed in what they said Capt Crawford did not think
it best to go any father so we started back towards camp

The Valley of Cove creek had the apearance of having been
occupied by large bodies of troops very recently Signs of camp
could be seen nearly all of the way from our picket to Oliver a
distance of eighteen miles There was no forage on the road and
rebel horses suffered in consequences Every tree that had horses
tied to them had the bark knawed of [f] even walnut trees had the
bark knawed of[f] by them grape vines two and three inches
in diameter were knawed clear off We came back by the ridge
road but had a very steep mountain to ascend and on getting to the
top found ourselves at the same place where we were on the fifth
of this month when the enemy were camped in the valley below
This mountain is so steep as to make it nearly impossible for two
good horses to pull an empty wagon up Nothing more of im-
portance occured before we got to camp except that the advanced
pickets got frightened at our advance and fell back on the main
body of the picket but no shots were fired We arrived at camp
about nine oclock P. M. having rode almost incessantly since day-
light and our horses and ourselves were fatigued very much.

[March to Van Buren, Ark., December 27-28, 1862]

Dec 26 we recieved orders to be ready at seven oclock A M the
morning of the 27th with three days rations of bread, meat and so
forth and a peck of shelled corn on our horses and three days rations
in the wagon to march from Cane Hill Cane Hill is the name of
a coledge situated about a mile from Boonsboro but most of the
Federal soldiers nearly all call both the town and college Cane


Hill it was formerly a thriving place but the war has left its
mark The inhabitants were almost to a unit secesh but have
nearly all left now There are about four hundred and fifty
wounded secesh in the different hospitals at Cane Hill

We left Cane Hill the morning of the twen[ty] seventh equiped
according to orders and marched towards Van Buren This was
a general movement of the whole army and our object proved to
be to take Van Buren and Fort Smith from the rebels The first
division went in advance, in the following order the Kansas 2nd
was the advance guard for the main army then the rest of the third
brigade under Col Cloud the 2nd brigade under Col Weer. We
had no skirmishing on the first days march the advance halted
about a mile north of Olivers store and rested till morning At
daylight the next morning we started on passed Olivers store
and took the Van Buren road which led down [?] creek about
half a mile and then went up the mountain Gen Herron arrived at
Olivers store a few minutes after we arived but halted till our di-
vision had passed and then fell in behind us They came down
on the telegraph road from the battleground . . .

[There is a brief gap in the manuscript here, the account lacking
only a part of the events of December 28, 1862. According to the
official military history, the Second Kansas cavalry "moved rapidly
forward" on the 28th, "met the enemy's pickets sixteen miles from
Van Buren, drove them back, and met a regiment of Texas cavalry
at Dripping Springs. At this place Lieutenant Colonel Bassett was
ordered, with six squadrons, by Brigadier General Herron to make
a detour to the right, and gain a road two or three miles further west,
which caused him to enter Van Buren half an hour behind the ad-
vance. Captain Moore, in command of the other three squadrons,
maintained the advance into Van Buren, and supported by a regi-
ment of Missouri cavalry, drove the Texas regiment, before re-
ferred to, into and through Van Buren, and captured their baggage
train, consisting of twenty-five wagons; the entire advance under
Colonel Cloud:'

Osbornes narrative picks up the story again as the Texans are
being driven out of Van Buren.]

. . . two men but were soon compelled to retreat again This
stand was made to save their train which was just ahead of them
They retreated through Log Town to Van Buren We charged
after them until we arrived at the top of the hill over looking Van
Buren where we halted and waited for the rest of the regiment
We had expected to have a battle here. The streets apeared very


quiet and the cavalry we had been pursuing was galloping down
the river below town and entering the woods were out of sight
in a few moments. Three steamers could be seen on the river one
was ferrying troops across the river the others were going down
the river

Col. Cloud soon ordered a charge and we charged through the
town and down to the steamer which was being used as a ferry
boat and dismounted and commenced firing into her and she soon
hoisted the white flag the rebel soldiers who were on board
jumped of [f] and swam to the shore and escaped The rebel Gen.
Sharpe [?] was on board and got a ducking with the rest. Leav-
ing a guard with this steamer Col. Cloud took the rest of his men
and went down the river after the rebel train.

About four miles below Van Buren we came in sight of the
steamer Key West she was on a sand bar and was easily captured
and a guard left with her and Col. Cloud kept on after the train
which he captured two miles father down A few moments after
he left, the steamer Rose Douglass came in sight we having passed
her coming down She was hailed and ordered to land which she

Online LibraryKansas State Historical SocietyThe Kansas historical quarterly (Volume 20) → online text (page 24 of 76)