THE 157TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE BATTLE OF PEA RIDGE
The war was young in the Spring of 1862. On the night of March 5th Confederate soldiers under the command of General Earl Van Dorn bedded down on snow covered ground at Elm Springs, Arkansas. The next morning the Southern army was on the way north to Bentonville in an attempt to catch a large Union force under General Franz Sigel by surprise. It was there around the Bentonville Town Square that the first shots of what would become the largest battle west of the Mississippi River were fired. For the next two days the two armies would confront each other in the Ozark foothills east of Bentonville. One of those hills named Pea Ridge would give the battle it historic name. During the first few hours of the violent combat, three Confederate Generals were lost ... two of them killed (Ben McCulloch and James McIntosh) and one captured (Louis Hebert) Early in the afternoon another Confederate General was shot dead (William Slack). Despite the devastating loss to its leadership, the Southern Army followed remaining generals Sterling Price and Henry Little to push the Union troops off the wooded hills and block the Wire Road which led back to the Federal base in Missouri. The Union commander, General Samuel Curtis gathered his artillery batteries in front of his infantry on the morning of March 8th and waited for the what he thought would surely be another Confederate attack. After a moderate shelling from the Southern artillery batteries ended, the expected Confederate Infantry attack failed to materialize. Sensing a timidness on Van Dorn's part, General Curtis turned his cannons loose on the Southern troops. The Confederate batteries could not respond to the pounding because they had no ammunition to do so. In one of the Civil War's most crucial blunders General Van Dorn's ordinance train had wandered off miles from the battlefield. The Confederates had no choice but to retreat, leaving the field to the victorious Union Army.
Of the over 10,000 Union soldiers and more than 15,000 Confederate soldiers engaged in the Battle of Pea Ridge..... the North lost 1,300 and the South lost 2,100 Killed & Wounded. Both armies would soon move east of the Mississippi where even larger and more deadly battles would be waged. Arkansas would become fertile ground for Southern Partisan Rangers, Union Missouri Raiders and Outlaws with various loyalties and some whose only loyalty was mischief and greed. The people of Arkansas would suffer greatly.
PEA RIDGE NATIONAL BATTLEFIED PARK CELEBRATED THE 157TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE BATTLE OF PEA RIDGE ON MARCH 8TH & 9TH OF 2019.
Pictured Above.... Top Row * Union Artillery Re-enactor * Confederate 3rd Louisiana Infantry in action * Union Batteries. Bottom Row: * Tim Beck of 3rd Louisiana * 4th MO & 3rd Louisiana * Robert Serio in command of Confederate re-enactors for Pea Ridge and Wilson Creeks National Parks.
CLICK ON INDIVIDUAL IMAGES TO ENLARGE PHOTO
Text Sources - National Park Service , Historynet.com and Author's personal research
Photos & Text - Copyright - Travis L. Ayres
Travis L Ayres
Early 1970. 2am, on board the USS Regulus: We were still at sea but almost home... not close enough that I could see the lights of San Francisco but close enough that my old portable radio could pick up the AM signal of one of the city's Top-Forty radio stations. Soon after we reached "The States" and our home port of Alameda, I would be making the transition from Petty Officer 3rd Class to civilian- without- a- job. As my Navy days had dwindled down I had struggled with the decision of what career path I would take. It seemed logical to me to try Commercial Art (as Graphic Art was called back then) since I had been drawing since the time I learned what a pencil was and I knew I had some talent. There was only one other job that interested me and that was being a radio disc jockey. Unlike a possible career in Art, I had no clue if I had any potential talent to be an on-air broadcaster. Also, I had no clue how one would get into radio. Then as I sat there on the deck of my ship, I heard an unfamiliar song on that Frisco station. It was rock. It was country. It was Mississippi River Delta blues. It was "Proud Mary" by a new band, Creedence Clearwater Revival. . And as simple as that, when that song ended I knew I wanted to make my living playing that kind of music on the radio. For the next 35 years, that's exactly what I did. Thanks, John Fogerty.
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