Scenic USA - Arkansas
Each day Scenic USA presents a new and interesting photo feature from somewhere in the United States. Chosen from a wide variety
of historic sites, city scenes, backcountry byways, points of interest and America's best parklands, this site offers the viewer hundreds
of unique vacation destinations and photographic subjects. Each feature is coupled with a brief explanation. For further detailed
information, links to other sites are provided, but are never to be considered an endorsement.
Pea Ridge National Military Park
Although four Border States were pro-slavery during the Civil War, Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland and Delaware never declared their secession from the Union. Tugged in each direction, these states contributed troops to both the Union and Confederate sides. Even families held opposing views, with brother against brother. Along this dividing line between the north and south, guerilla warfare, intense raids, and violence occurred throughout the war years.
Keeping Missouri in the Union was a key objective of the Federal Government, and Pea Ridge became the focal point for the conquest of this key state. Troops from both sides amassed in northwest Arkansas on March 4, 1862. Union Brigadier General Samuel R. Curtis secured the high ground along the Pea Ridge bluff line overlooking Sugar Creek. Confederate troops, led by Brigadier General Earl Van Dorn, totaled 16,000 men and included two regiments of Cherokee Indians. Avoiding a suicidal frontal attack, Confederates circled around Union troops from each side. Cold, hungry and tired from this three day maneuver, hopes to win the battle turned grim when Confederate Brig Gen. Ben McCulloch and Brig Gen. James McIntosh were killed. Although Van Dorn's troops fared better and pushed Federal troops back beyond the Elkhorn Tavern (inset), nightfall halted the fighting. The following morning on March 8th, a strong Union artillery barrage crippled the Confederate lines and scattered the remaining troops. With an order of withdraw from Van Dorn, the Battle at Pea Ridge was over.
Today, the Pea Ridge NMP is open daily from 8am to 5pm. A loop road circles around the park, following along the foothills of the Elk Horn Mountains. Eleven stops along the tour highlight key points on the battlegrounds.
Copyright © 2012 Benjamin Prepelka
All Rights Reserved