Friday, May 22, 2009

Memorial Day, Part Three - Pea Ridge Battlefield, Arkansas

One of the most significant battles of the Civil War took place not in Virginia or Tennessee, but far to the west and high in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas.

The Battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas, was a major turning point of the war in the west and firmly established Union control of the state of Missouri. It was also one of the bloodiest battles of the first year of the war, with thousands of men - Northern and Southern - shedding their blood for the causes for which they fought.

The battle began on March 6, 1862, in the eleventh month of the Civil War, and raged for two days. By the time the killing had stopped, more than 3,000 men had been killed, wounded or captured. A disaster for the Confederate forces, led by General Earl Van Dorn, the Union victory achieved by General Samuel Curtis was one of the most complete of the war.

The site today is one of the most pristine battlefield areas in the country. The Pea Ridge National Military Park preserves 4,300 acres where the two armies maneuvered and fought. Features include a visitor center, driving tour, walking trails, overlooks and the restored Elkhorn Tavern around which heavy fighting took place. For those living in the western parts of the South, Pea Ridge is an excellent place for a Memorial Day trip to explore the cost of the bloodiest war in American history. The entrance fee is only $5.

1 comment:

gary said...

My name is Gary Lemon. I wrote a poem about Elkhorn Tavern several years ago. As you know the Confederates referred to the battle Of Pea Ridge as the battle of Elkhorn Tavern What do you think of this poem.


On a cold Winter day, back in sixty two.
There was a confrontation between the Gray and the Blue.
They met near a tavern by the name of Elkhorn.
A rustic old place, a little forlorn.
And when the battle raged and mens flesh was torn, they were moved to this tavern by the name of Elkhorn.

On they came like a violent storm,
the land was strewn with lifeless forms, and terror reigned around
old Elkhorn.

Many lives were lost, many Mothers left to mourn, that day blood was shed near old Elkhorn.

The battle was over on a gray Sunday morn, the field was left barren, every tree was shorn, but
yonder on a hill, there stands
old Elkhorn.

Gary W. Lemon