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The Battle of Elkhorn Tavern ~ Pea Ridge

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The Battle of Elkhorn Tavern ~ Pea Ridge
Daniel's Nineth Texas Battery
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According to records from the National Archives, John William Wilson took part in the Battle of Elkhorn Tavern (known by Union forces as the Battle of Pea Ridge) and according to the muster roles, Thomas Allen Wilson was present for duty with at the time of this engagement.  Since both were inlisted in the same unit (Company E, 4th MO Infantry-CSA - both enlisting in January, 1862) it is probable that both served together during this engagement.  Since their unit was only partially organized, it is probable that John William Wilson and Thomas Allen Wilson served as part of Captain Norval Spanglers Company C,  or Captain Wood in Company H,  during this engagement under the command of Colonel Colton Green.  During the engagement,  Colonel Colton Green's commanded included approximately 105 partially organized Confederate volunteers and included Captain Norval Spanglers Company C and Captain Wood in Company H. 

Company E of the 4th MO Infantry-CSA was formed from Missouri State Guard (MSG) Companies that had been mustered into service on March 25, 1861, by Colonel James Shaler (detailed by General Frost).  Company E was formed on March 25, 1862, when Captain Norval Spangler's Company and Captain Stephen W. Wood's Company were consolidated into Company E (4th Missouri Infantry) with Norval Spangler remaining as Captain (Spangler had been elected his company's captain on February 9, 1862, and Wood had been elected his companies captain in February, 1862).  

According to records from the National Archives, Philip Askins enlisted as a private in Company A 5th MO Infantry-CSA on August 7, 1862.  Since the 5th MO Infantry formed from the enlistment of MSG units that had participated Battle of Elkhorn Tavern, it is very probable that Philip Askins participated in this engagement (possibly as part of Brigadier General James S. Rains' 8th Division-MSG).   

Battle:

Between March 6-8, 1862, the combined Confederate forces of General Price (approximately 6,800 men from Missouri) and General McCulloch (approximately 8,000 men from Arkansas, Louisiana,  and Texas) under the command of CSA Major General Van Dorn engaged with Union forces (approximately 10,500 men) under the command of Union Major General Samuel R. Curtis in the Battle of Pea Ridge (referred to as the Battle of Elkhorn Tavern by CSA).  The confederate forces were defeated and would never again represent a serious threaten to Union forces in Missouri.

 

During the Battle, Captain Spanglers Company C and Captain Wood's Company H were part of a very small partially organized group of 105 Confederate volunteers under the command of Colonel Colton Green (the 3rd Missouri Confederate Volunteers). 

Report of Colonel Colton Green (Commanding Third Brigade MO Volunteers (CSA):

 

I have the honor to submit a report of the operations of my command in the actions of the 7th and 8th instant near Elkhorn Tavern:

 

In compliance with your order all the cavalry, excepting Captain Campbell's company, which fought as infantry, was dismounted before leaving camp in Boston Mountains, and which consisted of about 80 men, the remains of Colonel Frazier's and Colonel Freeman's regiments, Missouri State Guard, and squads of Confederates numbering 105. These were attached to the Confederate Infantry, together with parts of two companies of Colonel Schnable's Third Infantry, Missouri State Guard. I marched with 658 men on the 4th instant, leaving a strong camp guard behind.

 

On the morning of the 7th we reached the enemy's rear near the junction of the Bentonville and Springfield roads, the command being somewhat reduced from the severity of the march. I was immediately ordered into position by you on the hill to the left of the road, where our batteries were first posted. Here we received the enemy's fire for two hours, sustaining a loss of 10 in wounded.

 

I was again ordered to the right, to support Colonel Burbridge, and advanced in line several hundred yards, when I found myself in close proximity to one of the enemy's batteries. Our guide was missing, and we had advanced a considerable distance beyond Colonel Burbridge's position. The enemy opened on us with canister and shell, but my men, being well sheltered, sustained no injury. I held the position for thirty minutes, when we were fired into from one of our own batteries and were forced to fall back.

 

By your order I now took position on Colonel Burbridge's left, and advanced on the enemy, to the right of Elkhorn Tavern. The timber being obstructed by heavy undergrowth at this point, I was forced to oblique to the left, which movement brought me to the rear of the tavern, and here, by order, I took position on Colonel Rives' right, and co-operated with that gallant and lamented officer during the remainder of the action.

 

It was now late in the afternoon, when an advance was ordered by Colonel Henry Little, of the First Missouri Brigade. An open, unsheltered field lay between my men and the enemy. He was in force, and supported by a battery immediately on our front. Our brave men at once rushed through the field, charged the enemy in the face of a murderous fire, drove him back, pursued him until night, and with Colonel Rives' regiment slept on the most advanced position, which was the one now held.

 

This ground we held by order of Major-General Van Dorn and stood to our arms the greater part of the night expecting an attack. The fight at this point was renewed in the morning with heavy artillery-firing and continued for over an hour, when our batteries were, ordered off. We held our position, and I was ordered to keep the enemy in check and fall back with Colonel Rives. He had now advanced within easy range, and we opened a brisk fire upon him, falling back slowly. Three times we formed and fought him, when, perceiving his intention to flank us, we fell back on the hill to the left of Elkhorn Tavern, and were ordered by Colonel Little to follow the main body of the army, which had already been withdrawn.

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