Rural Missouri - January 2013 - (Page 28)
Marmaduke’s ﬁrst raid
January 1863 ~ Battles of Springfield and Hartville
Behind enemy lines, Confederate cavalry threatens Springﬁeld
by Jim Denny email@example.com
garrisoned, and indeed it was. Only two of four projected forts to protect the town had actually been completed, and just 1,000 defenders had been left behind to guard the vital strategic point. Marmadt was early January 1863, and the Civil War in uke decided to take the town. the West would be taking no winter break. As However, he also sent Shelby and MacDonald the New Year dawned, 1,900 Confederate cavto attack and destroy two Union garrisons along alrymen crossed from northwest Arkansas into the way, and this took time. Worse southwest Missouri. still, the element of surprise was lost. This was not an invasion, as in days Intelligence of Marmaduke’s approach of yore, but a raid — a desperate diverquickly reached Brig. Gen. Egbert sion intended to stanch the bleedB. Brown, the commander of the ing of the Confederate cause back in Springﬁeld garrison. While Shelby and northern Arkansas. MacDonald were destroying minor Just two and a half months earlier, garrisons, Brown was given a full day Missouri Confederates were reaping to prepare for their arrival — and he the bounty of southern Missouri and used the day well. Couriers were sent had even tasted a rare victory at Newto bring in militia units from nearby tonia on Sept. 30, 1862. But within garrisons, citizens of Springﬁeld were days of this momentary triumph, issued weapons and even convalesoverwhelming Union forces drove the cents, the “quinine brigade,” from the Confederates back across the border inﬁrmary were called up to join in the and pursued them into Arkansas. defense. Brown had managed to The gateway of invasion Jim Denny, a Co-Mo Electric member double his force. On the day of along the rolling upland that from Lupus, brings the state’s Civil War the battle, he faced Marmaduke stretched from Fayetteville, Ark., history to life in Rural Missouri as we on an equal footing, at least in to Kansas City, Mo., had now commemorate the sesquicentennial of terms of manpower. been slammed shut by the Fedthis time in our nation’s history. Order When Marmaduke launched eral presence. Jim’s book, “The Civil War’s First Blood,” his attack on Jan. 8, he discovFor the rest of October, online at www.ruralmissouri.coop. ered Springﬁeld more strongly through November and into defended than he had anticiDecember, the Federals mainpated. He hurled Shelby and MacDonald’s brigades tained their Arkansas foothold. Confederate Gen. forward. Brown formed his troops in front of two Thomas Hindman would have to drive them out partially completed forts, No. 1 and No. 4, which before the onset of winter. His only other alternative was to retreat south across the Boston Mountains to the Arkansas River valley. This, the feisty general would not do without a ﬁght. The decisive battle for control of the western gateway into Missouri took place at Prairie Grove, Ark., on Dec. 7, 1862. Here, Hindman faced the smaller forces of Gens. James Blunt and Francis Herron. In the end, the sizable advantage in Union artillery, along with tenacious ﬁghting, tilted the balance toward the Federal side in the bloody and closely fought battle. With ammunition and supplies almost gone, Hindman had to retreat. Blunt continued to hound the Confederate army all the way to Van Buren, on the banks of the Arkansas River. Hindman’s bitter pill was that he had let the Confederacy’s last best chance to score a major victory in the trans-Mississippi West slip away. Northern Arkansas and the western gateway were lost. One of Hindman’s last command decisions, made on New Year’s Eve, was to try to compel Blunt and Herron to move back north to protect their overextended and fragile supply line to Springﬁeld, some 170 miles distant. If Hindman could send his cavalry behind enemy lines and threaten Springﬁeld with its rich hoard of supplies, Blunt and Herron would have to hotfoot it back to Missouri. Hindman’s cavalry division, stationed at Lewisburg, Ark., was assigned to carry out this important and dangerous mission. Leading the expedition was Brig. Gen. John S. Marmaduke. His brigade commanders were seasoned cavalry leaders: Cols. Joseph Shelby, Joseph Porter and Emmett MacDonald. Like their commanders, these horsemen were dedicated Missouri Confederates — a ragamufﬁn army, hard bitten, hungry and worn out, man and horse alike, but still itching to carry the war back to watercolor painting by Darrell Combs, USMC, from the collection of James R. Cox their home state. On Jan. 5, Marmaduke crossed into Missouri. He Gen. Egbert B. Brown, center with binoculars, and Union forces defend Fort No. 4 while Springﬁeld citizens ﬂee their soon received reports that Springﬁeld was lightly burning homes. Despite repeated Confederate charges and hard ﬁghting, the Battle of Springﬁeld ended in a stalemate.
contained two cobbled-together artillery batteries. Brown burned several houses in front of Fort No. 4 to gain a clear ﬁeld of ﬁre and deny close-in shelter to the attacking Rebels. Repeated Confederate charges and hard ﬁghting could not break the determined resistance of the militiamen, citizens and soldiers. The day’s ﬁghting ended in a stalemate. The next day, Marmaduke headed toward Hartville, about 50 miles east of Springﬁeld. Three more small Union garrisons were put to the torch along the way. Before reaching Hartville, he was joined by the small brigade of Joseph Porter, who had traveled into Missouri by a different route. Marmaduke seemed to be in somewhat of a fog as to what his situation really was. He was convinced that a strong Union force was pursuing him, although such was not the case. To his front, a Federal force of 980 Iowans, Illinoisans and Missourians under Col. Samuel Merrill seemed ready to give battle. Marmaduke decided he had to attack Merrill’s force before the imaginary enemy to his rear fell upon him. Thus it was that the ﬁerce and costly Battle of Hartville was fought on Jan. 11, 1863. Though outnumbered more than 2-to-1 and green to combat, Merrill’s men held the brush-covered high ground above the town of Hartville. In the morning and early afternoon, Shelby’s men threw themselves repeatedly at Merrill’s position, only to be beaten back by thick and continuous ﬁre. Shelby withdrew and Porter’s men took up the ﬁght, only to experience the same fate as Shelby’s shot-up soldiers. In the end, both sides withdrew from Hartville in opposite directions. Marmaduke’s brigade commanders, Cols. Porter and MacDonald, fell along with other ofﬁcers and men in this bloody conﬂict. Despite the fact that Marmaduke’s raid would hardly set the gold standard for Confederate raiding, he nonetheless succeeded in his overall objective. Blunt and Herron did return to Missouri, and thousands of troops spent the rest of a cold winter guarding Springﬁeld from attacks that never came. The Confederates were far away — in the Arkansas River valley — trying to recuperate and rebuild before the next Federal army headed their way.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - January 2013
Rural Missouri - January 2013
Table of Contents
Turning disabilities into abilities
Aiming to win
Out of the Way Eats
Hearth and Home
Marmaduke’s first raid
No strangers to hard work
Rural Missouri - January 2013
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