Among other things captured at Elkhorn Tavern by the Rebels, was a sutler’s wagon, which, had just arrived from St. Louis. In the division of the spoils, a large box, filled with wallets, fell to the lot of McDonald’s Battery. For several weeks the officers and privates of this battery could boast of a dozen wallets each, while very few had any money to carry. The Rebel soldiers complained that the visits of the paymaster were like those of angels.
THE BATTLE OF PEA RIDGE.
The Rebels make their Attack.—Albert Pike and his Indians.—Scalping Wounded Men.—Death of General McCulloch.—The Fighting at Elkhorn Tavern.—Close of a Gloomy Day.—An Unpleasant Night.—Vocal Sounds from a Mule’s Throat.—Sleeping under Disadvantages.—A Favorable Morning.—The Opposing Lines of Battle.—A Severe Cannonade.—The Forest on Fire.—Wounded Men in the Flames.—The Rebels in Retreat.—Movements of our Army.—A Journey to St. Louis.
About nine o’clock on the morning of the 7th, the Rebels made a simultaneous attack on our left and front, formerly our right and rear. General Price commanded the force on our front, and General McCulloch that on our left; the former having the old Army of Missouri, re-enforced by several Arkansas regiments, and the latter having a corps made up of Arkansas, Texas, and Louisiana troops. They brought into the fight upward of twenty thousand men, while we had not over twelve thousand with which to oppose them.
The attack on our left was met by General Sigel and Colonel Davis. That on our front was met by Colonel Carr’s Division and the division of General Asboth. On our left it was severe, though not long maintained, the position we held being too strong for the enemy to carry.
It was on this part of the line that the famous Albert Pike, the lawyer-poet of Arkansas, brought his newly-formed brigades of Indians into use. Pike was unfortunate with his Indians. While he was arranging them in line, in a locality where the bushes were about eight feet in height, the Indians made so much noise as to reveal their exact position. One of our batteries was quietly placed within point-blank range of the Indians, and suddenly opened upon them with grape and canister. They gave a single yell, and scattered without waiting for orders.
The Indians were not, as a body, again brought together during the battle. In a charge which our cavalry made upon a Rebel brigade we were repulsed, leaving several killed and wounded upon the ground. Some of Pike’s Indians, after their dispersal, came upon these, and scalped the dead and living without distinction. A Rebel officer subsequently informed me that the same Indians scalped several of their own slain, and barbarously murdered some who had been only slightly injured.
On this part of the field we were fortunate, early in the day, in killing General McCulloch and his best lieutenant, General McIntosh. To this misfortune the Rebels have since ascribed their easy defeat. At the time of this reverse to the enemy, General Van Dorn was with. Price in our front. After their repulse and the death of their leader, the discomfited Rebels joined their comrades in the front, who had been more successful. It was nightfall before the two forces were united.