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This collection of Pea Ridge paintings are the permanent collection of artwork at the Pea Ridge National Military Park in Pea Ridge, Arkansas. Each image was also used on the wayside exhibits that are along the historic sites within the park.
Union General Samuel R. Curtis had accomplished his goal of pushing the pro-confederate Missouri State Guard, under the command of Major General Sterling Price, out of Missouri and into Arkansas on February 16, 1862. Price and his troops joined forces with Confederate General Benjamin McCulloch and moved south along Telegraph before heading to Strickler’s Station seventeen miles south of Fayetteville. There they would go into winter quarters for the next couple of weeks awaiting the next move from there newly appointed commander, Major General Earl Van Dorn.
Curtis, now in control of Northwest Arkansas, spread his 10,500 man Army of the Southwest throughout the area in late February 1862 in an effort to provide much needed forage for his men and to guard the Telegraph and Elm springs roads. These troops would occupy the local mills and use them for grinding grain that was found in the area. Tent cities popped up all over Northwest Arkansas as the Federals went into what they thought would be their winter quarters since winter campaigns were rare during times of war. On March 5, 1862 Curtis learned that Confederate General Earl Van Dorn’s Army of the West was heading north from the Boston Mountains towards his army. Curtis ordered his 4 scattered divisions to gather on a bluff line overlooking the Little Sugar Creek valley. The hills and plateaus in the area north of the Little Sugar Creek entrenchments turned into a two-mile long camp for the Federals during the Battle of Pea Ridge.
Shall be on the alert. Holding as securely as possible. Brigadier General Curtis, telegraph to Major General Henry Halleck
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