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Eleven Paintings…One Battle…One Artist
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.
After a tow hour artillery barrage on the morning of March 8, General Curtis’s Army of the Southwest, 10,000 strong, wheeled in unison across the battlefield toward the battered confederate line. This was a rare occasion where a spectator would have seen an entire army from one end of the line to the other charge across a battlefield. The confederates, with little or no ammunition, resisted as best as they could but their line broke and they were forced to retreat from the battlefield. The main body of confederate troops moved along Huntsville Road and away from the battlefield. A small group of confederated would retreat north along Telegraph Road. Union General Franz Sigel, who was anxious to get away from the confederates and back into Missouri, just happened to follow these fleeing confederates north and towards Missouri.
The battlefield was left in the hands of the Union Army of the Southwest. Curtis’s army had lost 1,384 men at Pea Ridge. Most of these men were from various units of Eugene Carr’s 4th division; particularly the 4th and 9th Iowa Infantry. Confederate casualties are harder to nail down but must have been close to 2,000 or more. As a testament to the ferocity of the battle, Curtis ordered over 4,600 rounds of artillery ammunition and 288,000 rounds of small arms ammunition to replace those used during campaign.
That beautiful charge I shall never forget with banners streaming, with drums beating, and our long line of blue coats advancing upon the double-quick with their deadly bayonets gleaming in the sunlight, and every man and officer yelling at the top of his lungs. The rebel yell was nowhere in comparison.
Captain Eugene Payne, 37th Illinois Infantry
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