“…The Bayonet or Retreat”


The Bayonet or Retreat, The Battle of Prairie Grove December 7, 1862. The second charge featuring the 37th Illinois Infantry regiment.

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…The Bayonet Or Retreat

The Battle of Prairie Grove December 7, 1862

This image is the second charge featuring the 37th Illinois Infantry regiment which advanced into the apple orchard behind the Borden House before giving ground and facing a critical decision. As Lt. Col. John C. Black recalled, “My skirmishers reported the enemy”s artillery posted on our right. Thus overwhelmed, the only hope from annihilation was the bayonet or retreat. The bayonet could not be used so, reluctantly, I ordered a retreat”.  Another Confederate counter-attack was driven back by the soldiers of the 37th Illinois, armed with muzzle-loading rifles and about two hundred Colt revolving rifles in companies A and K.

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