Pea Ridge Battle Description

 

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Civil War Harper's Weekly, March 29, 1862

We have made our extensive collection of Civil War Harper's Weekly newspapers available to your online. These papers have incredible content on the Civil War, including wood cut illustrations made by eye-witnesses to the historic events of the war.

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Saluting the Union Flag

The Union Flag

McClellan's Letter to the Army of the Potomac

McClellan to the Army of the Potomac

Fort Craig

Battle of Fort Craig

Columbus, Kentucky

Pea Ridge

Pea Ridge Battle

Captain Ericsson

Captain Ericsson Biography

John Ericsson

Picture of John Ericsson

Horace Greeley

Horace Greeley

Batle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas

Battle of Pea Ridge

Fort Clinch

Civil War Battle Map

Civil War Battle Map

Centreville, Virginia

Centreville, Virginia

General McClellan at Bull Run

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HARPER'S WEEKLY.

[MARCH 29, 1862.

202

THE TENNESSEE BLACKSMITH.

NEAR the cross-roads, not far from the Cumberland Mountains, stood the village forge. The smith was a sturdy man of fifty. He was respected, wherever known, for his stern integrity. He served God, and did not fear man—and it might be safely added, nor devil either. His courage was proverbial in the neighborhood; and it was a common remark, when wishing to pay any person a high compliment, to say, "He is as brave as Old Bradley." One night, toward the close of September, as he stood alone by the anvil plying his labors, his countenance evinced a peculiar satisfaction as he brought his hammer down with a vigorous stroke on the heated iron. While blowing the bellows he would occasionally pause and shake his head, as if communing with himself. He was evidently meditating upon something of a serious nature. It was during one of these pauses that the door was thrown open, and a pale, trembling figure staggered into the shop, and, sinking at the smith's feet, faintly ejaculated,

"In the name of Jesus, protect me!"

As Bradley stooped to raise the prostrate form three men entered, the foremost one exclaiming,

"We've treed him at last! There he is! seize him!" and as he spoke he pointed at the crouching figure.

The others advanced to obey the order; but Bradley suddenly arose, seized the sledge-hammer, and brandishing it about his head as if it were a sword, exclaimed,

"Back! Touch him not; or, by the grace of God, I'll brain ye!"

They hesitated, and stepped backward, not wishing to encounter the sturdy smith, for his countenance plainly told them that he meant what he said.

"Do you give shelter to an abolitionist?" fiercely shouted the leader.

"I give shelter to a weak, defenseless man," replied the smith.

"He is an enemy!" vociferated the leader. "Of the devil!" ejaculated Bradley.

"He is a spy! an abolition hound!" exclaimed the leader, with increased vehemence; "and we must have him. So I tell you, Bradley, you had better not interfere. You know that you are already suspected, and if you insist upon sheltering him it will confirm it."

"Sus-pect-ed! Suspected of what?" exclaimed the smith, in a firm tone, riveting his gaze upon the speaker.

" Why, of adhering to the North," was the reply.

"Adhering to the North!" ejaculated Bradley, as he cast his defiant glances at the speaker. "I adhere to no North!" he continued; "I adhere to my country—my whole country—and will, so help me God! as long as I have breath," he added, as he brought the sledge-hammer to the ground with great force.

"You had better let us have him, Bradley, without farther trouble. You are only risking your own neck by your interference."

"Not as long as I have life to defend him," was the answer. Then pointing toward the door, he continued, "Leave my shop!" and as he spoke he again raised the sledge-hammer.

They hesitated a moment, but the firm demeanor of the smith awed them into compliance with the order.

"You'll regret this in the morning, Bradley," said the leader, as he retreated.

"Go!" was the reply of the smith, as he pointed toward the door.

Bradley followed them menacingly to the entrance of the shop, and watched them until they disappeared from sight down the road. When he turned to go back in the shop he was met by the fugitive, who, grasping his hand, exclaimed,

"Oh! how shall I ever be able to thank you, Mr. Bradley?"

"This is no time for thanks, Mr. Peters, unless it is to the Lord; you must fly the country, and that at once!"

"But my wife and children?"

"Mattie and I will attend to them. But you must go to-night."

"To-night!"

"Yes. In the morning, if not sooner, they will return with a large force and carry you off, and probably hang you on the first tree. You must leave to-night."

"But how?"

"Mattie will conduct you to the rendezvous of our friends. There is a party made up who intend to cross the mountains and join the Union forces in Kentucky. They were to start to-night. They have provisions for the journey, and will gladly share with you."

At this moment a young girl entered the shop, and hurriedly said,

"Father, what is the trouble to-night?" Her eye resting upon the fugitive, she approached him, and, in a sympathizing tone, continued, "Ah, Mr. Peters, has your turn come so soon?"

This was Mattie. She was a fine rosy girl, just passed her eighteenth birthday, and the sole daughter of Bradley's house and heart. She was his all—his wife had been dead five years. He turned toward her, and, in a mild but firm tone, said,

"Mattie, you must conduct Mr. Peters to the rendezvous immediately; then return, and we will call at the parsonage to cheer his family. Quick! No time is to he lost. The blood-hounds are upon the track. They have scented their prey, and will not rest until they have secured him. They may return much sooner than we expect. So haste, daughter, and God bless ye!"

This was not the first time that Mattie had been called upon to perform such an office. She had safely conducted several Union men, who had been hunted from their homes and sought shelter with her father, to the place designated, from whence they made their escape across the mountains into Kentucky. Turning to the fugitive, she said,

"Come, Mr. Peters, do not stand upon ceremony, but follow me,"

She left the shop and proceeded but a short distance up the road, and then turned off in a by-path through a strip of woods, closely followed by the fugitive. A brisk walk of half an hour brought them to a small house that stood alone in a secluded spot. Here Mattie was received with a warm welcome by several men, some of whom were engaged in running bullets, while others were cleaning their rifles and fowling-pieces. The lady of the house, a hale woman of forty, was busy stuffing the wallets of the men with biscuits. She greeted Mattie very kindly. The fugitive, who was known to two or three of the party, was received in a bluff, frank spirit of kindness by all, saying that they would make him chaplain of the Tennessee Union regiment when they got to Kentucky.

When Mattie was about to return home two of the party prepared to accompany her; but she protested, warning them of the danger, as the enemy were doubtless abroad in search of the minister. But, notwithstanding, they insisted, and accompanied her until she reached the road a short distance above her father's shop. Mattie hurried on, but was somewhat surprised upon reaching the shop to find it vacant. She hastened into the house, but her father was not there. As she returned to go into the shop she thought she could hear the noise of horses' hoofs clattering down the road. She listened, but the sound soon died away. Going into the shop she blew the fire into a blaze; then beheld that the things were in great confusion, and that spots of blood were upon the ground. She was now convinced that her father had been seized and carried off, but not without a desperate struggle on his part.   :

As Mattie stood gazing at the pools of blood a wagon containing two persons drove up, one of whom, an athletic young man of five-and-twenty years, got out and entered the shop.

"Good-evening, Mattie! Where is your father?" he said. Then observing the strange demeanor of the girl. he continued, "Why, Mattie, what ails you? What has happened?"

The young girl's heart was too full for her tongue to give utterance, and throwing herself upon the shoulder of the young man, she sobbingly exclaimed:

"They have carried him off! Don't you see the blood?"

"Have they dared to lay hands upon your father? The infernal wretches!"

Hattie recovered herself sufficiently to narrate the events of the evening. When she had finished, he exclaimed:

"Oh that I should have lived to see the day that old Tennessee was to be thus disgraced! Here, Joe!"

At this the other person in the wagon alighted and entered the shop. He was a stalwart negro.

"Joe," continued the young man, "you would. like your freedom?"

"Well, Massa John, I wouldn't like much to leabe you, but den I'se like to be a free man."

" Joe, the white race have maintained their liberty by their valor. Are you willing to fight for yours? Ay! fight to the death?"

"I'se fight for yous any time, Massa John."

" I believe you, Joe. But I have desperate work on hand to-night, and I do not want you to engage in it without a prospect of reward. If I succeed I will make you a free man. It is a matter of life and death—will you go?"

" I will, Massa."

"Then-kneel down and swear before the ever-living God, that, if you falter or shrink the danger, you may hereafter be consigned to everlasting fire!"

"I swear, Massa," said the negro, kneeling. "An' I hope that Gor Almighty may strike me dead if I don't go wid you through fire and water and ebery ting!"

" I am satisfied, Joe," said his master; then turning to the young girl, who had been a mute spectator of this singular scene, he continued, "Now, Mattie, you get in the wagon and I'll drive down to the parsonage, and you remain there with Mrs. Peters and the children until I bring you some intelligence of your father."

 

While the sturdy old blacksmith was awaiting the return of his daughter the party that he had repulsed returned with increased numbers and demanded the minister. A fierce quarrel ensued, which resulted in their seizing the smith and carrying him off. They conveyed him to a tavern half a mile distant from the shop, and there he was arraigned before what was termed a vigilance committee. The committee met in a long room on the ground-floor, dimly lighted by a lamp which stood upon a small table in front of the chairman. In about half an hour after Bradley's arrival he was placed before the chairman for examination, The old man's arms were pinioned, but nevertheless he cast a defiant look upon those around him.

"Bradley, this is a grave charge against you. What have you to say?" said the chairman.

"What authority have you to ask?" demanded the smith, fiercely eying his interrogator.

"The authority of the people of Tennessee," was the reply.

"I deny it."

" Your denials amount to nothing. You are accused of harboring an abolitionist, and the penalty of that act you know is death. What have you to say to the charge?"

"I say that it is a lie, and that he who utters such charges against me is a scoundrel."

"Simpson," said the chairman to the leader of the band that had captured Bradley, and who now appeared with a large bandage about his head, to bind up a wound which was the result of a blow from the fist of Bradley. "Simpson," continued the chairman, "what have you to say?"

The leader then stated that he had tracked the preacher to the blacksmith shop, and that Bradley had resisted his arrest, and that upon their return he could not be found, and that the prisoner refused to give any information concerning him.

"Do you hear that, Mr. Bradley?" said the chairman.

"I do. What of if?" was the reply.

"Is it true?"

" Yes."

"Where is the preacher?"

"That is none of your business."

"Mr. Bradley, this tribunal is not to be insulted with impunity. I again demand to know when Mr. Peters is. Will you tell?"

"No."

"Mr. Bradley, it is well known that you are not only a member but an exhorter in Mr. Peters's church, and therefore some little excuse is to be made for your zeal in defending him. He is from the North, and has long been suspected, and is now accused of being an abolitionist and a dangerous man. You do not deny sheltering him, and refusing to give him up. If you persist in this you must take the consequences. I ask you for the last time if you will inform us of his whereabouts?"

"And again I answer no!"

"Mr. Bradley, there is also another serious charge against you, and your conduct in this instance confirms it. You are accused of giving comfort to the enemies of your country. What have you to say to that?"

"I say it is false, and that he who makes it is a villain."

"I accuse him with being a traitor, aiding the cause of the Union," said Simpson.

"If my adherence to the Union merits for me the name of traitor, then I am proud of it. I have been for the Union—I am still for the Union—and will be for the Union as long as life lasts!"

At these words the chairman clutched a pistol that lay upon the table before him, and the bright blade of Simpson's bowie-knife glittered near Bradley's breast; but before he could make the fatal plunge a swift-winged messenger of death laid him dead at the feet of his intended victim; while at the same instant another plunged into the heart of the chairman, and he fell forward over the table, extinguishing the light and leaving all in darkness. Confusion reigned. The inmates of the room were panic-stricken. In the midst of the consternation a firm hand rested upon Bradley's shoulder; his bonds were severed, and he hurried out of the open window. He was again a free man, but was hastened forward into the woods at the back of the tavern, and through them to a road a quarter of a mile distant, then into a wagon and driven rapidly off. In half an hour the smith made one of the party at the rendezvous that was to start at midnight across the mountains.

"John," said the smith as he grasped the hand of his rescuer, while his eyes glistened and a tear coursed down his furrowed cheek, "I should like to see Mattie before I go."

"You shall," was the reply.

In another hour the blacksmith clasped his daughter to his bosom.

It was an affecting scene—there, in that lone house in the wilderness, surrounded by men who had been driven from their homes for their attachment to the principles for which the patriot fathers fought and bled--the sturdy old smith, a type of the heroes of other days, pressing his daughter to his breast, while the tear coursed down his furrowed cheek. He felt that perhaps it was to be his last embrace; for his resolute heart had resolved to sacrifice his all upon the altar of his country, and he could no longer watch over the safety of his only child. Was she to be left to the mercy of the parricidal wretches who were attempting to destroy the country that had given them birth, nursed their infancy, and opened a wide field for them to display the abilities with which nature had endowed them?

"Mr. Bradley," said his rescuer, after a short pause, "as you leave the State it will be necessary, in these troublous times, for Mattie to have a protector, and I have thought that our marriage had better take place to-night."

"Well, John," he said, as he relinquished his embrace and gazed with a fond look at her who was so dear to him, "I shall not object if Mattie is willing."

"Oh! we arranged that as we came along," replied the young man.

Mattie blushed, but said nothing.

In a short time the hunted-down minister was called upon to perform a marriage service in that lone house. It was an impressive scene. Yet no diamonds glittered upon the neck of the bride; no pearls looped up her tresses; but a pure love glowed within her heart as she gave utterance to a vow which was registered in heaven.

Bradley, soon after the ceremony, bade his daughter and her husband an affectionate farewell, and set out with his friends to join others who had been driven from their homes, and were now rallying under the old flag to fight for the Union, and, as they said, "Redeem old Tennessee!"

THE BATTLE OF PEA RIDGE.

WE devote page 196 to an illustration of the great battle won by General Curtis at PEA RIDGE, ARKANSAS, on 6th, 7th, and 8th March. The official report of General Curtis is as follows:

HEAD-QUARTERS, ARMY OF THE SOUTHWEST,

PEA RIDGE, ARKANSAS, March 9, 1861.

GENERAL,—On Thursday, the 6th inst., the enemy commenced an attack on my right wing, assailing and following the rear-guard of a detachment under General Siegel to my main lines on Sugar Creek Hollow, but ceased firing when he met my reinforcements about four P. M.

During the night I became convinced that he had moved on so as to attack my right or rear, therefore early on the 7th I ordered a change of front to the right, my right, which thus became my left, still resting on Sugar Creek Hollow. This brought my line across Pea Ridge, with my new right resting on Head Cross Timber Hollow, which is the head of Big Sugar Creek. I also ordered an immediate advance of the cavalry and light artillery, under Colonel Osterhaus, with orders to attack and break what I supposed would be the reinforced line of the enemy. This movement was in progress when the enemy, at eleven A. M., commenced an attack on my right. The fight continued mainly at these points during the day, the enemy having gained the point held by the command of Colonel Carr, at Cross Timber Hollow, but was entirely repulsed, with the fall of the commander, McCulloch, in the centre,

by the forces under Colonel Davis. The plan of attack on the centre was gallantly carried forward by Colonel Osterhaus, who was immediately sustained and supported by Colonel Davis's entire division, supported also by General Siegel's command, which had remained till near the close of the day on the left. Colonel Carr's division held the right under a galling, continuous fire all day.

In the evening, firing having entirely ceased in the centre, and the right being now on the left, I reinforced the right by a portion of the Second Division, under General Asboth. Before the day closed I was convinced that the enemy had concentrated his main force on the right. I commenced another change of front forward, so as to face the enemy where he had deployed on my right flank in a strong petition. The change had only been partially effected, but was in full progress when, at sunrise on the 8th, my right and centre renewed the firing, which was immediately answered by the enemy with renewed energy along the whole extent of his line. My left, under General Siegel, proved close to the hills occupied by the enemy, driving him from the heights, and advancing steadily toward the head of the hollows. I immediately ordered the centre and right wing forward, the right turning the left of the enemy, and cross-firing on his centre. This final position of the enemy was in the arc of a circle. A charge of infantry, extending throughout the whole line, completely routed the whole rebel force, which retired in great confusion, but rather safely, through the deep, impassable defiles of cross-timber.

Our loss is heavy. The enemy's can never be ascertained, for their dead are scattered over a large field. Their wounded, too, may many of them be lost and perish. The force is scattered in all directions, but I think his main force has returned to Boston Mountains.

General Siegel follows him toward Keithsville, while my cavalry is pursuing him toward the mountains, scouring the country, bringing in prisoners, and trying to find the rebel Major-General Van Dorn, who had command of the entire force at this, the battle of Pea Ridge.

I have not as yet statements of the dead and wounded, so as to justify a report, but I will refer you to a dispatch which I will forward very soon.

Officers and soldiers have displayed such unusual gallantry that I hardly dare to make distinction. I must, however, name the commanders of division. General Siegel gallantly commanded the right, and drove back the left wing of the enemy; General Asboth, who is wounded in the arm, in his gallant effort to reinforce the right; Colonel and Acting Brigadier-General Davis, who commanded the centre, where McCulloch fell on the 7th, and pressed forward the centre on the 8th. Colonel and Acting Brigadier-General Carr is also wounded in the arm, and was under the continuous fire of the enemy during the two hardest days of the struggle.

Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, and Missouri may proudly share the honor of victory which their gallant heroes won over the combined forces of Van Dorn, Price, and McCulloch at Pea Ridge, in the mountains of Arkansas.

The rebels, it is said, had thirty-five thousand men in the field, among whom were twenty-two hundred Indians, under Albert Pike. The rebels acknowledge a loss of eleven hundred killed, and nearly three thousand wounded. Our loss was six hundred killed and from eight hundred to one thousand wounded. We took sixteen hundred prisoners and thirteen pieces of cannon.

COLUMBUS, KENTUCKY.

WE publish on page 197 illustrations of COLUMBUS, Kentucky, from sketches by Mr. Alexander Simplot. The Herald correspondent thus described the place after the evacuation:

The river batteries have been almost entirely demolished —three tiers of them—their guns dismounted and thrown into the river, the gun-carriages mutilated and magazines demolished, leaving nothing to mark their former presence save ruined breast-works and huge piles of cannon-balls and shells. Just below the upper river battery, a huge chain, which has been christened "Pillow's Folly," emerges from the water, extends up the almost perpendicular bank a hundred feet or more, and disappears under the soil, where it extends to—the Lord only knows where. This is the Kentucky end of the chain which the valiant inside-ditchdigger had stretched across the river to obstruct the passage of our gun-boats. A few feet above the chain and below the battery I counted five sixty-four pound guns which had been thrown over the breast-works, with the intention of sinking them in the river; but they had lodged in the yielding earth and become immovable. Two others lay a few rods below, which had been taken from the batteries on the bluff.

Within the breast-works on the hill there was nothing to be seen but the wildest desolation. Burning piles of rubbish, smouldering heaps of grain—the remnants of burned warehouses—charred timbers of what were once quarters for the troops, broken gun-carriages and disabled ordnance, completed the picture.

Leaving the lower town and ascending the hill in the rear, we get the most comprehensive view of the rebel works. From one point near the top of the hill my guide pointed out to me the locality of no less than eight different batteries, besides the positions of forty-five or fifty isolated pieces of heavy artillery. In all, I computed that a month ago there could not have been less than one hundred and thirty pieces of artillery, of the calibre of twenty-four pounders and upward, added to which there were over seventy pieces of light field artillery. Most of these heavy guns are now in the river, or disabled upon the works, easily fished up when the floods go down, or repaired by skillful workmen. I saw in the north fort, upon the brow of the bluff. the ruins of the celebrated one-hundred-and-twenty pounder, Lady Polk, which burst in November last, coming to near causing the Very Reverend Bishop General to "puss in his cheeks." My guide was one of the gunners upon that occasion, and it was really amusing to hear his rendition of the affair:

"You see," said he, pointing to the breech of the piece, which lay precisely where it fell when the accident occurred, "dat is de butt of Lady Boke what busted. You see I vas standin' shoost here mit der sponge. Shendrel Boke shtood right dere on horsepach, und dem fellers mit der gold lace on der arms, und all over, was shtandin' all 'round; den der Shendrel say, ' Poys, look out; yen Lady Boke speaks I always sthop mine ears up.' Den he rides oop and dakes der lanyard and sherk him, and, mein Cott, you oughter see how Lady Boke she flies in leetle bieces. Her preech flies pack and shlaps ter Shendrel mit der pread pasket und makes hint double up like mine shack knife. Der Shendrel vas hurted purty pad, and his horse vas killed; but he shumps up and say, 'Never mind um, poys; dake care of dem odder fellers.' Den I look 'round, und dere was eight mens killed and more as a dozen wounded."

TORPEDOES AT COLUMBUS.

WE illustrate on page 198, from sketches by our correspondent, Mr. Alexander Simplot, the TORPEDOES AND INFERNAL MACHINES which have been discovered by our troops at Columbus. The correspondent of the Chicago Times thus describes them:

After two days' exploration for infernal machines, and to discover wherry the bluff had bean mined, as was reported to have been done, Captain W. A. Schmitt and company, of the Twenty--eventh Regiment, discovered ridges of new earth, similar to ridges which are formed by covering up gas or water pipes in a city, and traced them to a cavern. Effecting an entrance he found a strong, rude, wooden frame, covered by earth to attract no attention. Inside this, with the assistance of a light, he found implements similar to those used in a telegraph office, with wires running in a dozen different directions. Following the raised rows of earth he soon came to a spot where something had evidently been buried. Digging down some five feet, he came to a large iron cask, about three (Next Page)


 

 

  

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