Pea Ridge | Leetown Fight | Mar 7, 1862
Rather than attack Gen. Samuel R. Curtis' fortifications, Confederate Gen. Earl Van Dorn proposed to march around the Union right flank and strike the Federals in the vicinity of Elkhorn Tavern. In the course of the maneuver, however, Van Dorn's two wings under Gen. Benjamin McCulloch and Gen. Sterling Price were divided and compelled to advance on two roughly parallel roads, separated by Pea Ridge. McCulloch's 8,000 Confederates—veterans of Wilson's Creek—marched east on Ford Road where they were set upon by Federal cavalry under Cyrus Bussey. Bussey's attack bought Union division commander Peter J. Osterhaus precious time to bring up his infantry. While wheeling his troops into position, Gen. McCulloch was killed, as was his successor, James McIntosh. Confusion reigned in the Southern ranks. The remaining Confederates—including a brigade of Native Americans under Gen. Albert Pike—attempted to drive off the Federal attack, but were checked by the arrival of Jefferson C. Davis' division of Yankee infantry. Without support from Price's troops, the remnants of McCulloch's command were forced to withdraw.