14219 College, WC 4762

Cane Hill AR 72717

Cane Hill was one of the first settlements after Lovely County was formed in 1827, so it was an established town at Civil War time. It had several of our County's early mills and a number of prosperous farms. So it was valued for the food it could provide for troops. Since a number of the citizens were Confederate supporters, it was often a site for "foraging" expeditions by the Confederate army. It was the site of a Civil War battle on November 28, 1862, but also saw other skirmishes.

From the Arkansas River Valley, Cane Hill could be reached by either the old Military (Line) road along the state line, or by Cove Creek and Van Buren Roads. Since the Confederate army was not well supplied from the east, Cane Hill provided the best source of food and fodder supplies.

Around November 6, 1862, General Hindman sent a Missouri cavalry unit of some 300 men under Emmett MacDonald to collect badly needed food and fodder for his troops in the Valley. General Blunt got word of this and sent several hundred men from Kansas, Ohio and Indian cavalry units with some artillery under Colonel Cloud. Cloud's men quickly put MacDonald's troops to flight back down Cove Creek Road. Cloud followed until they were across the mountains, capturing a lot of supplies and killing or wounding 12 or so men. In a couple days, Hindman sent his entire cavalry force of around 2000 to Cane Hill via the Line Road to finish the foraging that had been interrupted. Union forces felt that Hindman would follow with his entire force. General Blunt assumed a defensive position at Flint Creek and Union Generals Totten and Herron were told to prepare to move to support Blunt at Cane Hill. But all remained quiet for a two weeks or so.

On November 24, General Blunt decided to move on Hindman's forces under General Marmaduke at Cane Hill but waited two days on a supply train. On Thanksgiving Day he led some 5000 men south, stopping overnight near Rhea's Mill. The next morning, November 28, they left about 6 AM down Ridge Road, a direct but little used road to Cane Hill. Marmaduke was planning an attack on an Arkansas Union cavalry unit at Elkhorn Tavern when he learned of Blunt's approach. To cover the hasty exit of his supply wagons toward the south, Marmaduke set up defenses to delay Blunt's forces around the Cane Hill cemetery. After an artillery duel, Marmaduke soon realized the size of Blunt's force and ordered his men to pull back, covering each other's withdrawal. Marmaduke made another stand near Newburg (present day Clyde) to give his supply train more time to cross the mnountains. They were soon routed and another stand was made on Reed's Mountain east of Clyde where an infantry battle occurred. But in a few hours Maramdukes men, running low on ammunition and being pounded by Union artillery, withdrew toward Cove Creek Road. Blunt still pressed his pursuit and Marmaduke had to make another stand to protect his supplies. Finally dark brought the battle to an end with Marmaduke continuing to the south, notifying Hindman he had suffered a setback but with more ammunition and supplies he felt Blunt was still vulnerable. Blunt of course felt he had badly whipped and chased the Rebels back to the Valley.

Blunt's forces trooped back to Cane Hill ransacking farms along the way, and began a looting and pillaging of Cane Hill that Blunt ordered stopped. Some of the Union men found an abandoned printing press and managed to print a newspaper called Buck and Ball. It has been reported that the printing press included type in the Cherokee and had likely been removed from Park Hill in Indian Territory.

Blunt believed the Confederates were unlikely to return across the mountains that winter. But he did not reckon with Marmaduke's and Hindman's determination to return to Missouri.

Fields of Blood, The Prairie Grove Campaign by William L Shea
The Fighting Printers of Company E by Kim Allen Scott, Arkansas Historical Quarterly Autumn 1987

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