Monday, March 12, 2012

Pea Ridge, battle to save Missouri - Military Monday

The battle of Pea Ridge was fought March 6-8, 1862, in northwest Arkansas. The battle was a culmination of the pushing of Confederate troops out of the State of Missouri by Union commander, Brig. Gen. Samuel R. Curtis. Having forced Maj. Gen. Sterling Price and the pro-Confederate Missouri State Guard in to Arkansas, Curtis sealed Union-control of Missouri when he defeated the Confederate forces near Elkhorn Tavern on March 8.
Battle of Pea Ridge, Ark., by Kurz & Allison, Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-pga-01888, repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
One hundred and fifty years later the Pea Ridge National Military Park held a sesquicentennial event commemorating the battle March 9-11, 2012. The weekend included artillery, cavalry and infantry demonstrations as well as re-enactor exhibits.

If it weren't for the mini-vans and tourists with digital cameras, it would almost seem real.

I have documentation that my fourth great-grandfather, Isaac M. Riffe, participated in Pea Ridge. According to his Civil War record posted on the Missouri State Archives website, he was wounded in the left hand and taken prisoner by Capt. A. Allen. He was soon released on parole, which he subsequently forfeited, returning to the Confederate Army. He was a member of Co. A, 4th Missouri Infantry, Missouri State Guard.
A Confederate Soldier with the Missouri State Guard flag.
There is something very special about walking a Civil War battlefield in the same footsteps as an ancestor. I hope that I will be lucky enough to visit other sesquicentennial celebrations in the next few years.

For more information on Pea Ridge, check out the following:
The Battle of Pea Ridge, Civil War Trust
Pea Ridge National Military Park

2 comments:

Russ Worthington said...

Heather,

Thank you for posting this.

I am really interested in Pea Ridge, as my Great-Grandfather fought there in the 11th Kansas Cav. While you were at the re-enactment, might you have run across that unit? I am looking for some documentation. I have copies of letters that he "wrote home" from that battlefield.

Thank you,

Russ

Heather Kuhn Roelker said...

Russ-
I did not have an opportunity to spend much time in the museum at the battle field, so I am not sure if there is information there on the 11th KS CAV. I did look at the order of battle for Pea Ridge and there is no listing for that unit. However, I did notice that they came to the Pea Ridge area later in the war. Is it possible those letters are from that time period? You might contact the park and see what information they have regarding events after the battle. http://www.nps.gov/peri/parkmgmt/index.htm