The Civil War battle at Prairie Grove, Arkansas was discussed at this week's meeting of the Wichita Falls, Texas Civil War Roundtable.
Jack Hill, leader of the Roundtable, talked about his recent trip to the Arkansas battlefield with another member of the group to observe the re-enactment of the battle in memory of the 150th anniverary of that battle. Located in the midst of the beautiful Ozark Mountain area, the field was stained with blood during the fierce battle in which the Federals suffered 1,25l casualties and the Confederates lost 1, 317 men.
The brutal battle resulted in a tactical stalemate but secured northwest Arkansas for the Union. Running low on artillery, Confederate troops were forced to abandon the field and were never able to mount a serious threat in Arkansas again.
General Thomas C. Hindman led the Southern troops in this battle which was a turning point in the western part of the Civil War. General James G.Blunt and Francis Herron were in command of the Northern forces.
The Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park is nationally known as one of the most intact Civil War battlefields.
Observers could feel the shock waves from the cannons which fired gunpowder at each other through-out the back and forth re-enactment of the encounter.
More than 1500 re-enactment soldiers participated in this accurate portrayal of the battle. Re-enactments may be observed by people every other year at the battlefield just outside of Prairie Grove, Arkansas, about 10 miles west of Fayateville, Arkansas.
There is an excellent museum located at the battlefield which provides voluminous information about the battle.
The Roundtable also made plans to visit the re-enactment of the Battle Of Gettysburg in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, scheduled for July 4, 2013 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of that decisive fight.
The members also listened to a presentation of Dr. Gary Gallagher, professor of history at the University of Virginia. Gallagher discussed the Union's dramatic victory at Chattanooga, Tenn., in which Federal troops surprised their commander General Ulysses Grant by making a 400 foot ascent up a hill to rout Southern soldiers who were in control of the summit. Grant had only ordered the troops to advance to a lower level on the hill.
Gallagher gave his opinion that although Grant was probably considered the top Union general after he won the Battle of Vicksburg, he cemented his position after leading a successful campaign through Tennessee. While the victory at Chattanooga was certainly a major victory for Grant, he won several other triumphs without loss during his Tennessee campaign.
Gallagher explained that Grant was supported by two of the other Union's top generals in General William Tecumseh Sherman and General Philip Sheridan during the Tennessee campaign.
Civil War historian Hill explained the astonishing climb under gunfire was made possible when Confederate engineers dug their trenches too close to the summit which allowed the blue-clad Union soldiers to remain hidden from the Confederate soldiers in gray until the very last minute.
Dr. Gallagher also discussed the possibility of the tide to the war being turned if either Britain or France had sided with the Confederacy.
Hill agreed but said he thought that opportunity was lost when the Union prevailed at the Battle of Antietam.
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