Do you have a favorite Civil War battle to study in the Trans-Mississippi Region? Or favorite battlefield to visit in that region?
One of my favorite battles of any of the three regions is Pea Ridge. Two very mixed bags of combatants, with a bold enveloping movement by Confederate General Van Dorn met by an equally bold reversing of his entire battle line by Federal General Curtis. Curtis’ move reminds me of a number of the battles of the Seven Years War in Europe, such as Zorndorf, or Torgau.
Pea Ridge and Wilson’s Creek of course, but another favorite is Fort Davidson near Pilot Knob, Missouri where Sterling Price got his nose bloodied in September 1864. The site is well preserved, although there is much more commercial intrusion than at the time. Fort Davidson sits in a valley overlooked by the mountains, and you get a good feeling of just how isolated that Union garrison likely felt. Fascinating battle; plus, I had relatives in the Union garrison……
I went to the reenactment at Fort Davidson just last month.
Prairie Grove was a strategically decisive battle with good walking & driving tours. The campaign began as an effort by rebel General Hindman to use his overwhelming force to destroy General Blunt’s isolated division in NW Arkansas. General Francis Herron force-marched his 2 divisions over 100 miles in 4 days in the middle of winter with 20 degree temperatures & went directly into battle. He saved Blunt & the ensuing battle secured Missouri for the remainder of the war.
Shiloh, Fallen Timbers, Champion’s Hill, Stone’s River, Chickamauga, Chattanooga, Franklin. That’s all.
Does Glorieta count? Unique in virtually every aspect – location, units and leaders involved, etc.
I took a tour with a NP ranger at Glorieta several Decembers ago. The guy did a real nice job, despite not being a Civil War only focused ranger. We didn’t get out of the vehicle much because it was freezing and snow was on the ground, but they do a good job explaining what happened. Kind of amazing a battle was fought there. Easy place to visit if one is ever visiting Santa Fe.
And that’s one of the attractions – combining a little ACW history with Santa Fe and Taos.
The Pecos pueblo ruins and old stagecoach grounds that are the core part of the national monument help put the battle and that campaign in perspective. It helps you understand exactly why they were there.
The ranger who took me around that day was more focused on interpreting the pueblo (not during the tour, but in general) and their interaction with the Spanish and other natives, like the plains living Comanches (who destroyed the pueblo).
If Port Hudson counts as Trans-Mississippi, that would be it for me. I am from the area, and used to drive by the park entrance every day on the way to school as a kid. Nice park. The earthworks are still surprisingly large. It’s a fascinating ancillary part of both the Vicksburg campaign and the later Red River campaign.
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