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Federal Occupation of Bentonville

Tour Stop

Directions: During the Federal pursuit of Price's army, the Federals briefly occupied Bentonville, Arkansas. Bentonville also figured in prominently when Van Dorn and his Confederates went on the offensive. During that section of the tour there is another Bentonville Tour Stop describing those events. We recommend that you wait to visit Bentonville during that part of the tour.

Description: After the action at Little Sugar Creek, Curtis decided to take some time to figure out his next move. He was getting further and further away from his supply depot in Lebanon, Missouri. He was also concerned about enemy forces attack his flanks an his supply lines. He was also concerned that the Southerners were leading him into a trap at Cross Hollow. So Curtis decided to look for a way to flank the Southern position at Cross Hollow.

Union General Alexander AsbothHe ordered Brigadier General Alexander S. Asboth to perform a reconnaissance in force to the west towards Bentonville, Arkansas. Asboth took the 4th Missouri Cavalry led by Major Emeric Meszaros and the 5th Missouri Cavalry led by Colonel Joseph Nemett and the Missouri Flying Battery on this reconnaissance. For artillery, Asboth took the 1st Missouri Flying Artillery Battery commanded by Captain Gustavus M. Elbert.

On the morning of February 18th Asboth set out for Bentonville and occupied the town, finding it largely deserted. Asboth reported capturing 32 rebel prisoners. He sent back this message to Curtis at Little Sugar Creek:

“I have the honor to report that I entered this place with my command at 20 minutes past 12 o'clock, taking down the secession flag floating from the court-house, and securing a number of prisoners and arms. I hold now quiet possession of the surrounded town, and, searching all the houses, will collect further arms and ammunition. ”

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