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Bentonville Detour

Confederate General Earl Van DornWhen Confederate Major General Van Dorn's troops reached Bentonville, Sigel had already left McKissick's Creek and was seen leaving Bentonville by Van Dorn's advance guard. His plan to defeat the Federals in detail had failed. Van Dorn sent skirmishers after Sigel's force and continued after them until they found that the Federals had constructed strong entrenchments at Little Sugar Creek.

Now Van Dorn improvised a new plan. He would go around the Federals and attack them from the rear by following the Bentonville Detour around Big Mountain (also called Elkhorn (also called Big) Mountain or Pea Ridge). The Bentonville Detour joined the Wire Road north of Elkhorn Tavern. When Van Dorn reached this point, his army would be between Curtis's army and Curtis's supply lines. Events would not go according to his plan.

The following directions take you along the route followed by Van Dorn's Army. The Bentonville Detour starts about a mile east of Bentonville, Arkansas and ends at the Wire Road about 2.5 miles north of Elkhorn Tavern.

This route is based on the extensive research done by Hess, Shea, Piston, and Hatcher in their Wilson's Creek, Pea Ridge, and Prairie Grove: A Battlefield Guide, with a Section on Wire Road (This Hallowed Ground: Guides to Civil Wa)

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