What to know
On December 3, 1862, Confederate Gen. Thomas Hindman entered the Boston Mountains from the Arkansas River Valley, intent on destroying a Union force under Gen. James G. Blunt at Cane Hill, then invading Missouri. Blunt, learning of Hindman's advance, sent for reinforcements from Springfield, Missouri. Gen. Francis Herron made the 110-mile trek to Fayetteville in three days, then headed west where he encountered Hindman's army on high ground at Prairie Grove on December 7. Herron and Hindman engaged in a see-saw battle, and the Union troops were about to be overwhelmed when Blunt hit the Rebel left, having moved from Cane Hill to Rhea's Mills, then to Prairie Grove. Hindman, low on ammunition and having suffered heavy casualties, muffled the wheels on his cannon and wagons and retreated south that night. Hindman's Approach (Thomas Hindman's First Corps of the Army of the Trans-Mississippi – 11,000 men and 22 cannon – headed north into the Boston Mountains on December 3, 1862, to combat Federal troops at Prairie Grove.) Start at the intersection of Hwy 59 and Liberty Hill Road north of Natural Dam. Follow Liberty Hill Road to Bakers Gap Road to Cove Creek Road to Hogeye Road into Prairie Grove. Herron's Approach (Francis Herron's Union troops marched from Springfield, Missouri, on December 4, 1862, and marched the 110 miles to Fayetteville in three days. When his troops went into battle at Prairie Grove on December 7 only about half of the 7,000 men who had left Springfield had completed the grueling march.) Start at the Arkansas/Missouri border on Hwy 37 to Gateway then US 62 to Rogers then US 71B to Springdale then Hwy 265 to Hwy 45 to US 71B to Hwy 180 to US 62 to Farmington then Hwy 170 to US 62 into Prairie Grove. Blunt's Approach (James Blunt's Federals marched from Cane Hill after hearing the sound of gunfire at Prairie Grove. They moved to Rhea's Mills, then swung south to hit the Confederate left flank just as the Rebels threatened to envelop Herron's foot-sore soldiers.) Start at Cane Hill on Hwy 45 to US 62 then Wedington Blacktop Road to Bethel Blacktop Road. The calvary and infantry split at the intersection of Bethel Blacktop and Battlefield Park Roads. Cavalry - Bethel Blacktop Road to Viney Grove Road into Prairie Grove. Infantry - Bethel Blacktop Road to Battlefield Park Road to Ditmars Road to Bush Street into Prairie Grove.