Battle of Pea Ridge

Along with millions of other viewers, I have been thrilled and fascinated with the Ken Burns epic “The Civil War,” currently re-airing on PBS. Obviously, only so many battles and events could be included. But the Battle of Pea Ridge/Elkhorn Tavern fought in northwestern Arkansas in March, 1862, was never mentioned.

Smaller than the later blood baths at Shiloh, Antietam and Gettysburg, it nevertheless had an element no other battle could claim, according to the “Civil War Dictionary” by Lt. Col. Mark M. Boatner III.

Several thousand Creek and Cherokee Indians fought with the Confederacy those two days in March, and many died. Recruited from the Indian Nation (Oklahoma), we can only guess whether promises were made (perhaps they were told they would be fighting for their land).

Another oddity of the battle: Wild Bill Hickok was a scout for the Union Army.


Would their living descendants be displeased to have been included in “The Civil War”? I think not.