On the first day of September, 1887, over twenty-five years after the battle of Pea Ridge was fought, the people, with the surviving veteran soldiers, met on that famous field to commemorate the event, and to witness the unveiling of the monument erected to the memory of Gens. McCulloch, McIntosh and Slack, and other brave Confederates who fell on that occasion. The camp-ground for the reunion was established one mile southwest of Elkhorn Tavern, near a fine gushing spring in a densely shaded grove. Here thousands of people, including many veterans, assembled to enjoy the occasion. From this lovely spot in plain view lay the high point where once stood Sigel’s battery, and off to the southwest of him was the Round Mountain, where stood the Confederate battery. The points where McCulloch and McIntosh lost their lives were still a mile or so further west and southwest of Sigel’s battery.
About 100 yards southwest of the old tavern stands the monument built by the people of Benton County to the memory of their fallen heroes. The square pedestal that rises from the base has an inscription on each side, as follows: On the north, “Gen. W. Y. Slack, of Missouri;” on the west, “Gen. Ben McCulloch, of Texas;” on the south, “Gen. James McIntosh, of Arkansas,” and on the east, “The brave Confederate dead, who fell on this field March 7 and 8, 1862.” It is a plain, unpretentious shaft of marble that does credit to the donors. Below the pedestal and above the sandstone base is a marble block, upon which the following verses are inscribed:
Oh give me a land where the rains are spread, And the living tread light on the hearts of the dead; Yes. give me a land that is blest by the dust And bright with the deeds of the downtrodden just.
O give me the land with a grave in each spot, And names in the graves that shall not be forgot. Yes, give me the land of the wreck and the tomb; There’s a grandeur in graves, there’s a glory in gloom.
The graves of our dead, with green overgrown. May yet form the footstool of liberty’s throne, And each single wreck in the war-path of might. Shall yet be a rock in the temple of right.
A few yards from the spot where the monument is erected stood Capt. Bledsoe’s battery, which included the famous cannon, “Old Sacramento,” which had seen service through the Mexican War.
The address of welcome was delivered by Col. S. W. Peel, member of Congress from that district, and the response thereto was made by Judge C. A. DeFrance. The latter drew a contrast between the welcome extended to the large number of Federal soldiers who were present, and the terrible reception given them on the spot twenty-five years before. They were then welcomed with bloody hands to gory graves, and now they were welcomed as friends and neighbors, and were happy to accept and extend hospitalities.
Ex-Gov. Lubbock, of Texas, delivered the general address, concluding it by commending both the “Blue and the Grey” for their bravery, and by exhorting his hearers “to stand by the old constitution as it now is, and be a loyal and conservative people.” He was followed by Senator Berry, Judge DeFrance, Col. T. J. Patton and others, who made appropriate short speeches.
Back to: Benton County, Arkansas History
Source: History of Benton, Washington, Carroll, Madison, Crawford, Franklin, and Sebastian Counties, Arkansas. Chicago, IL, USA: Goodspeed Publishing Co., 1889.