The Battle of Pea Ridge was among the largest and most decisive U.S. Civil War battles fought west of the Mississippi River. For two days, over 26,000 soldiers clashed in northwestern Arkansas in a battle that would decide the fate of Missouri. Confederate Brigadier General Benjamin McCulloch, a prominent figure in Texas history, perished in the fighting at Leetown, sparking a series of disasters that ensured Union control of a vital strategic hub for the remainder of the war.
Andy Thomas, Two Generals Die, oil on canvas, Pea Ridge National Military Park, Pea Ridge, Arkansas.
Immortalized in a song by Steve Earle, McCulloch’s story and many connections to some of the most significant events in American history well illuminate the trials of young and growing nation who came to be at war with itself.