Cane Hill College
While the surviving building
dates from the post-war era,
Cane Hill College was an
important Civil War landmark.
Cove Creek Valley
The fighting at Cane Hill
pushed Confederate troops
across the ridge into the Cove
Creek Valley.
The Battle of Cane Hill - Canehill, Arkansas - The Battle of Cane Hill, Arkansas - The Battle of Cane Hill, Arkansas
The Battle of Cane Hill
On November 28, 1862, 5,000 Union soldiers
attacked three brigades of Confederate cavalry in
the Battle of Cane Hill, Arkansas.
The Battle Before Prairie Grove
The first shots of the Prairie Grove Campaign
were fired on November 28, 1862, at the
Battle of Cane Hill, Arkansas.

One of the oldest settlements in
Arkansas, Cane Hill (now condensed to
Canehill) was then the location of three small
communities: Boonesboro, Russellville and
Newburg. Located just seven miles south-
west of modern Prairie Grove, the settlement
was the location of a mill, farms and Cane
Hill College, one of the state's most
important early educational institutions.

The community took on military significance
in 1862 as Confederate Major General
Thomas C. Hindman pushed cavalry forces
north to Cane Hill in anticipation of a
movement north from the Arkansas River
Valley by his main army. Led by Brigadier
General John S. Marmaduke, three brigades
of Southern horsemen followed a Union
scouting party over the Boston Mountains
and took up positions at Cane Hill. Some
minor skirmishing took place in the vicinity on
November 25th.

Alerted that something was afoot, Union
Brigadier General James G. Blunt organized
his forces and marched south on the
morning of November 27, 1862, with 5,000
men. The rugged terrain of Northwest
Arkansas impeded the march and it was not
until the morning of the 28th that Blunt was
ready to attack.

Advancing through a ravine on the north side
of Cane Hill, Blunt rolled back Confederate
skirmishers and moved into line of battle in
full view of an outnumbered Southern force
commanded by Colonel "Fighting" Jo Shelby.
The Confederates opened fire with artillery
and the Federals swung their own cannon
into position and returned fire. For roughly an
hour, the two sides exchanged fire.

Knowing they were outnumbered, Shelby and
Marmaduke waged a staggered defense at
Cane Hill. As the Union troops deployed and
prepared to attack, the Confederates would
withdraw back to another line. This forced
Blunt to redeploy his men over and over as
the battle moved south across ridges and
valleys. In fact, after nine hours of fighting, the
Federals still had not driven off Marmaduke.

After a severe fight on the slopes of Rich
Mountain, which separated Cane Hill from
the nearby Cove Creek Valley, the Southern
troops withdrew down the mountain into the
valley.  Believing the Confederates were on
the run, Union cavalry stormed after them
and charged headlong into a carefully laid
Taking advantage of a narrow pass formed
by Cove Creek and a rocky bluff, Southern
troops stunned attacking Federals charging
down Cove Creek Road. The Union forces
fell back in disorder, but rallied in time to beat
back a Confederate counterattack. The battle
then came to a close as a Southern officer
went forward under a flag of truce to ask for
time to treat the dead and wounded.

Although Blunt occupied Cane Hill after the
engagement, the position did not enable to
delay the march of Hindman's army to the
Battle of Prairie Grove just nine days later.

Cane Hill is located Highway 45 southwest of
Prairie Grove, Arkansas. Information on a
developing driving tour of the battlefield can
be obtained at Prairie Grove Battlefield State
Park on U.S. Highway 62 in Prairie Grove.
Battle of Cane Hill
Confederate artillery fired
from this ridge during the
Battle of Cane Hill.
Confederate Ambush Scene
The last fighting of the Battle
of Cane Hill took place here
on Cove Creek Road when
Confederates ambushed
charging Union cavalry.
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Copyright 2011 by Dale Cox
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