Francis J. Herron and Staff
General Herron (center) wrote
the preliminary report on the
Battle of Dripping Springs. A
Union hero, he received the
Medal of Honor for his role in
the Battle of Pea Ridge and
later was one of the three
generals named by Ulysses
S. Grant to lead the victorious
army into Vicksburg on July 4,
1863. He died a pauper in
New York in 1902.
The Battle of Dripping Springs - Eyewitness Accounts - The Battle of Dripping Springs, Arkansas - The Battle of Dripping Springs, Arkansas
Reports and Eyewitness Accounts
Battle of Dripping Springs

Hdqrs. 2d and 3d Divs., Army of the Frontier
Van Buren, Ark.
December 29, 1862

Report of Brig. Gen. Francis J. Herron, U.S. Army

…Yesterday morning we left north side of the mountains, General Blunt taking
Cove Creek road and I taking Telegraph road. It was a terrible trip. We formed
junction at daylight this morning, and pushed the cavalry into Van Buren without
halting. Two regiments of cavalry were encamped at Dripping Springs and showed
fight, but after killing a few and wounding some, they left….

Official Records, Series 1, Volume XXII, pages 168-169.


Headquarters Second and Third Divisions
Prairie Grove, Ark.
December 31, 1862

Report of Brig. Gen. Francis J. Herron, U.S. Army

At daybreak on the 27th, we moved out of camp, with picked men of the whole
command, General Blunt going from Cane Hill, by the Cove Creek route, while I
took the Telegraph or mountain road. We marched all of that day and until 3 o’clock
the next morning, crossing the mountains successfully, and forming a junction at
Oliver’s Store, 18 miles from the river. Getting information in regard to their camps,
pickets, &c., General Blunt instructed me to advance all my cavalry, leaving Huston,
with the infantry and artillery, to follow up. The general and myself pushed on with
the advance guard, striking their first picket 3 miles from Oliver’s. After firing upon
us, they ran, we following them into the camp at Dripping Springs. Here a regiment
was formed in line, but our cavalry charged and drove them in great disorder,
capturing wagons, tents, and all their equipage complete…They made three
attempts to check us between Dripping Springs and Van Buren, but were driven
every time. The last 10 miles was traveled in one hour, the whole cavalry force
going in at a gallop.

Official Records, Series 1, Volume XXII, page 169.


Headquarters Hindman’s Division
Little Rock, Ark.
February 15, 1863

Report of Maj. Gen. T.C. Hindman, C.S. Army

…One of Fagan’s infantry regiments, with a section of artillery, remained at Van
Buren, and one regiment of cavalry, under Lieut. Col. R.P. Crump, was posted at
Dripping Springs, 9 miles north of that place, instructed to picket at Oliver’s, 19
miles north, and at corresponding points on all other roads leading toward the
enemy, scouting actively on each road, and keeping up constant patrols by day and
night between the several picket stations.

…On December 28, at 10 a.m., Lieutenant-Colonel Crump reported to my by
courier that the enemy was advancing on the Cove Creek road in heavy force of
cavalry, infantry, and artillery….

Official Records, Series 1, Volume XXII, page 171.


Britton, Wiley.  
Memoirs of the Rebellion on the Border, 1863.  Chicago:  Cushing,
Thomas, 1882., pages 61-64.

…But when we crossed Lee’s Creek we were still about twenty miles from Van
Buren. We continued to march along leisurely, occasionally halting a few moments
to allow the infantry and artillery to close up, until towards eight o’clock, when a
report came along the column that our advance guard had come upon the enemy’
s pickets who, on discovering us, fled towards their camp in the direction of Van
Buren. Our advance pursued them closely, so that they should not reach their
camp in time to give the rebel troops many moments warning of our approach. Our
movements gradually quickened, and shortly our cavalry was in full gallop, which
was kept up for five or six miles and until we came in sight of the enemy’s camp at
Dripping Springs. In the meantime Gen. Blunt, who had kept up with us, sent back
an order for the artillery and infantry to move forward with a quick step. The enemy,
under command of Col. Crump, of a Texas cavalry regiment, were encamped
along the north side of a hill, and immediately north of their camp were several
fields with intermediate spaces covered with undergrowths of woods. But when we
came to the fences inclosing the fields, there was scarcely a moment’s delay, for
they were instantly thrown down and we came into line of battle in a trot, and
charged across the field in a full gallop, and when within fifty yards of the enemy’s
camp, delivered a volley into the ranks of those who had formed in line and thought
of making a stand. The Second Kansas cavalry took the left of our line, and the
Sixth Kansas cavalry and several companies of the Third Wisconsin cavalry the
right. Gen. Blunt ordered the bugles to sound the charge, and with gleaming
sabers we dashed forward like a whirlwind, throwing up a perfect cloud of dust.
The enemy did not wait to feel the edges of our sabers, but fled in the direction of
Van Buren, and in their flight left their tents, camp, and supplies of every kind in our

After charging through their camp we could not preserve our line of battle in perfect
order, on account of the broken condition of the ground. Nor was it necessary as
the enemy had broken up completely, and thought only of saving themselves. We
were cautious, however, as we did not know but that they had formed another line
back some distance, with the determination of contesting our advance. The Sixth
Kansas cavalry and Third Wisconsin cavalry, therefore, moved right straight
forward over the steep hill south of their camp. But when we were passing down
the southern slope of the hill, we saw from the clouds of dust hanging over the
high road leading to Van Buren, that they had no intention of making a stand short
of that place. We also learned from several rebel soldiers and teamsters, whom
we had captured, that they were completely surprised, and that their retreat had
become a stampede.
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