The Battle of Cane Hill
Backstory and Context
On November 28, 1862, Brigadier General James G. Blunt led Union soldiers from the Department of Missouri into a battle against Brigadier General John Marmaduke and Confederate soldiers from two cavalry brigades.
In late November 1862, Brig. Gen. John Marmaduke’s cavalry was detached from Van Buren by Major General Thomas C Hindman and sent north to occupy the Cane Hill area. After learning of Marmaduke’s movement, Brig. Gen. James Blunt advanced in an attempt to meet and destroy Marmaduke’s command. The Union frontline encountered Colonel Joe Shelby’s brigade, who fought a delaying action to protect their supply trains. Until he was able to establish a strong defensive perimeter on Cove Creek, where he could resist a strong attack, Shelby gradually gave ground to the Union soldiers.
Following the battle, Union troops withdrew to Cane Hill while the Confederate troops returned to Van Buren. Marmaduke and the two cavalry brigades he led fought well bringing a tactical victory to the Confederates. However, Marmaduke’s withdrawal set back Maj. Gen. Hindman’s plans for recapturing northwest Arkansas.
It is estimated there were a total of 475 casualties at the Battle of Cane Hill. Of those 475 casualties, 435 were Confederate soldiers. The Confederate’s may have obtained a tactical victory at the Battle of Cane Hill, however, a victory at Prairie Grove just a few weeks later solidified Union control over the region.