14. The Battle of Elkhorn Tavern (Pea Ridge) gave the Union control of most of Southern Missouri
Missouri did not secede from the Union during the Civil War, though it remained a slave state and its sympathy divided. During the war it was never fully pacified by Union troops. Its neighbor Arkansas did secede, and hoped to use troops from its ranks to support the slave sympathizers in Missouri at the beginning of the war. In March, 1862, Union forces from Missouri moved into northern Arkansas. By March 7 they occupied positions near Leetown. Over half of the more than 10,000 Union troops were recently arrived German immigrants, and commands in German were common in the camps, on the march, and in battle. They were opposed by the Confederate troops under Major General Earl Van Dorn. Among his subcommanders was Major General Sterling Price of the Missouri State Guard. The Confederates outnumbered the Union, with about 16,000 men.
The battle was fought near Elkhorn Tavern, along a series of bluffs known as Pea Ridge. It is often referred to as the Battle of Pea Ridge as a result. The Confederate troops included Cherokee units from the Indian Territory, as well as Choctaw and Creek units, though the latter two were not engaged in the fighting. The remainder of the Confederate Army was comprised mainly of units from Texas, Arkansas, and Missouri. The Union Army was built of troops from Indiana, Iowa, Illinois, Ohio, and Missouri. With troops from Missouri on both sides of the battle, it was truly a case of neighbor against neighbor, relatives against their own families, brother against brother. The two-day battle saw the Union prevail against the numerically superior Confederates, seizing control of most of Missouri and Arkansas. Bloody guerrilla warfare continued throughout the region in its wake.