Thursday, November 8, 2012

Speedy Marching by the 11th Kansas Infantry

Regular readers of this blog will know that I like to collect accounts of notable marches in the trans-Mississippi, and I thought that the following was impressive enough to share. Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Moonlight in his reminiscences wrote that “No time was lost in making preparations and we marched from Fort Leavenworth on the 4th of October [1862], rested one day in Fort Scott to get rations &c, and marched again through Carthage, Rocky Comfort and Keetsville Missouri to Pea Ridge, Arkansas, where we overtook Schofield’s command. There never was a better march made by any new regiment than made by the 11th Kansas Infantry, an average of 32 miles each day was made from Leavenworth to Pea Ridge, resting only one day at Fort Scott.” 
According to Moonlight, the regiment again exhibited superior marching skills on December 7, 1862, the day the battle of Prairie Grove was fought: “The distance from Cane Hill to Prairie Grove the way we went is 12 miles, and we made it in 2 hours, infantry, artillery, and cavalry—the baggage having gone through the mountain road to Rheas Mills for safety. The booming of cannon was heard while we were about 5 miles off, informing us that Herron & Hindman had met; we renewed our exertions, marching through fields by the right flank four regiments deep, each vying with the other who would reach the scene of coming strife first” (Quotes are from: Kip Lindberg and Matt Matthews, eds., “’The Eagle of the 11th Kansas’: Reminiscences of Colonel Thomas Moonlight,” Arkansas Historical Quarterly 62 [Spring 2003], p. 21, 26).

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