Sunday, December 7, 2014

Naming A Battle

After the battle of Agincourt in 1415, English and French heralds who had observed the battle met with King Henry V, and they selected a name for the battle. In all but one instance during the Civil War, informality reigned when it came to choosing a battle’s name, with each side selecting their own name oftentimes for a battle. So we are left often with multiple, and frequently confusing, names for the same battle. Shiloh/Pittsburg Landing, Manassas/Bull Run, Sharpsburg/Antietam, Oak Hills/Wilson’s Creek are just a few examples. So, what is the one exception during the Civil War? The one time when opposing generals agreed upon a battle’s name?

On December 8, 1862, Major General James G. Blunt met his defeated foe, Confederate Major General Thomas C. Hindman. The two men discussed the disposition of the wounded, decided upon a truce, talked about paroling prisoners, and agreed upon the name of the battle that they had fought the day before. The name, as determined by Blunt and Hindman, would be Prairie Grove.

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