Civil War letter from Samuel Minot Jones to his brother, March 16, 1862




Civil War letter from Samuel Minot Jones to his brother, March 16, 1862


Jones, Samuel Minot, 1836-1912
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Correspondence
Pea Ridge, Battle of, Ark., 1862


Letter written from Samuel Minot Jones to his brother while Samuel was camped on the battlefield at Sugar Creek, Arkansas. Details how the Union won the pivotal Civil War battle at Pea Ridge despite being outnumbered three to one by Confederate forces.


Jones, Samuel Minot, 1836-1912


Jones Library Special Collections


1862 March 16


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From the Jones Family Collection





Original Format



In camp on Sugar Creek Ark
March 16, 1862

My dear Brother,

You have doubtless seen ere this will reach you the full particulars of our great fight, and as I do not feel in a writing mood I shall not go into details, but merely state a few facts to you which will be likely to be kept in the dark by those in high position. Our whole army fell back some fifteen miles from the advance we first made, and on the bluffs of Sugar Creek made preparations to receive the enemy if he advanced, and if we found they were in too heavy force for us, we had the way open to fall back. Imagine our surprise when, on the morning of the 7th of March at about 10 o'clock, it was found the enemy had thrown their whole force into our rear and on our right. The truth is we had been entirely outgeneraled and were forced to fight a vastly superior force and to whip them or surrender. By a train of circumstances which seem little less than miraculous, and the unflinching valor of our troops, we accomplished the former against odds of three to one. What I consider gained the day for us was the killing of McCulloch and McIntosh the afternoon of the first day, by our Brigade in its encounter with their forces and the Indians under Pike and Ross. When they were killed, their troops were thrown into confusion and their reserve which amounted to some thousands failed to come up, leaving our boys victors. Meanwhile Price had been fighting Carr directly in our rear and had been gaining ground all day, having taken three of our cannon. So the first day closed. Our boys bivouacked on the field they had so dearly won. Towards morning it was found that the forces our Division had met and routed had left their portion of the field (since ascertained that, discouraged by the loss of their generals, they had all retreated in the night) leaving us Van Dorn and Price to fight the next day with our whole force, which we did and after a hard fight of four hours completely whipped them at all points. Had we been obliged to fight their whole combined army the second day we should have had a terrible tough time of it.


Jones, Samuel Minot, 1836-1912, “Civil War letter from Samuel Minot Jones to his brother, March 16, 1862,” Digital Amherst, accessed June 16, 2024,