At morning on March 7, the caput of the Confederate column had reached Telegraph Road, but the tail was still back at Little Sugar Creek. Van Dorn now made another snap determination: to salvage clip, Price & # 8217 ; s division would continue south on Telegraph Road on the east side of a rocky hill called Big Mountain ; McCulloch & # 8217 ; s division would travel South on Ford Road on the west side of Big Mountain. The two halves of the Army of the West would reunite around midday at Elkhorn Tavern atop the wide tableland of Pea Ridge. There the Confederates would deploy for conflict and progress upon the unsuspicious Federal soldiers from the North. Van Dorn had no scruples about spliting his ground forces in the presence of the enemy because he confidently assumed that the Federal soldiers were still in their munitions at Little Sugar Creek, confronting South.
Van Dorn & # 8217 ; s confident premise was incorrect. Federal patrols detected the Confederate motion on the Bentonville Detour early on March 7, and Curtis acted instantly to prehend the tactical enterprise. He launched two botching onslaughts intended to stop and detain the approaching enemy forces on either side of Big Mountain. While these operations were underway, he began the tremendously complex undertaking of turning his full ground forces around to run into the menace from the North. By the terminal of the twenty-four hours, the Federals atop Pea Ridge had successfully completed a 180-degree alteration of forepart.
The following forenoon, March 8, Curtis waited to see if Van Dorn would go on to press his onslaught. When nil happened, Curtis concluded that the Confederates had shot their bolt and that he now held the I
nitiative. He ordered his heavy weapon to wheel frontward. For two hours, 27 Federal cannons hammered the Confederates at ever-closer scopes. The most intense heavy weapon barrage of the war up to that clip, it made a great feeling on the soldiers who were present. “It was a continual boom, and a chap might hold believed that the twenty-four hours of judgement had come, ” said an Iowa soldier. The enormous noise could be heard 50 stat mis off. The desolation wrought on the Confederates was awful.
About ten o & # 8217 ; clock Curtis ordered a general progress. About 10 thousand Federal soldiers swept across the Fieldss and forests atop Pea Ridge, meeting on Elkhorn Tavern from the West and South. & # 8220 ; That beautiful charge I shall ne’er bury, & # 8221 ; wrote a Federal officer. & # 8220 ; With streamers streaming, with membranophones crushing, and our long line of bluish coats progressing upon the dual quick, with their deathly bayonets glittering in the sunshine, and every adult male and officer shouting at the top of his lungs. The Rebel cry was nowhere in comparison. & # 8221 ; Van Dorn realized that his place was hopeless and ordered a general backdown. The retreat quickly degenerated into a mob after Van Dorn rode off to the E on Huntsville Road, go forthing behind non merely most of his hurt, but besides big Numberss of his work forces who were still engaged. Leaderless, panicked Rebels fled in all waies as 1000s of heartening Federal soldiers met at the tap house. Curtis rode among his work forces, beckoning his chapeau and shouting & # 8220 ; Victory! Victory! & # 8221 ; Despite being outnumbered and surprised by Van Dorn & # 8217 ; s irregular and foolhardy tactics, Curtis had achieved one of the first major Federal triumphs in the Civil War.