THE BATTLE OF PEA RIDGE
(Traditional, collected by Max Hunter in 1958.)
It was on March the Seventh in the year of sixty-two,
We had a sore engagement with Abe Lincoln's crew.
Van Dorn was our commander, as may remembered be.
We lost ten thousand of our men near the Indian Territory.
Pap Price come a-riding up the line. His horse was in a pace,
And as he gave the word "retreat," the tears rolled down his face.
"Ten thousand deaths I'd rather die than they should gain the field."
From that he got a fatal shot which caused him to yield.
At Springfield and Carthage, many a hero fell.
At Lexington and Drywood, as near the truth can tell.
But such an utter carnage as ever I did see
Happened at old Pea Ridge near the Indian Territory.
I know you brave Missouri boys were never yet afraid.
Let's try and form in order, retreat the best we can.
The word "retreat" was passed around, it caused the heathen cry
Helter-skelter through the woods, like lost sheep we did fly.
(An Ozark variant of "St. Clair's Defeat." It contains some
historical inaccuracies. Recorded by Cathy Barton & Dave Para
on "Johnny Whistletrigger: Civil War Songs From the Western Border,"
1993.) See "Battle of Elkhorn Tavern"
@war @battle @Civil