Fight at Foster's Farm

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The morning of March 7th, after Van Dorn split his Confederate army into two divisions, Ben McCulloch and his division of seven thousand troops from Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas and the Indian Territory march down the Ford Road towards the intersection of the Ford and Telegraph Roads and the Federal supplies nearby. The Union army commander General Samuel Curtis, upon learning of an unknown Confederate force advancing on his right flank from the Twelve Corners Church area, sends Colonel Peter Osterhaus and 1600 Union troops to take care of what Curtis believes to be a diversion. Osterhaus advances through the Leetown Hamlet with the faster moving elements of his troops, his cavalry and artillery, and leaves the infantry under the command of Colonel Nicholas Greusel to advance as quickly as possible towards this Confederate threat. Osterhaus leads his small cavalry and artillery command on the Leetown Road towards the Foster farm and the Twelve Corner’s Church area. Osterhaus orders Greusel to form in Oberson’s field and the cavalry and artillery under Colonel Cyrus Bussey to advance on the unknown Confederate force. When Bussey and Osterhaus’s Union troops leave the woods at Foster’s Farm, Osterhaus realizes that, marching down the Ford Road is not a Confederate diversion meant to distract the Union from their fortifications at Little Sugar Creek, but rather a sizable enemy force heading towards the vulnerable Union supplies just a mile and a half down the Ford Road. Knowing he could not allow the Confederates to continue or the Union army risked losing their supply trains and the exposure of the Federal rear, Osterhaus orders Bussey to form and attack the much larger Confederate force. Wheeling his three artillery pieces and forming up his cavalry, Bussey follows orders. The Union artillery shells the Confederates, and the cavalry prepared to advance. Brigadier General Benjamin McCulloch, leader of the Confederate division advancing down the Ford Road, is startled by the Union attack and orders Confederate artillery to answer. Colonel John J. Good’s Texas battery wheels into line and fires a few rounds at the small Union force. Brigadier General James McIntosh, second in command to McCulloch, leads 3,000 Confederate cavalrymen from Texas and Arkansas across Foster’s Farm and quickly overtakes the outnumbered Union troops. The overwhelmed Federals frantically fell back towards their infantry comrades deployed in Oberson’s Field. The fight at Foster’s farm witnessed one of the last Napoleonic cavalry charges on American soil.