Hi Mark -
this is news to me; could you please provide the ref for this? Is it in the O.R. somewhere????
At that time, the 17th Ark. Inf. was apparently commanded by Col. Frank Rector; the Lt.-Col. was John Griffith (my gg-uncle).
Here is an excerpt from an 1895 letter you might be interested in; it is from Ben B. Chism of Paris, Arkansas to John Griffith's sister (my great-grandmother) re the 17th Arkansas Infantry at Elkhorn Tavern:
"I wrote you a short time ago, in which I stated that your letter to Major B.J. [B.P.] Jett relating to your brother Col. John Griffith – had been referred to me to answer. I cannot now furnish you anything ready for publication. I will simply give you as I recall to memory my recollection of your brother’s command-organization, engagements, etc. I have no data to [?] use now whatever and I am plagued that I cannot recall the names of some of the officers – their given names especially."
"The 17th Arks. Infty [sic] Regt. was organized at Cross Hollows, Arks. in Washington County I believe in Fall of 1861. Frank Rector was elected Col. – John Griffith Lt. Col. – Matheson Major. The Regt. went into Winter quarters at Bentonville, Arks. and left there a short time before the battle of Elk Horn (Pea Ridge) – in which battle the Regt. participated on both 7th & 8th March 1862. You had [a] brother either killed or wounded in this battle."
"The Regt. was hard pressed and retired [on the] 8th for want of ammunition, it seemed the Confederate Army had pretty well all left the battlefield before the 17th retreated. The enemy pressed us – hard. I remember this incident – we had little or no ammunition – and were retreating slowly when an artillery officer galloped up to Col. Griffith – who was commanding (Col. Rector, owing to a severe cold could not be heard to give a command) and said to him, “For God’s sake, save my battery!”. Three or four pieces of artillery were coming down a hill side – Col. Griffith answered, “Captain, I have no ammunition, but I can use the bayonet!”. The command was given “By [?] Regiment into line – guard against cavalry”. In this position we stood in line – until the Federal Cavalry had flanked us pretty well on the left, getting into our rear – at this juncture a Missouri (Confd.) Regt. passed near to us – making its way after our retreating army."
"When it was found the enemy was in or nearly in our rear, the command was given to move, and we started at a double quick, but we could not follow the army – my recollection is we moved North – pursued by the Federal Cavalry – we were cut off from the main army and the pursuit of us by the enemies’ cavalry continued ‘till late in the evening. When traveling in the mountains we [returned to?] the army. At this time Genl. Pike was seen making his way from the direction of the battlefield accompanied by two or three aids [sic]. He was hailed by Col. Griffith and asked what should [be] done. Genl. Van Dorn had retreated to the Northeast and we were making our way in a South or Southwestern direction [here Chism inserts “North or Northeast” as an apparent afterthought/correction]. Genl. Pike told Col. Griffith to disband his Regt. and let them go in squads of five or six men and make their way to Van Buren, [to] fall in with the Army there. This was [the] cause of the 17th Ark. breakup – for not more than half of the Regt. reported at Van Buren to go on East of the Miss. river, the Regt. numbering some 200 went with Gen’l. Van Dorn to Corinth, Miss. – reaching that point some time in April ’62. Here the Regt. was reorganized, John Griffith elected Col., Joseph Dodson Lt. Col., B.P. Jett Major."
Again, I am VERY interested in the details re Asboth's men mixing it up with members of the 17th Ark. Inf. at Bentonville on Feb. 18, 1862. Wonder if the 17th Ark. men were on leave or actually doing something official there in Bentonville...?????