General John Marmaduke and his Confederate cavalry were out on a limb. Fifty miles north of the Rebel base at Fort Smith, Arkansas, he had a plan to isolate and destroy the Federal command under James Blunt located twenty miles farther north. This, he figured, could best be done by urging the rest of the Confederate troops at Fort Smith to hurry along to his aide. Meanwhile, he had learned that a regiment of Unionist Arkansas troops were stationed near the old Pea Ridge battlefield. Instead of waiting for the Rebel infantry and artillery to show up, he decided to take action.
By the 27th, he was ready to ride out. His men, however, were not, and so he postponed the excursion until the morning of this day. But that never happened either.