October 21, 1862: Gen. Thomas Hindman is able to convince Gen. Holmes in Little Rock to let him return to his field army. Hindman finds his army just north of Bentonville, and decides to divide his army in order to divide the Federals’ interests. A column of mostly cavalry (and most of them Cherokee and Seminole troopers) under Co. Douglas Cooper veers west toward the Indian Territories, and the rest go with Hindman to the southeast. Schofield, the Union commander, encamped at Pea Ridge, sends Gen. Blunt and his Army of Kansas after Cooper, and he gives chase to Hindman. After a forced march without rations, the Federals find the Confederates still almost 20 miles out of reach, as Hindman moves south into the Boston Mountains. Schofield stops in Huntsville. Blunt, however, pursues his quarry southwest towards Bentonville, and halts to rest along Little Osage Creek. Hearing that the Indian troops under Cooper are just over the state line, he decides to march all night and catch them. Blunt’s troops march all night along Spavinaw Creek, through the hamlet of Maysville. Just before dawn, he halts his army and lets them sleep, hoping to attack Cooper in the morning.
---Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant is at Grand Junction, Tennessee, just a few miles north of the Mississippi state line, and is gathering troops in excess of 45,000. He is preparing to strike at Holly Springs, Mississippi, a major supply depot along the railroad into Mississippi that he plans to use as his line of advance into central Mississippi to capture Vicksburg. Gen. Sherman, in command at Memphis, tells Grant that scouts report nearlyu 20,000 Confederate troops at Holly Springs, under the overall command of Gen. Pemberton. He also passes on to Grant that the Confederates are apparently expecting him to attack them, since deserters have told Sherman of earthworks being built around Holly Springs.