On Sunday, December 7, 1862, Confederate forces under General Thomas Hindman attacked the Federals at Prairie Grove, twelve miles southwest of Fayetteville, Arkansas. Hindman knew that Union forces were stretched thin, defending both Missouri and Arkansas, and he hoped to engage and destroy the Union forces. However, Union troops after a hard march from Missouri reinforced Arkansas’ Union force and prevailed against Hindman’s Confederates.
The bitter winter cold and the effectiveness of Union artillery forced the Confederates to withdraw from Prairie Grove during the night. The Federals suffered 1251 total casualties out of an estimated force of 10,000, while the Confederates suffered 1317 total casualties out of a similarly estimated 10,000 troops. Confederate fortunes in northwest Arkansas declined markedly after the battle of Prairie Grove.