Action at Oxford Bend

aka: Action at McGuire's


Washington County


Prairie Grove Campaign


October 28, 1862

Principal Commanders:

Brigadier General Francis J. Herron (US); Colonel Jesse L. Cravens (CS)

Forces Engaged:

First Iowa Cavalry, Seventh Missouri State Militia Cavalry (US); Cravens’s Texas Cavalry Brigade (CS)

Estimated Casualties:

5 wounded—1 mortally (US); 8 killed, 7 wounded (CS)


Union victory

As part of Major General Thomas C. Hindman’s initial attempt to threaten Fayetteville (Washington County) and gain control of northwestern Arkansas in fall 1862, this skirmish preceded the Battle of Prairie Grove by more than a month.

At daylight on October 28, 1862, a combined force of approximately 1,000 men from Colonel James O. Gower’s First Iowa Cavalry and Colonel John F. Phillips’s Seventh Missouri State Militia Cavalry (US) of Brigadier General Francis J. Herron’s Army of the Frontier attacked a Confederate camp at Oxford Bend in Washington County, four miles east of Fayetteville. There, they engaged approximately 3,000 cavalrymen commanded by Colonel Jesse L. Cravens of Major General Thomas C. Hindman’s Trans-Mississippi Corps. Cravens’s brigade consisted of Bass’s Texas Cavalry, Stone’s Texas Cavalry, Hawpe’s Texas Cavalry, and Alexander’s Texas Cavalry.

The Confederates hoped to obtain a supply of wheat and other general forage reported to be at McGuire’s Store, as well as at two mills located a few miles east of Fayetteville. Surprised and routed by the aggressive Federal attack, the Confederates abandoned their camp, supplies, equipment, and wagons, as well as any aspirations for obtaining supplies at McGuire’s Store or the vicinity.

After this one-hour engagement, Federals reported five wounded (including one mortally wounded), while Confederate casualties numbered eight killed and seven wounded. Herron ordered the First Iowa Cavalry to pursue the Confederates for several miles as they retreated into the Boston Mountains, but they made no additional contact.

For additional information:
Hughes, Michael A. “Wartime Gristmill Destruction in Northwest and Military Farm Colonies.” In Civil War Arkansas: Beyond Battles and Leaders, edited by Anne J. Bailey and Daniel E. Sutherland. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 2000.

Shea, William L. Fields of Blood: The Prairie Grove Campaign. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 2009.

The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Series 1, Vol. 13. Washington DC: Government Printing Office, 1885.

Robert Patrick Bender
Eastern New Mexico University–Roswell


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