After months of reverses, the Union army is going on the offensive in the early spring of 1862. In Virginia, Gen. McClellan is preparing for his Peninsula Campaign; in Tennessee, Gen. Grant has just captured Ft. Henry and Ft. Donelson; and in southwestern Missouri, Gen. Samuel R. Curtis has driven Sterling Price and his Missouri State Guard out of the state and into the arms of Gen. Ben McCulloch's Confederate army in northwestern Arkansas. Using the united armies of Price and McCulloch, the new Confederate department commander, Earl Van Dorn, strikes back at Curtis' Federal army which is now outnumbered and two hundred miles from its supply base. For two days in early March 1862, the armies of Van Dorn and Curtis fight in the wilds of the Ozark Mountains at a place called Pea Ridge. Control of northern Arkansas and southern Missouri for the rest of the war hangs on the outcome.