One hundred and fifty years ago, both Confederate and Union armies scattered throughout the state continued demonstrating though military movements in and around Helena, Arkansas. As Curtis’ blue coats found themselves backed against the Mississippi River, forage expeditions were the main sustenance for the invading Yanks in East Arkansas.
As early as the 15th of August, Curtis’ men engaged Confederate forces in Clarendon. Though not a pivotal skirmish by any means, the Federals knew the Confederates were not standing idly by. This occurred on the same day that Thomas C. Hindman, Commander of Confederate f forces in Arkansas, revoked all furloughs given the men in Confederate service in the “Conscription Act”. This, to say the least, upset the delicate morale in the Rebs ranks west of the Mississippi River.
Meanwhile north of the border in Missouri, Confederate forces are being recruited by General J.O. Shelby at Waverly, MO. Shelby will play a major role in the Confederate defenses of Arkansas over the next two years of the War.
Between August 16 and August 27, 1862, Curtis orders an expedition from Helena down the Mississippi and up the Yazoo River, hoping to find the forage his worn army needs to survive. Without giving up his only foothold in Arkansas, the Helena garrison begins to make preparations for a long and arduous process of building extensive defenses.