One hundred and fifty years ago Confederate and Federal forces were maneuvering their respective armies in North West Arkansas. In a letter dated November 3, 1862, General Marmaduke wrote to Robert C. Newton that Marmaduke’s men were picketing the Frog Bayou Road, “and all other approaches to this place.” In the same letter, Marmaduke requested of General Roane one or two hundred mounted men to help drive out the Indian population near Ft. Smith.
Troops were in a state of perpetual motion. Both the Confederate forces and their Yankee counterparts were trying to inch their way to a better military position as a battle seems more and more imminent. Marmaduke continued his letter with troop movement as he sent Colonel J.O. Shelby and a cavalry force “to and beyond Fayetteville. Colonel McDonald with his force occupies the mills west and South West of Fayetteville.”
Intelligence reports made Marmaduke aware of “the entire Federal force at Fayetteville under General Schofield. Totten and Brown Infantry, Cavalry, and Artillery about 20,000…left Fayetteville Thursday morning at daylight and was about 9 hours…passing through the town.”
Regarding the damage done by the Federal troops in vacating Fayetteville, Marmaduke relays that “The Yankees foraged their animals from the country through where they passed and for miles around have laid waste the country- taking all grain, cattle, and hogs.”