One hundred and fifty years ago, the Confederate Army was still pondering the logistics of caring for her wounded following the Battle of Prairie Grove, even a few weeks following the engagement, transportation was grinding to a halt in Arkansas for the citizens and their army due to the massive needs of various transportation needs of General Hindman’s military logistics.
On December 22, 1862 a telegram was sent from Jerome Wilson to John Crump. In this telegram, Wilson noted that “Gen Hindman directs that tomorrow morning you start up a [wagon] train of ‘citizen wagons’ to Cane Hill (with wagons for transportation of supplies for wounded) to bring out from the Federal lines the destitute families wishing to come south.”
With Winter set in and ground transportation of food supplies growing ever-difficult, one of the best methods of transporting supplies was via the Arkansas River. With the River still under Confederate control for the time being, a telegraph was sent on December 21 from Virginius Claiborne to Thomas Lanigan: “Alamo arrived light- Pine Bluff in sight- loaded with corn. Shall she go to Ft. Smith?” To which the reply was “Send the Pine Bluff to Ft. Smith.”
With wagons and riverboats enroute to North Arkansas to aid the Confederate misery, the Federal Army pondered its next move. With the Arkansas River aiding in the resupply of Confederate troops, the invading Federals were pondering a bold move to cut the River supply route.