One hundred and fifty years ago, the Confederate Army in the Trans-Mississippi was in the perpetual process of organizing and reorganizing its men. An interesting order was written on January 4, 1863 in which General Thomas C. Hindman directed that the “regiments [in the Trans-Mississippi] &c. are to be designated by the name of the commander.” Another interesting directive included the controversial William Quantrill, of Lawrence, KS fame.
In the same dispatch, Hindman directed that “[William C.] Quantrill’s Company [Quantrill’s Company, Missouri] is reported unattached, this is also against orders, The General directs that you place it at once into McDonald’s regiment…The two companies of Elliots and Quantrell, will give nine companies…”
Meanwhile back in Arkansas, General Hindman was concerned about the probability of citizen spies. Iin a dispatch dated on January 5, 1863, he noted that citizens were not allowed within the military lines unless, “If they are in the employ of the government, driving cattle, &c, they will be passed. All citizens are to be notified that if they come within our lines, unless absolutely necessary, they will be placed under arrest.”
As the winter was in full swing, the Federal Army waited for the Arkansas River to rise in hopes that they could get a good and easy shot at the Confederate defensive position at Arkansas Post. While the Confederates enjoyed their last days at Fort Hindman, iron clad gunboats were readied for the expedition.