One hundred and fifty years ago, Arkansas was split along the Arkansas River. Union forces were in control of the area north of the River while the Confederate army controlled the area South of the River, down to Louisiana. Following the Confederate defeat at the Battle of Pine Bluff, Reb forces scattered into the countryside to reorganize.
This week in 1863, Confederate scouts reported that the Federal army had moved into Arkadelphia with over 4,000 soldiers, including a dozen artillery field pieces. According to Major Maclean, the Federals “are making a demonstration on Washington, with a view to draw off our forces from Camden, that they may occupy the latter place with their infantry.”
Meanwhile in the Federal garrison in Little Rock, Colonel Bussey of the Third Iowa Cavalry, was assigned to command the First Division, Army of Arkansas by order of Major-General Steele.