One hundred and fifty years ago, Confederate and Union commanders were in a constant game of cat and mouse throughout the state. While General Steele began moving southward to meet up with General Banks in Shreveport to drive the Rebs to an ultimate defeat, commanders elsewhere were concerned about keeping their lines of communication open via telegraph.
Arkansas’s young infrastructure did not compare with that of older states east of the Mississippi River. Communication in Arkansas relied mostly on carrier and telegraph. If a telegraph wire broke or was vandalized by enemy forces, communication in most cases ground to a halt. In a dispatch sent this week one hundred and fifty years ago, this was one of the major concerns. The Assistant Adjutant General of the Third Arkansas (US) wrote to Lieutenant Colonel I.W. Fuller, “The general commanding directs that you thoroughly scout the country toward Searcy and northerly and northeasterly from your post, and that you use the utmost vigilance in guarding the telegraph line from destruction by guerrilla raids, and the greatest promptness in affording every facility in your power for its repair when broken.”
This week one hundred and fifty years ago there were twenty military actions that took place in Arkansas, including a skirmish in Arkadelphia on March 31; action at Fitzhugh’s Woods (near Augusta) and a skirmish in Arkadelphia on April 1; action at Antoine (Terre Noir Creek) and a skirmish at Wolf Creek on April 2; a skirmish at Okolona April 2-3; affair near Clarksville on the 3rd; engagement at Elkin’s Ferry on April 3-4; action at Roseville on the 4-5 of April; a skirmish at Charlestown on the 4th; a skirmish at Whiteley Mills, Stone’s Mills, Marks’ Mills, and Roseville on April 5; skirmish on the Little Missouri River, action at Pemiscot Bayou, and Piney Mountain on April 6, 1864.