Though the history books tell us that the Civil War was practically over in Arkansas by the conclusion of the Red River Campaign and the Camden Expedition, the war was in fact still raging within the borders of Arkansas one hundred and fifty years ago. Dispatches sent by the Union army in Northwest Arkansas show a scared occupying force in need of forage and more troops.
Brigadier-General John B. Sanborn wrote to the headquarters of the District of Southwest Missouri, “I have been compelled to order my troops out of Arkansas for want of forage and grazing in that section.” to which Colonel LaRue Harrison replied, “I am somewhat in the dark as to the intentions of the rebels this side the river: the country swarms with them, and I learn from rebel sources that Stirman and others are either in the country or expected soon.”
The dispatch continued, “Some movements lead me to believe they are concentrating, as their total absence for several days from favored localities. There must be at least 2,000 scattered in an arc of 60 miles square. I can learn nothing from farther west than Cane Hill. Fayetteville would be impregnable if I had troops enough constantly in town to man all my fortifications. I also need two pieces long-range artillery very much.”
Meanwhile, several military actions took place elsewhere throughout the state: A skirmish on May 20 at Stony Point; a skirmish in Pine Bluff on the 21st; an affair near Devall’s Bluff on the 22nd; a skirmish near Little Rock on the 24th; skirmishes at Pikeville and Buck Horn on the 25th; and skirmishes at Leland’s Point and Princeton on the 27th.
For a list of nearly 800 military actions that took place from 1860-1865 in Arkansas, go to www.arkansastoothpick.com and find the timeline at the top of the page!