One hundred and fifty years ago there was much military activity in south Arkansas. By mid June the Union army was still licking its wounds following the April 30, 1864 battle of Jenkins Ferry and was in need of replacing lost equipment and fallen soldiers. As the Union was recollecting itself in Little Rock, the Confederate army was likewise in a state of repair.
According to a dispatch sent to General Fredrick Steele, a Union officer relayed that a steamboat, The Clara James, was captured near Columbia by Confederate cavalry under the direction of General Marmaduke. According to the dispatch, “Marmaduke had about 2,500 men and one battery of six guns, viz, four 6-pounders, two 12-pounders, two 18-pounders, and one 20-pounder Parrott.” The dispatch continued, “On his way to Camden he met another battery of four guns going to Marmaduke. At Monticello he found General Fagan encamped with about 1,500 mounted men and a battery of four guns.”
The intelligence report also placed 5,000 men under the command of General Price at Camden and 1,500 men encamped under the command of General Hawthorn at Hampton.
Military actions that took place in Arkansas one hundred and fifty years ago this week include a skirmish at West Point on the 16th; a skirmish on the Monticello Road near Pine Bluff on the 17th of June; a skirmish at Hahn’s Farm on the 19th; and a skirmish at the White River Station on the 22nd. For a complete list of over 700 military actions that took place throughout the Civil War in Arkansas go to www.arkansastoothpick.com.