One hundred and fifty years ago, the Civil War in the Delta was far from over. Though the last major engagement was the Battle of Helena in July 1863, Confederates were constantly harassing the Union garrison in the area. On June 22, 1864, the 12th Iowa was at the mouth of the White River when they were attacked by 300 Confederates.
The attack came on at daybreak after the Confederates crossed the Arkansas River in small boats during the night. Following half an hour of fighting, the Iowans reported 1 killed and 4 wounded. The Confederates were not so lucky, having reported 30 killed and 5 wounded.
According to a dispatch sent to the commanding officer in Helena, the garrison on the White River was “slightly intrenched in a hastily erected stockade.” The dispatch continued, “The gun-boat Lexington was the only one present. She opened fire on the enemy in the woods after the repulse. Our force was too small to pursue, and as there was but one gun-boat, the orders of her commander forbade her leaving the station and preventing the enemy retreating across the Arkansas River.”
Other military actions that took place in Arkansas one hundred and fifty years ago this week included a skirmish near Fayetteville on the 24th; an engagement on the White River on the 26th; actions at St. Charles and Pikeville on the 26th-28th; skirmishes at Clarendon the 26th-28th; a scout was sent from Brownsville on the 27th-29th; and a skirmish at Meffleton Lodge on the 29th. For a complete list of military actions that took place in Arkansas during the Civil War, go to www.arkansastoothpick.com.