One hundred and fifty years ago, Confederate forces in Eastern Arkansas were on the move. This week in 1864, a dispatch was sent to the overall Union commander of Arkansas noting the vulnerability of his army and navy as rebel forces kept their eye on the White River.
The dispatch noted, “In various ways I learn that the enemy is in occupation of Arkansas Post, and is making preparations which appear to point to the making of that post a secure place of retreat across the Arkansas River.” Th Arkansas was not the only river concerning the Union forces as he believed the Confederates, “will occupy a point on White River, and Saint Charles.”
As river levels throughout the state began to fall, the navy began shifting the location of boats on the White River to prevent their capture: “The iron-clad now at the Bluff is the lightest draught boat we have of the heavy order, and she must come out for want of water.” As, “The occupation of Saint Charles will facilitate your communications” the dispatch concluded, “Saint Charles is a strong point, and one which it would be dangerous to permit the enemy to occupy. If we only had a few good light-draught gun-boats they, together with the occupation of that point as proposed, would render the navigation of White River secure.”
Other military actions that took place this week one hundred and fifty years ago include a skirmish near Maysville on the 20th; a skirmish near Pine Bluff on the 22nd; and affair on the 25th at Benton; an action at Wallace’s Ferry at Big Creek on the 26th; a scout was sent to Searcy July 26-28; and an action at Massard’s Prairie on the 27th. For a complete list of over 700 military actions that took place in Arkansas during the Civil War, go to www.arkansastoothpick.com.