Arkansas In The Civil WarOne hundred and fifty years ago, the commanding Union officer in Little Rock urged his district commanders to keep itineraries of all expeditions and scouting efforts. The Genera;’s directive included full descriptions of the sprawling road systems that criss-crossed the state, forage locations, water courses, towns, churches, stores, and “places of public resort.”

General Fredrick Steele’s dispatch continued, “In order to carry out this order an acting topographical engineer will be detailed by the commanding officer of each detachment from the officers or enlisted men of his command.” The engineer would, “be excused from all other duty until the completion of his report, which will be sent at the end of the march to the district commander, who will send a copy or the original to the chief engineer at department headquarters.”

This map-making and intelligence gathering directive facilitated easier and more productive travel in enemy territory as the Union army continued to try to flush the countryside from all rebel activity.

Military actions that took place within the borders of the state this week one hundred and fifty years ago include a skirmish at Fair’s Mills and Clarendon on the 14th; a skirmish on the Benton road on the 14th and 15th; operations on the White River were carried out from July 19-25; and a skirmish near Maysville on the 20th. For a complete list of over 700 military actions that took place in Arkansas, go to