One hundred and fifty years ago, the irregular warfare in which Confederate forces in the state were so well assimilated, was the order of the day. One of the most feared and harassing was Confederate General J.O. Shelby. He was giving the Union army the proverbial “dickens” as often as he could.
A dispatch sent this week one hundred and fifty years ago show how concerned the Union army was about Shelby; an entire expedition to flush Shelby from the countryside was planned. The dispatch noted bluntly, “We must not underrate Shelby.”
The proposed plan included the dispatching of boats loaded with soldiers to disembark for Peach Orchard Bluff. The problem plaguing both armies in Arkansas was the low numbers of effective troops. The dispatch continued, “I have boats enough to take 2,000 men to Peach Orchard Bluff, but I have not that force to send. Taking Graves’ and the two regiments already arrived from Saint Charles would make only about 1,200 effective men.”
There were multiple military actions taking place this week one hundred and fifty years ago in Arkansas, including skirmishes on September 1 near Beatty’s Mills, Fort Smith, and near Fort Smith; skirmishes on the 2nd at Augusta, the tannery near Little Rock, and near Quitman; an affair at Kendall’s Grist Mill on the 3rd; skirmishes on the 4th on the White River, Brownsville, and Gregory’s Landing; and skirmishes on the 6th at Searcy, DeVall’s Bluff, Richland, Norristown, and Point Remove.
For a complete list of over 800 military actions that took place in Arkansas during the Civil War, go to www.arkansastoothpick.com.