One hundred and fifty years ago, reports were flooding into the Union garrison in Pine Bluff on Confederate troop positions from Monticello. As noted in last week’s column, Monticello was a Confederate hub following the failed Union attempt to secure South Arkansas during the Red River Campaign in the Spring of 1864. A dispatch sent to Colonel Powell Clayton noted that 8,000 rebs were in the South Arkansas community.
According to intelligence reports, “Magruder was said to be in command.” The informant then continued, “He saw, himself, Generals Churchill, Walker, Parsons, of Missouri, and Dockery… The soldiers said that all the troops at Monticello except Parsons’ division [are] now under marching orders for Warren, and that Parsons was to follow Sunday or Monday. All of the sick soldiers on furlough were ordered to Warren.”
Within two days, Clayton was feeling under the weather and reported, “I am very much debilitated from the effects of a bilious fever. Am scarcely able to leave my room, and not able to ride horseback.”
Military actions that took place 150 years ago this week in Arkansas include a skirmish at Whittier’s Mill on the 8th; a skirmish at Clarksville on the 9th; an affair near Clarendon on the 11th; and a skirmish at Fayetteville on the 12th. For a complete list of military actions that took place in Arkansas during the Civil War go to www.arkansastoothpick.com.