One hundred and fifty years ago, Confederate General Sterling Price had many Union commanders on their toes, nervously anticipating Price’s next move in North Arkansas and Missouri. As the Union garrisons across the state were suffering low troop levels already, a hasty dispatch was sent from NW Arkansas asking for colored troops and corn.
In the dispatch to Colonel S.H. Wattles from General John Thayer, Thayer notes, “I have just received information from Cassville, via Fayettville, to the effect that Price is marching on Springfield, and I am informed also that he contemplates coming via Fayetteville.” The dispatch continued, “You will therefore, upon receipt of this, without a moment’s delay, send Colonel Williams with his command, viz, First Kansas Colored, Fifty-fourth U.S. Colored, and the section of First Arkansas Battery, to this place.”
Thayer directed Colonel Williams, “to march just as rapidly as his troops can stand it. You will also hold your command in readiness to move here at a moment’s notice.” Thayer closed his communication noting, “All the transportation that you have or can press in the country must be used to bring away ammunition and commissaries whenever you leave with your command.”
Other military actions that took place in Arkansas one hundred and fifty years ago include a skirmish at Buck Skull on the 20th; a scout was sent from DeValls Bluff to Augusta from the 22nd-24th; a skirmish on the 24th at St. Charles; and a scout was sent from Little Rock to Benton from the 27th through the 30th. For a complete list of over 800 military actions that took place in Arkansas throughout the Civil War, go to www.arkansastoothpick.com.