On this date in Arkansas Civil War history in 1861, Governor Henry M. Rector wrote to Major-General Polk that Arkansas had seven regiments organized and ready for Confederate service. Rector told Polk, “They are supplied with the domestic rifle, some of them sufficiently improved to be highly efficient.” Rector then relayed the following locations of groups of men ready for Confederate service: Arkadelphia, Benton, Pine Bluff, Springfield, Yellville, Jacksonport. The governor pointed out that the men at Yellville should probably not be moved as it was placed there as a local defense. On this same date in 1861 there was a battle just outside Springfield, Missouri at Wilson’s Creek.
On this date in 1862 the Federal army was on day seven of a fourteen day expedition to Helena and Clarendon. As fate would have it, on this same day a year later in 1863, the Federal army was heading toward Clarendon.
After Maj. Gen. Frederick Steele arrived in Helena following the Confederate surrender at Vicksburg and on orders from Gen. Grant, he took command of 6000 troops under arms. Following orders Steele began his trek toward Little Rock. The majority of Steele’s force included the Helena garrison and a division of Vicksburg veterans. To facilitate Steele’s progression west toward Little Rock, infrastructural repairs were needed.
As Don Roth related in his column “Encumbered by Over 1000 Sick”, “On August 10, one division commanded by Col. S. A. Rice set forth to prepare a link with Davidson’s mounted force through road and bridge repair.” Steele’s expedition was able to reach Clarendon on August 17, 1863 where he crossed the White River.
August 10, 1863 also marked day eight of a fourteen day expedition up White and Little Red Rivers.
In 1864 this date marked the fifth day of an eleven day expedition from Little Rock to the Little Red River; it likewise marked day two of seven of operations in Central Arkansas, including multiple skirmishes. August 10, 1864 saw a skirmish in Augusta.
The following is from the report of Major James F. Dwight of the 11th Missouri Cavalry Regiment, Aide-de-camp. Dwight kept a journal of events from August 6 through August 16, 1864 having set out from the vicinity of Little Rock. Dwight was under the command of Brigadier-General J.R. West of the U.S. Volunteers. General West was directed through the August 4, 1864 Special Order telling him to “proceed with all the available cavalry of this district in pursuit of the enemy’s, reported to be on Little Red River, and will pursue them until they are captured or dispersed.”
Wednesday, August 10.-Seven o’clock moved Third Michigan down to point opposite Augusta. Crossed sergeant and seven men on the ferry-boat half a mile below, who came up and drove out few rebel pickets, then in evening brought up boat and crossed whole regiment, with two mountain howitzers of Tenth Illinois Cavalry, and sent ferry-boat up to ferry, two miles above. Third Michigan picketed strongly on road going out. Strong detachments from Second Brigade went northward toward Grand Glaize and Denmark to develop the enemy in that direction, with instructions to return not late than 10 o’clock to-morrow. Colonel Stuart reports destruction of salt-works, three miles and a half southwest from Glaize bridge, last night; 11 kettles, 60 evaporating vats, and 8 prisoners. Capacity about two bushels a day. Only works about here. In Augusta Shelby reported to have gone north with his command, which was encamped four miles off on Sunday. Calling in his commands and intending to drive McCray at Jacksonport, where he has a pontoon bridge across the Big Black, move back headquarters and First Brigade to the Glaize bridge.
The following is from the Itinerary of the Third Brigade, Second Division, Seventh Army Corps, commanded by Colonel Washington F Geiger, Eighth Missouri Cavalry. He sat out on August 6, 1864 to join in a cavalry expedition under Brigadier-General West against the rebel forces in the vicinity of Jacksonport and Batesville, Ark.: “August 10.-Marched back four miles and encamped.”
Military actions in this “Today in Arkansas During the Civil War” column can be traced better using the Civil War Arkansas: A Military Atlas. You can trace the same roads they walked in many cases in this atlas. You can find obscure references to communities mentioned in Civil War records that can be located in this atlas. Civil War Arkansas: A Military Atlas is the perfect companion book for this “Today in History” series.
If you know of any other military actions or other things that happened that we did not post on a certain day, send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.