Arkansas Toothpick- The Civil War Hub of ArkansasOn this date in 1863, General Fredrick Steele, “hereby assumes command of all Arkansas north of Arkansas River.”
On this date in 1864, Brigadier General Christopher C. Andrews drafted a report of thirteen men in the Fifty-fourth Illinois being captured by a team of bushwhackers. Andres was the commander of the Second Division of the Seventh Corps of the United States Army in the summer of 1864. His report relayed that a lieutenant and twelve of his men in the Illinois regiment, “belonging to Hay Station nearest here [DeValls’s Bluff], while returning to camp with water, having a mule team, were surprised and captured, in the timber about a mile from camp, by a superior number of bushwhackers.” The report noted the lieutenant was wounded and the teamster escaped. A small party of the Eleventh Missouri Cavalry was dispatched to recapture the lieutenant and the other men taken prisoner. They ended up killing two enemy troops and captured two horses on the expedition.

Also on this date a dispatch was received from Colonel Ryan in Lewisburg that Captain Herring, “while on an eighteen days’ scout [in] Yell County, [he] killed the two Newsom brothers.”

Another incident on August 11, 1864 included Captain Dodd’s company of independany scouts. They were noted to have raided a Confederate camp near the Saline River while routing them. Dodd’s company of men ended up killing six Confederates, wounded several, and two prisoners were taken. Sixteen horses were captured in the action. No loss incurred by Dodd’s company.

August 11, 1864 also marked day six of an eleven day expedition from Little Rock to the Little Red River, and the third day of seven days of operations in Central Arkansas (including multiple skirmishes). It was also the first day of a three day expedition from Helena to Kent’s Landing.

On August 11, 1864 there were two skirmishes: one was at White Oak Creek and the other was in Crawford County.

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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.”

Thursday, August 11.-Ferry-boat having been taken up to Hatch’s the Eighth Missouri crossed there; Ninth Iowa moved down on Ferry road and camped on bank of river one mile above ferry; Eleventh Missouri and First Nebraska camped at place where the road strikes river. Horses eat corn; no forage to be had. Shelby reported concentrating, to attack on east side of White,and no sign of the boats from Devall’s Bluff yet. The Eighth is recrossed and boat sent down to Augusta for the Third Michigan to recross on. Very heavy rain storm commenced at 12 and lasted all day. The scout from north returned, having been to Denmark and gaining no tidings of the enemy save that McCray had rushed across the river to Jacksonport and joined Shelby there.

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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 11.-Marched to White River and crossed, and immediately recrossed and encamped.”

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Brigadier General E.A. Carr compiled a list of military actions, including, “combats, skirmishes, &c.,in District of Little Rock, during the fifteen days ending August 15, 1864. The August 11 entry notes: “Dispatch received from Colonel Ryan, commanding Lewisburg, states Captain Herring, while on an eighteen days’ scout, Yell County, killed the two Newsom brothers…captain Dodd’s company of independent scouts ran in a camp Confederates near Saline River and routed them, killing 6, wounding several, taking 2 prisoners, and capturing 16 horses, without sustaining any loss.”

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