The Civil War Hub of ArkansasOn August 13, 1861 the congress of the Confederate States appropriated one million dollars to “provide arms and ammunition and subsistence and transportation for the troops of Missouri co-operating with Arkansas.” The notification was written by L.P. Walker, Secretary of War of the Confederate States and was written to C.F. Jackson, the Governor of Missouri.

On August 13, 1862, the Federal army was on day ten of a fourteen-day expedition to Helena and Clarendon and on this date in 1863 the Feds were on day eleven of a fourteen day expedition up the White River and Little Red River.

In 1864, this date marked day three of a three-day expedition from Helena to Kent’s Landing; day five of a seven day operation in east Arkansas; and day eight of an eleven day expedition from Little Rock to the Little Red River. IT also was the day a skirmish erupted near Searcy.

On a recent cavalry expedition in the middle of the 1864 Delta summer, Federal Brigadier-General J.R. West wrote to Brigadier-General E.A. Carr in Little Rock about a cavalry expedition wrapping up. IN his summary he related that on Wednesday the 10th of August he came across a Confederate reconnoitering party at Augusta. After driving in the enemy pickets from Augusta in a northerly direction, he crossed the 3rd Michigan Cavalry later that afternoon on a ferry boat twelve miles north of Augusta.
On August 11 West crossed the 8th Missouri (US) at Hatch’s Ferry only four miles north of Augusta. It is there West realized that Confederate J.O. Shelby was nearby at Village Creek. Thinking it unwise to split his forces in the vicinity of the enemy, West re-crossed the river to the west side with the 3rd Michigan and 8th Missouri the following day on the 12th when he returned back to Searcy Landing.

He told General Carr that if Shelby were to attempt a move southward from Batesville, “I am prepared to intercept him.” On August 13, the date the summary of his expedition was drafted to Carr, West related he was moving his forces fifteen miles “up the Little Red in Searcy Valley, where I shall have better advantages in foraging animals and can await the information to be obtained by a scout I have sent in the direction of Jacksonport.”
West closed his dispatch to Carr by letting the Little Rock commander know that in order for West to move about the countryside more freely and efficiently, he was having his sick and his prisoners on a supply train back to DeValls Bluff.

-On this date in 1864, Columbus C. Robbands enlisted in Company E of the 5th Kansas Cavalry from Pine Bluff.

-Private David M. Rider, Company G of the 5th Kansas Cavalry, died of disease at Pine Bluff.

-Charles E. Alexander, from Waukesha, Wisconsin, in Company A of the 28th Wisconsin Infantry Regiment died of disease at Pine Bluff.

-Nathaniel Howard, from Waukesha, Wisconsin in Company F of the 28th Wisconsin Infantry Regiment died of disease in Pine Bluff.

-Henry A Durand, from Cottage Grove, Minnesota was mustered in at Second Lieutenant to Company B of the 3rd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment at the age of 22.

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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.”

Saturday, August 13.-Detachment of fifty men Eighth Missouri Cavalry, Captain McAdoo, sent northward by Denmark road at early day. Fell in with rebels eight miles out; had a skirmish, and sent back for re-enforcements. The Third U. S. Cavalry, 250 men, were sent to his assistance with instructions to develop the enemy. The supply train and worn-out horses sent back toward Devall’s Bluff, with 125 sick and thirty escort. Moved out of camp toward Searcy. The First Brigade went into line of battle, and with skirmishers out between camp and Searcy. Moved at 11 o’clock thought Searcy, on the Sugar Loaf Springs road, eleven and a half miles to Goad’s, at intersection of this with the old military road from Little Rock to Batesville. Road leaves Searcy Valley on left, winds up and crosses a stony, rough divide with open oak woods. several plantations on the road. The road lies on the rough hill for about five miles. Crossed Panther Creek six miles from Searcy. Camped at Goad’s Ford; found five wagon loads of old corn near camp. Sent pickets to Hilcher’s Ferry, ten miles on the Little Red. Lieutenant Guirado, aide-de-camp, and twelve men sent after the Third United States from the landing at 10 o’clock, with instructions to have them return via Hilcher’s Ferry. Messengers arrived at 6 p. m. from Third United States; had joined the Eighth Missouri and advanced, but found no enemy. Sent party to Hilcher’s Ferry, and thence to Fairview, to communicate with Third United States.

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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 13.-Marched twelve miles into Searcy Valley 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 13 entry notes: “August 13.-Dispatch received from Colonel A. H. Ryan, commanding Lewisburg, says Captain Hinkle has just sent in 10 prisoners captured near Galman [Quitman?]”

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According to Report Number 17 in the chapter on the “Advance Upon Little Rock” in the Official Records, the itinerary of the First Brigade, Second Division, under the command of Colonel William H. Graves, began on August 1, 1864 and the last entry was on September 10, 1864. The following dates are included in his report: August 1, August 6, August 8, August 1317, August 22, August 24, September 1, September 2, September 6, September 7, September 10.

In today’s section of the itinerary, he notes that he began his march from Helena to Clarendon. He reported that his men suffered greatly from the heat, “and from the want of water and medicines.” He would arrive at Clarendon on August 17.

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According to Report Number 18 in the chapter on the “Advance Upon Little Rock” in the Official Records, the itinerary of the Second Brigade, Second Division, under the command of Colonel Oliver Wood, the brigade left Helena toward Clarendon, a distance of 54 miles. From Clarendon he would move his command another 22 miles to DeValls Bluff. He would arrive in DeValls Bluff on August 31. From DeValls Bluff he left on September 1 and arrived at Brownsville on September 2. On September 7, he left Brownsville for Ink Bayou. ON September 10, his brigade moved from Ink Bayou to Little Rock where they occupied the city later in the evening. He noted there were no casualtties during the engagement.
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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