Confederate Commander of Arkansas Thomas C. Hindman sent William H. Parsons a communication from his Little Rock HQ on August 17, 1862. Parsons was in the field at Des Arc and Hindman urged Parsons to, “come over to East side of White river, and operate against the enemy actively, send brief dispatch of movements every day or two.”
This date in 1862 also marked day fourteen of a fourteen day expedition to Helena and Clarendon (August 4-17). It was also day two of an expedition from Helena, down Mississippi and up Yazoo River (August 16-27).
On this date in 1863, General Fredrick Steele, on his way to Little Rock from Helena, reached Clarendon where he crossed the White River. There was also a skirmish at Grand Prairie on this date in 1863.
The James Ginnett Collection had a few entries for August 17, 1864:
-Robert McLehaney from Company G of the 13th Illinois Cavalry Regiment died at Pine Bluff. McLehaney was from Elkhorn, Illinois.
-William Whitehead from Company H of the 13th Illinois Cavalry Regiment from Lovilla, Illinois died at Pine Bluff.
-William Shea, ages 43 from Ireland and lived in Le Sever, Minnesota before the war died at Pine Bluff. He served in Company I of the 3rd Minnesota Infantry Regiment.
-Thomas Chatsman of Company H of the 1st Indiana Cavalry Regiment died of disease at Pine Bluff.
-Andrew Sanburg, aged 33, was born in Sweden and liven in St. Paul (Ramsey County) Minnesota. He served in Company B of the 3rd Minnesota Infantry Regiment.
-Capture of the Steamer “Miller”
On this date in 1864, there was an affair near Pine Bluff on the Arkansas River. It also marked day three of ten of operations in North West Arkansas and South West Missouri.
According to the report of Captain Stephen R. Harrington, of the 5th Kansas Cavalry, the steamer Annie Jacobs is situated on a sand bar thirty miles downriver from Pine Bluff. He also reported that the steamboat Miller was captured and burned by the Confederates operating in the area ten miles below his current position (forty miles south of Pine Bluff).
Also on this date in 1864, General E.A. Carr wrote to Brigadier-General C.C. Andrews in DeValls Bluff to order the 54th Illinois Infantry Regiment to the rail road to guard the “hay making parties.” He noted that the 1st Nebraska should be left at the rail road, but the cavalry would be put back to use after they rested. He concluded his dispatch, “The regiments on the railroad should get all shod up and ready to move on notice, the same as though they were in camp at the Bluff.”
C.C. Andrews then drafts a dispatch to Captain C.H. Dyer, the Assistant Adjutant-General in Little Rock, that it was Andrews’ intention to relieve the 54th Illinois Infantry Regiment on the railroad with the 11th Missouri Cavalry (US). He noted, “Unless I have the 54th or some other infantry regiment here, work on the defenses must stop, the veterans of the 61st Illinois having gone on furlough.
The same date, General Carr writes to Colonel Ryan in Lewisburg to send the 29th Iowa and Marr’s battery to Little Rock, “and all the horses and supplies you have, except for thirty days for the troops you will have left.” He advised Ryan to keep the remaining troops in his command prepared to move at a moment’s notice, “in case of approach of superior force.” The warning was serious enough for Carr to include, “Provide means for crossing the Arkansas [River] in case you should have to retreat that way.” Carr admitted in the dispatch that they had no specific news of enemy movement and that Lewisburg was intended to be made an outpost.Also on this date, Captain S.R. Harrington of the 5th Kansas and Acting Aide de Camp wrote to Lieutenant Colonel Green, Assistant Adjutant General, that the Confederate General Cabell was encamped at the crossing of the Warren and Pine Bluff Road located about 17 miles south of Pine Bluff. The dispatch related that the men responsible for capturing and burning the steamboat Miller were camped on the south bank of the Arkansas River.
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 13–17, August 22, August 24, September 1, September 2, September 6, September 7, September 10.
In today’s section of the itinerary, he notes that after marching since August 13, his command arrived at Clarendon after suffering from the severe Delta heat.
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.