On this date in 1862, Major-General Samuel Curtis wrote to Brigadier-General Schofield that new intelligence shows Rains and Coffee at Fort Smith. Other information communicated included a line that noted Albert Pike was under arrest.
Curtis also tells Schofield that General Thomas C. Hindman had about three thousand troops and was en route to Fort Smith, “to try and resist Kansas troops.” He noted that McBride was then at Batesville and there were no troops in the Northern part of the state. Curtis relayed that General Sterling Price had gone back to the east and that General T. Holmes was in command of the Confederate troops in Arkansas, who, “Talks of driving me from the State. Will have a good time of it. News reliable.”
On August 25, 1863, Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Anderson of the 1st Iowa Cavalry, writes on August 28 of the skirmish at Bayou Meto, also knows as the Battle of Reed’s Bridge, which occurred on August 27, 1863. On August 25, Anderson recalls having received an order from Colonel Glover, who was then commanding the 2nd Brigade of a cavalry division. The order was for Anderson to, “report at daylight on the morning of the 26th with my entire effective force to General Davidson.
On this date in 1864, Major Eagleton Carmichael of the 15th Illinois Cavalry Regiment wrote a report on a scout that left Helena on August 22. He reports that he left Helena on board two steamboats: the Dove and the Homeyer. From Helena they steamed up to the Saint Francis River and landed four miles above the mouth of the Anguille River. It was here they disembarked. From there they travelled from the landing to Hughes’ farm, then to Doctor Ward’s, “by way of Gill’s; thence to Weatherly’s, Dayle’s, and Mrs. Roberts’, “crossed lower mouth of Cow Bayou, on the Mickey’s; from there to Linden; from Linden to Madison, passing several places I do not remember the names of; from Madison to Mount Vernon, through large settlements, where I heard there was a detachment of rebel cavalry, but found none; from Mount Vernon to McDaniel’s, where I remained at part of the night of the 23d; from McDaniel’s we returned by a different route to the upper mouth of Cow Bayou.”
As they traveled through settlements, Carmichael reports that he divided his command where he could. He reported, “While they were there they were scattered through the settlements in small squads, conscripting and getting what horses they could.”
While out on the scouting mission, Carmichel’s men were able to capture some enemy troops. He noted, “We captured Lieutenant J. M. Grigg, Company A, Dobbin’s regiment; Private Thomas M. Short, same company, and Luther Drum a conscript.” His report continued, “We arrested W. F. Pruitt, N. Y. Gill, U. J. Howard, and P. B. Mickey.” Aside from the prisoners of war, they were also able to capture and seize eight horses and five mules. The prisoners were handed over to the provost-marshal while the animals were given to the district quartermaster.
While on the scouting mission, Carmichael noted that a large number of shotguns and rifles were destroyed and that McDaniel’s Mill was burned. “I should have gone to Dick Anderson’s, but could hear of no rebel soldiers in that direction, and it would have detained us nearly a day longer, and could not have reached the boats until the morning of the 25th without overworking our horses.”
Also on this date in 1864, Major-General Fredrick Steele wrote to Powell Clayton in Pine Bluff that communications had been interrupted between DeValls Bluff and Brownsville. He also noted that the railroad was occupied “in force” by the enemy. He told Clayton, “I fear that Fagan has crossed below Pine Bluff and effected a junction with Shelby.”
A separate dispatch was sent from Clayton back to Fredrick Steele answering, “I do not believe any rebel forces have crossed below this post [Pine Bluff].” Clayton recently sent a scouting party forty miles down the Arkansas River and with relative certainty Clayton believed no enemy troops crossed the river between Pine Bluff and forty miles downriver. Clayton thought that if Confederate troops did cross the river, they must have done so nearer the mouth of the river, “but I do not think such is the case.”
One thing Clayton was certain of was that Cabell and Marmaduke crossed, “to the south of the Saline and Mount Elba, where they had a pontoon bridge.” He related that a scouting party commanded by Lt. Grove, “attacked the rear of Cabell’s brigade under Carwford, near Mount Elba last Monday.” In this attack, Grove was able to capture Colonel Crawford’s horse, one lieutenant, and sixteen troops. It was reported to Clayton that, “The main command was then in the act of crossing…Marmaduke’s brigade crossed day before yesterday.”
This information was given by two deserters that, “came in yesterday from Marmaduke.” Clayton notes the deserters confirmed the action at Mount Elba and they admit, “all of the rebel cavalry (about 15,000 strong) are under Price; that they intend to cross the Arkansas River between Little Rock and Fort Smith; destination Missouri. “This information gave Clayton reason to believe the Confederate cavalry was moving up the south side of the Saline River.
Clayton’s report ended with a note that his men have been foraging “on the other side of the river about fifteen miles from here.”
Also on this date, Brigadier-General Eugene A. Carr drafts a dispatch to Powell Clayton tell him that “Citizens come into Brownsville today report rebels crossing at Richland.” The report continued, “General Andrews reports they have several bridges across the Arkansas.”
The James Ginnett Collection has a few entries for August 25, 1864:
-Sgt. Jeremiah Pemberton from Company L of the 13th Illinois Cavalry died in Pine Bluff. He was from Galatia, Illinois.
-George A. Osborn, from Ixonia, Wisconsin served in Company C of the 28th Wisconsin Infantry Regiment. He died on this date in 1864 in Pine Bluff of disease.
-William F. Morse, age 24, was born in Maine and lived in Morrison County, Minnesota. He was a 2nd Lt and was promoted to 1st Lt. He served in Company I of the 3rd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment and eventually was promoted to adjutant.
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.