On August 27, 1863, Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Anderson of the First Iowa Cavalry awoke from his camp three miles out from Brownsville after having been engaged in a small skirmish the day before. The regiment was behind the 3rd Missouri Cavalry (US) when they began to move along the road. Anderson’s report noted that “Squadron E, having the advance, was deployed as skirmishers” while, “Squadrons D and F were sent to reconnoiter on the left of the main road leading to Bayou Meto [and] Squadrons G and H supported the advance battery.”
Anderson’s advance drove the Confederates from their rifle pits, sending them retreating across the bridge over the bayou. Anderson remembers, “the bridge was discovered on fire, and the regiment was ordered by General Davidson, commanding division, to charge with drawn sabers, and save the bridge, if possible.” As the charge was made on the Confederates at Bayou Meto, his report noted that his regiment was exposed to enemy fire from sharpshooters and artillery.
“We reached the bridge, but not in time to save it; it was already enveloped in flames [and] The enemy were strongly posted in rifle-pits beyond, and their batteries, having good range, were well directed.” Anderson’s men dismounted and continued forward. He wrote, “Never have I seen greater coolness or courage displayed.” He continued, “Not a man flinched from performing his whole duty as a brave and loyal soldier.”
When the Federal forces located the Confederates’ position, skirmishing erupted and continued for another half an hour. Anderson withdrew from the field, “under cover of the hill and out of range of their guns.” During the charge, Anderson’s horse was shot five times, “and many of my men were dismounted.”
The casualties reported in Anderson’s regiment included:
Squadron A, killed, 1; wounded, 3.
Squadron B, wounded, 5.
Squadron C, wounded and missing, 1; wounded 6.
Squadron E, wounded, 5.
Squadron K, wounded and missing, 1; wounded 3.
Squadron L, wounded, 1.
Squadron M, wounded, since dead, 1; wounded, 1.
On August 27, 1864, Colonel Powell Clayton in Pine Bluff drafted a communication to General Steele regarding the recon scout that was sent down the Arkansas River thirty miles amid rumors of Confederates in the vicinity. Clayton noted that his scout skirmished with the Rebs, “for several miles and found that it would be unsafe to proceed farther.” He then told Steele that Captain Wightman was in command of the expedition. Wightman, according to the letter, “is confident that the enemy have no means of crossing the Arkansas, except by flats.”
The communication was drafted on August 28 and Clayton included that another scout would be sent out the following day [August 29] on a different road. “I will have them go out toward Brownsville, and then take down the prairie, with instructions to go to Arkansas Post, if possible… I am satisfied that the enemy have not crossed below us in any considerable number.”
The James Ginnett Collection had a few entries for August 27, 1864:
-William Harvey, aged 44, was born in England. He served in Company C of the 3rd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry. He Died on this date in Pine Bluff.
-Joseph C. Eldridge, aged 18, was born in New York and served in Company E of the 3rd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment. He died on this date in 1864 in Pine Bluff.
-Andrew Sandburg, aged 33, born in Sweden, lived in St. Paul (Ramsey Co.), Minnesota before the war. He mustered into the 3rd Minnesota Infantry Regiment Company B.
-John Bloomburg, aged 28, and born in Sweden, mustered into Company D of the 3rd Minnesota Infantry Regiment.
-William B. Day was 18 years old in 1864 when he mustered on this date into Company E of the 3rd Minnesota Infantry Regiment. He was born in Sweden.
-Bonde Olson, aged 24 was from Red Wing, Minnesota (Goodhue County). He was promoted to 1st Lt. in Company K of the 3rd Minnesota. He was born in Sweden.
-Robert E, Douglas, aged 20, was born in Pennsylvania and lived in Forrestiville, Minnesota (Fillmore County). He dies on this day in Pine Bluff. He served in Company B of the 3rd Minnesota Infantry Regiment.
-Samuel Paisley, from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, enlisted in Company E of the 28th Wisconsin Infantry Regiment.
-Emil F. Leischer, from Pewaukee, Wisconsin, enlisted in Company A of the 28th Wisconsin Infantry Regiment.
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.