Arkansas Toothpick- The Civil War Hub of ArkansasOn August 4, 1862 the Union army left out on a fourteen day expedition to Helena and Clarendon (August 4-17). This day in 1863 marked the second day of a six day scouting expedition to Yellville and it was the second day of a fourteen day expedition up the White and Little Red Rivers. Meanwhile on this date in 1864 there was a skirmish in the Delta community of Osceola.

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On August 4, 1864, Confederate Brigadier General J.O. Shelby began putting a small force together to send to Devall’s Bluff. In his report, Shelby wrote of his operations north of the White River:

“On August 4 I picked fifty men and sent them under Lieutenant Burch, of Smith’s regiment, to Devall’s Bluff. They went boldly on their mission, captured and killed about 50 Federals on the west side of the river, hailed the lookouts at the Bluff, passed themselves off for friends and tried to decoy a boat over, but could not succeed, and finally they fired half a dozen rounds into the gun-boats, quarters, and steamers at the Bluff, and got away without losing a man, the iron-clads at the wharf and the heavy batteries on the hill sweeping the western shore with a tornado of shot and shell.”(Shelby’s report continues on the August 5, 1864 entry)

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