Arkansas Toothpick- The Civil War Hub of ArkansasAugust 5, 1862 marked the second day of a fourteen day scouting expedition to Helena and Clarendon. It was also the first day of a four day expedition from Helena to the mouth of the White River. Today in 1863 was day three of a six day scouting expedition to Yellville. It was also the third day in a fourteen day expedition up the White and Little Red River. On this date in 1864, there were several skirmishes. One skirmish was in West Point, one in Lake Bluff, and the third was at Remount Camp. The same day in 1864 also marked day five of a five day operation in eastern Arkansas.

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(continued from Shelby’s August 4, 1864 entry)

In a continuation of Brigadier General J.O. Shelby’s report, the General writes about August 5, 1864:

The next day [August 5] Captain Williams, with a scouting party, met a larger force of the enemy, attacked and routed them, killing and wounding 27, and bringing 10 prisoners to camp. Re-enforcing Colonel Dobbin with Colonel Gordon’s regiment, I ordered him to make a foray upon the Federal plantations around Helena, and harry them with fire and sword. He started immediately, but met a large body of Federals at Big Creek bridge, with two pieces of artillery and one regiment of negroes. Dobbin attacked them at first sight and fought them hard for three hours. The enemy gained the cover of some old fortifications of logs and trees, and made a stubborn resistance. Dobbin and Gordon still pressed on, drove them from their shelter, and in confusion toward Helena, capturing and killing great numbers, besides taking 2 caissons, 3 wagons, many guns and pistols. Gordon, in the retreat of the enemy, came upon Major Carmichael with 300 cavalry, sent out to re-enforce the Federals, charged him in column of fours straight down the road, scattered his command in every direction, and narrowly missed the notorious Carmichael-a house burner, robber, and murderer of the first water. This disastrous battle inflicted upon the enemy the loss of 2 field officers, 7 line officers, and 200 soldiers killed and wounded. The retreating foe was followed up to the corporation limits of Helena, falling and surrendering by the wayside from sheer exhaustion. (Shelby’s report continues on the August 6, 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