August 8, 1862 marked the fourth day of a four day expedition from Helena to the mouth of the White River. The expedition began on August 5. The same date in 1862 was the fifth day of a fourteen day expedition to Helena and Clarendon (August 4-17). On this date in 1863 a six day scouting expedition to Yellville was coming to a conclusion and it was the sixth day of a fourteen day expedition up the White and Little Red Rivers. In 1864 on August 8 the Union was on their third day of an eleven day expedition from Little Rock to the Little Red River.
The following is from the report of Major James F. Dwight of the 11th Missouri Cavalry Regiment, Aide-de-camp. Dwight kept a journal of events from August 6 through August 16, 1864 having set out from the vicinity of Little Rock. Dwight was under the command of Brigadier-General J.R. West of the U.S. Volunteers. General West was directed through the August 4, 1864 Special Order telling him to “proceed with all the available cavalry of this district in pursuit of the enemy’s, reported to be on Little Red River, and will pursue them until they are captured or dispersed.”
Monday, August 8.-Second Brigade moved at early dawn; First Brigade with train at 8 o’clock. Caney Creek, five miles north of Bull Bayou, dry. Quarles’ Brigade, over Bayou Des Arc, three miles further, in decent order. Third Michigan held bridge and pushed on direct road toward Searcy; Colonel Stuart with rest of brigade crossed two miles and a half above, and came down on Searcy from west. No rebels in Searcy. Reported by all the inhabitants that the passed through the road traversed to-day in great haste last night traveling northward. Searcy pretty much deserted; no buildings destroyed. From Searcy went up to Little Red River Landing, two miles and a half. Road descends all way, timbered and fields, easily defended from an attack from north. Went into camp on Little Red, on south side. Stuart came up soon after and crossed the ford, going into camp in open field beyond. Water very camp on Little Red, on south side. Stuart came up soon after and crossed the ford, going into camp in open fields beyond. Water very low in the Red; rough rocky bed to stream; banks thirty feet high; even. From September to June this stream is navigable to White River boats, very low during June, July and August. Road from Searcy, four miles east, leads to Prospect Bluffs; good ford. The rebels under McCray and Jackman all crossed the ford before light this morning, hastening north. From information received from inhabitants they were about 800 strong. They went twelve miles northeast, on the Grand Glaize road, and stopped at Stephen’s Creek. Shelby is reported to be crossing, or to have crossed, the White at Augusta with intent to join them.
The following is from the Itinerary of the Third Brigade, Second Division, Seventh Army Corps, commanded by Colonel Washington F Geiger, Eighth Missouri Cavalry. He sat out on August 6, 1864 to join in a cavalry expedition under Brigadier-General West against the rebel forces in the vicinity of Jacksonport and Batesville, Ark.: “August 8.-Marched twenty miles, to Searcy Landing, on Little Red 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 the 5th Ohio Battery was now assigned to his brigade. Up to this point, he reports that his infantry were detailed to man the artillery pieces to make them, “effective for field service.”
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.
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