The Civil War Hub of ArkansasOn September 11, 1864, Major T.W. Scudder of the 5th Kansas Cavalry Regiment included in his report on his expedition toward Monticello that left out on September 9. On this day he wrote that he gathered a detail of eight men for the purpose of sending as a scout toward the Saline River. The detailed left out at sunrise. He wrote, “The men who went to the crossing rejoined me near Cheney’s Store, on the Pine Bluff road, near McGhee’s plantation.” He continued, “Detached by your order Lieutenant Jenkins and Company G, Fifth Kansas, to report to you for scout toward the fords of the Saline River above Mount Elba.”

As they were about eighteen miles from Pine Bluff, they, “heard sharp firing in front.” As Scudder moved forward, he noticed that the advance had already driven the Confederates from the area. He then fell back to the rear of his command. After marching a short distance, he reported that, “firing commenced upon the right flank a little ahead of me.” After driving the enemy force from the field a second time, Scudder advanced a short distance, “when we were attacked almost simultaneously in flank and rear.” Describing the initial reaction of the Federals, he wrote, “The men were for a time thrown in confusion.”

After a short time Scudder rallied him men and , “held the enemy in check for a time.” Captain Kyler of the First Indiana Cavalry Regiment was acting as Scudder’s rear guard, detoured shortly to the left and rejoined the main column. “Here we had a severe contest for our howitzer; the artillerymen abandoned it, with the exception of the sergeant in command; the firing was heavy and continuous.” His after-action report continued, “At this juncture Lieutenant Jenkins, who had heard the firing and pushed with all speed toward us, came up the road in the enemy’s rear, and gallantly charging them, cut his way through, with the loss of 1 man severely wounded.”

Civil War Arkansas: A Military Atlas

Civil War Arkansas: A Military Atlas

“I finally succeeded, gallantly assisted by Lieutenant Quinn, Thirteenth Illinois, in getting the gun away and bringing it safely to town [and] From this point until the Warren cross- roads were reached, a distance of four miles, I was hotly engaged in repelling successive charges of the enemy upon our rear.”
Scudder’s report continues, “Reached the cross- roads and found you, colonel, in line of battle, greatly to my relief [and] By your order formed upon the right. After awaiting the appearance of the enemy for some time, with the reminder I marched toward town.”

“In conclusion, I cannot speak too highly of the valuable aid rendered me by Lieutenant Quinn, Thirteenth Illinois; Lieutenant Bonde, Seventh Missouri; Captain Kyler, First Indiana, and Lieutenants Jenkins, Wood, and Stevenson, Fifth Kansas Cavalry. The sergeant commanding the howitzer, for his behavior in standing bravely by his gun recommend through you to the Governor of his State for promotion.”

His casualty reports included: 1 killed, 1 wounded, 4 missing in 5th Kansas (6 total); “Wounded and left,” 4, 1 missing (5 total). His total casualties were 11 from both regiments.

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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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