The Civil War Hub of ArkansasOn September 14, 1864 a scouting mission from Helena to Alligator Bayou was coming to a conclusion. Lieutenant Alexander F. Rice of the 60th United States Colored Troops wrote his report on September 15. His five-day scouting expedition began on September 9. The expedition marched five miles on that first day and camped at Thomas’ Station on the Saint Francis River. They camped there until the following evening. During that first day Rice frequently sent out squads, capturing one man by the name of William Bailess, and two horses.

From Thomas’ Station, Rice marched to Mrs. Rodgers on September 10, fifteen miles distant. He wrote that at Rodgers, they broke camp the following evening at 8pm. While there they captured two men and a horse.

When the scouting expedition parted, Rice sent some men back to Thomas’ Station while the remainder, “came down the river in skiffs.” He wrote, “Camped until the morning of the 14th…Captured while there 5 mules and 2 horses, also 1 prisoner and 1 carbine.”

Civil War Arkansas: A Military Atlas

Civil War Arkansas: A Military Atlas

Throughout the expedition Rice ended up capturing five men:

*William Bailess and Peter Nance: Captain Briscoe’s company (Dobbin’s regiment)
*James Copelin and Urbin Day: Captain Coates’ company (Dobbin’s regiment)
*Joseph A. Echles, adjutant, Sixth Texas Cavalry.

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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.

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