The Civil War Hub of ArkansasOn September 15, 1862, Waldo P. Johnson wrote to Major-General Sterling Price that he has already reported to Major-General T.H. Holmes, “who confirmed and engaged my authority, modifying it in one particular only, requiring me to report to him alone officially the result of my efforts at recruiting in Missouri, and requesting me at the same time to advise you [Price] of the change.”

He related that soon after arriving in Little Rock, he dispatched, “about 30 persons to different parts of Missouri for the purpose of enlisting and swearing into the service of the C. S. Army all the able-bodied men they could meet with, to have them reported at camp for organization and instruction, remaining here myself, at the request of General Holmes, for the purpose of having an interview with Governor Jackson, who was then expected daily.”

He then noted that yesterday, September 14, 1862, “the Governor turned over to General Holmes all the State property at his place, embracing a large amount of clothing and other army stores; also all now in Mississippi.” He continued, “The Governor also made an order turning over all the State guards now in Missouri to the Confederate States, requiring them to report to me, withdrawing from all persons all power to recruit in future for the Missouri State Guard.”

“I have not seen General Parsons, but arrangements are on foot to turn his entire command over to the Confederate States service, and I think it will be successful, as Governor Jackson, General Hindman, and General Parsons are all trying to effect it in a manner satisfactory to the men.”

The dispatch also gave intelligence that, “Quite a large number of troops has already been organized along the southern border of Missouri, and from all the information I have obtained I believe there are many more to be collected and organized.”

Regarding the drama that becomes commonplace in war, but significant nonetheless in Trans-Mississippi studies, Johnson tells Price, “But unfortunately there have been feuds and difficulties of almost every kind among them, which have annoyed General Holmes very much, but I think he has adjusted most of the embarrassing cases, and I hope in future, if possible, to avoid difficulties of a like character. They have been such as are incident to the organization of volunteer forces everywhere.”

The communication also included drafted troop number that included four thousand under General McBride’s command and likewise for General Rains’ command, “Many of the troops of the former belong to the State.” He related that Coffee has from eight hundred to twelve hundred troops under his command, “and from all I can learn there is largely over 30,000 troops in this State, but many of them without arms…But as arms are being collected and received from the east of the river it is hoped that all will be armed ere long.”

Civil War Arkansas: A Military Atlas

Civil War Arkansas: A Military Atlas

Information was then given on how a raid into Missouri was being fine-tuned as troops amassed in northern Arkansas and Southern Missouri. Johnson tells Price, “All I meet with are anxious that you should cross the Mississippi River, and many hope that the result of the late great battles, with the movements that must necessarily follow, will enable you to enter the State of Missouri from the southwest, while this army enters at another point, and that they may meet you in the central other important portion of the State.”

He then includes some personal observations on General T.H. Holmes, calling him , “a plain, quiet man, makes no show, but works hard, and I judge from what I have observed that he intends to leave nothing undone in preparing for a forward movement.”

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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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