On September 17, 1861, Brigadier-General William J. Hardee drafted a letter to Major-General Leonidas Polk regarding a few topics, one of which was the current state of his ill troops. Hardee began by informing Polk that it took four days for his previous dispatch to arrive, having been sent out on September 14. Hardee, then at Pittman’s Ferry, told his friend and fellow general that he acknowledged the fact that Polk was now over all military operations in Arkansas and Missouri. Hardee added that he would, “comply cheerfully with your orders to move my command to the Mississippi River.”
Hardee had just given Colonel Patrick Cleburne orders to move his command, “as soon as practicable and repair the Point Pleasant plank road [and] I agree with you that this route, if practicable, which I shall soon ascertain, is the shortest and easiest by which I can place my command in supporting distance of your force.”
He then addresses the ill troops in his command. He began, “I am much embarrassed by the number of sick.” Hardee related that this morning’s report noted nine hundred sick in a command of a total of 4,529 present. “This number does not include that part of my command at Pocahontas, numbering about 1,100 men.”
As soon as Cleburne’s command completed the repair of the plank road, Hardee told Polk that he would transport his command to Point Pleasant, “with the least practicable delay.”
On this date in 1862, troop levels were tallied for the District of Arkansas. The following information was given for Arkansas:
-Cooper’s (Indian) Brigade: 296 officers; 6,961 men; 7,559 aggregate present
-Carroll’s Brigade: 183 officers; 3,156 men; 3,828 aggregate present
-Rains’ (Missouri) Brigade: 7 officers; 303 men; 327 aggregate present
-Nelson’s Division (Sweet’s Brigade): 136 officers; 1,614 men; 2,492 aggregate present
-Nelson’s Division (McRae’s Brigade): 182 officers; 2,435 men; 4,221 aggregate present
-Roane’s Division (Shaver’s Brigade): 118 officers; 1,372 men; 2,528 aggregate present
-Roane’s Division (Garland’s Brigade): 66 officers; 970 men; 1,317 aggregate present
-McBride’s Brigade: 137 officers; 2,145 men; 2,991 aggregate present
-Parsons’ (M.M.) Brigade: 471 men; 760 aggregate present
-Parsons’ (W.H.) Brigade: 69 officers; 862 men; 1,110 aggregate present
-Artillery Battalion (Shoup’s): 25 officers; 568 men; 681 aggregate present
Totals: 1,219 officers; 20,875 men; 27,614 aggregate presentRemarks:
-Colonel O. Young’s brigade of General H.E. McCulloch’s command, near Austin, Arkansas, informally reports effective strength about 3,000. Five regiments.
-Colonel H. Randal’s brigade, of the same command, near Austin, informally reports effective strength about 3,000. Five regiments and one battalion.
-Anderson’s unattached company, about 60 men, on duty as Partisan Rangers east of White River.
-Chrisman’s squadron, about 150 men, encamped near Little Rock.
-Nutt’s unattached cavalry, about 90 men, at Post of Arkansas, with Garland’s brigade.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.