On September 2, 1861, Special Orders Number 141 was drafted to note that, “The department under the command of Major General Leonidas Polk, Provisional Army, is extended to embrace the State of Arkansas and all military operations in the State of Missouri.” The orders were signed by Assistant Adjutant-General John Withers.
Also on September 2, 1861, Brigadier-General Benjamin McCulloch wrote to the Secretary of War L.P. Walker that he arrived in Fayetteville on August 31, “at which time the State troops were to be mustered into the Confederate service.” He noted that all those that were to be mustered into Confederate service had all left except eighteen to twenty and that in a few weeks’ time, “many of them can be re-enlisted.” The dispatch noted that the men, “do not like the idea of being sent to Pocahontas and leaving their own homes unprotected.”
Nearly three thousand muskets and other arms were turned over to General William J. Hardee at Fayetteville recently. McCulloch told Walker about those arms, “They ought by all means to be left out here, and placed at the disposal of the officers in charge of this country and the Indiana Territory.” Regarding the topic of arming troops for the war, McCulloch wrote, “there is not a single company in my command armed with the Minie musket or rifle.” Among the arms in Fayetteville recently turned over, one thousand of the muskets, “and other arms far superior to this eon the hands of my men.”
Regarding artillery, McCulloch told Walker that it should, “be placed in good condition, and also allowed to remain in this section, as we may have to meet the enemy on the prairies or plains this fall.” His reasons for asking the Department to allow the arms to remain in this section of the country is due to the fact that the Arkansas River makes it very difficult to obtain supplies in the autumn, but that arms and other supplies could be transported to Pocahontas much easier.
Regarding the arms and stores, McCulloch related that the arms and stores in the area, “ought to be under the control of the officer in command of this quarter; and at the same time it would be well to attach to his command that portion of Arkansas which includes the road from Springfield to Fort Smith, which is known as the Telegraph road.”
He did acknowledge the fact that Fayetteville and Pocahontas were too far apart geographically to allow the same person to be in control of both places. One reason for this, McCulloch notes, the area, “is one of the routes the enemy will attempt to force should they ever attempt an invasion of this State.”
One directive McCulloch tells Walker of is that he wants to raise ten companies of artillery, “in addition to the one from Texas, as we will greatly need them on the prairies this fall.” He also wants permission from Richmond to, “keep in service such men as I have been compelled to employ and muster into the service for twelve months.”
In the communication sent, it included several documents, including several that show that the Cherokee have sided with the Confederacy. He then admits that he, previous to now, has, “employed some of the Cherokees, under Colonel Stand Watie, to assist me in protecting the northern borders of the Cherokees from the inroads of the jayhawkers of Kansas.” He noted the Cherokee have done an effectual job of protecting the borders.
Before closing, he related to Walker that Colonel Thomas C. Hindman made him aware that, “there are not more than 1,500 guns at this point turned over to him [and] Some of the men hold their arms until the State pays them for their services.”
Continuation of Hudson’s report:
On September 2, 1864, Colonel John G. Hudson was on an expedition from Helena to Clarendon that left out on August 30. The previous night they were encamped on the Helena and Clarendon Road when they broke camp at 6am on this date. They arrived at Big Creek ten miles distant at 3pm where they ferried half the cavalry and all the artillery and infantry in the space of two hours. They left Big Creek at Wallace’s Ferry at 5pm, “leaving half the cavalry to cross over after we had started with the balance of the command.” They went into camp at Lick Creek at 6pm. The series of Colonel John G. Hudson’s report, broken down by date, can be seen on the following posts:
On September 2, 1864, Captain Thomas J. Mitchell of the 3rd Missouri Cavalry drafted an after-action report of a skirmish at the Tannery near Little Rock. He began by noting on the afternoon of September 2, about seventy-five Confederates attacked a force of Union troops at the tannery, “but were repulsed with some loss.” The report notes that several horses were killed and one Confederate from Colonel Logan’s regiment was captured. Logan’s regiment consisted of 150-200 men, who, according to the prisoner, started from Benton the same morning. The prisoner also revealed that two cavalry brigades under the command of Steen and Cabell were camped along the south side of the Saline River and Logan’s force was on the opposite side of the Saline. Other information obtained from the captured prisoner revealed that there may be an infantry force of Confederates was on the march toward Princeton from Camden. “My whole mounted force are on duty after these rebels, and that it is impossible to fill the detail for twenty-five mounted men called for this afternoon.”
He closed noting that though there were no losses on his side during the skirmish, he did have several horses get captured.
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 email@example.com.