The Civil War Hub of ArkansasOn September 24, 1862, General Orders Number 135 was drafted by the U.S. War Department under the command of the Secretary of War E.D. Townsend. General Orders 135 placed Arkansas, along with Missouri, Kansas, and the bordering Indian Territory in the Department of the Missouri and is to be commanded by Major General Samuel R. Curtis, whose headquarters was in Saint Louis.

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Also on this date in 1862 Fredrick Steele in Helena wrote to Major General H.W. Halleck. He began by telling Halleck that General W.T. Sherman recently communicated with him noting that Halleck wanted Steele to “remain in statu quo for the present.” Steele noted that he has been sending large scouting expeditions northward toward the Delta communities of Cotton Plant, Saint Charles, and Clarendon. Intelligence gather noted that the Confederates in the area were fortifying at St. Charles. Steele wrote, “I have sent expeditions down the river to break up depots, etc. [and] They have brought back five fine wharf-boats.”
He noted that, “A force under General Benton is now back of Taconia, near White River, to break up the camp of instruction for conscripts and to examine road from the Mississippi to the White.”
In this dispatch Steele tells Halleck that he, “could easily take Little Rock, but at present the question of supplies is a very serious one.” He continued, “The water is low in the Arkansas and White Rivers, and transportation by land would require large escorts.” He also acknowledged that, “Helena would require a garrison… Fort Curtis is a humbug.” He noted, “One gunboat would answer the purpose better. Shall make a dash either on the other side of the river or after Holmes.”
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Civil War Arkansas: A Military Atlas

Civil War Arkansas: A Military Atlas

On this date in 1864 Powell Clayton wrote to Dyer an update on the scouting expedition sent north from out of Pine Bluff yesterday. He learned that the scout did not find anything of interest.

Also on this date the drama between Clayton and Thrall continued. By order of General Carr, Dyer drafts a dispatch to Clayton telling him, “You will furnish the number of men called for by Lieutenant-Colonel Thrall {and] You will send the men, as also a list of their names, without delay.”

Later that evening Steele directed Charles Scammon to tell Clayton to, “not furnish the detail for teamsters for the present, as he has received reports that indicate a large force in your vicinity.”

Also on this date an order was drafted by Lieutenant Colonel William D. Green telling Brigadier General J.M. Thayer to order his battalion of the 11th USCT (colored troops) and a detachment of the 3rd Wisconsin Cavalry Regiment, to proceed “with as little delay as possible” to Little Rock where they were to report to Colonel Cummings, the superintendent of colored troops.

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The James Ginnett Collection only had one entry for September 24, 1864:
-Hamilton Pry from Company K in the 13th Illinois Cavalry Regiment was from Frankfort, Illinois. He died on this date at Pine Bluff.
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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 info@arkansastoothpick.com.