On September 6, 1864, Major General Sterling Price drafted a report during his move to Missouri as he crossed the Arkansas River. In his report Price gives a summary of the expedition to the current. He left Camden on August 28. He noted that his cavalry were at Princeton and on August 29 Price assumed command and began in a direction toward Little Rock.
Price revealed that, “When at a point within seven miles of Benton I diverged with the column to the left, taking a northwesterly direction, sending General J. F. Fagan across the Saline River to make a demonstration toward Little Rock and at the same time protect my right flank.” On September 5, Fagan joined back up with the column.
“I reached the Arkansas River at Dardanelle to-day.” Wrote Price. “General Marmaduke’s command has already crossed and will hold the front until the trains are over.” He then noted that Colonel Harrison’s brigade was, “delayed so long in coming that I could not wait for it, and left orders for him to report for duty to the commander of the District of Arkansas.”
Price was aware of a Union force at Lewisburg, “and some scouting parties were in this neighborhood on the north side of the river to-day.” Though some of his troops were sick from the effects of the Summer heat and dust, Price reports that, “the troops are in the very best of spirits.”
Colonel John F. Ritter, commander of the 1st Missouri Cavalry, drafted a report on September 7, 1864 that told of a military action. Ritter wrote that on September 5, he took his command of 350 men and proceeded toward Benton; he arrived at 130 pm pn September 6. When they arrived they found a small Confederate force in the town. Ritter noted that the enemy was driven back across the Saline River, including a small skirmish along the banks of the river.
He learned that Confederate Colonel Logan’s Regiment of about 400 men was reported to be in camp about three miles on the opposite side of the river. Ritter wrote, “A prisoner of this regiment who was captured this side of Benton reported that the main force of the enemy had retired to Arkadelphia.”
Another bit of intelligence Rotter was advised of was that the citizens were able to tell him that Price and Fagan had about four thousand cavalry and artillery and left out last Thursday. Ritter noted that his force remained in Benton for about two hours when he left toward Little Rock the distance of about four miles to Mr. Thompsons, “not being able to get forage for my animals at any nearer place, where I encamped for the night.” Throughout the couple days they were out, one man in the 4th Arkansas Cavalry (US) was wounded and two horses wounded, one killed.
Civil War Arkansas: A Military Atlas[/caption]Colonel Abraham H. Ryan of the 3rd Arkansas Cavalry (US) wrote from Lewisburg on September 7 of an action that took place September 6, 1864. He noted that Thomas Dockery’s brigade was on the north side of the Arkansas River at Russellville and Dover. He also took note of his scout of sixty men under Lieutenants Mason and Gates, “dashed into Norris [Norristown] and found Gordon’s regiment, of Cabell’s brigade, on picket.” He continued, “They drove them from the town with no loss, and captured 13 horses.”
Other intelligence from the report revealed that a force of Confederates with mule teams were seen at Dardanelle on this date in 1864. Ryan wrote, “From a woman who had been in Dardanelle they learned that Price was there, and in command [and] The rebels state that they intend capturing this place, to help Shelby out of his scrape, and then go to Missouri.”
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.