On September 8, 1862, Major-General T.M. Holmes wrote a series of concerns to the Honorable George W. Randolph, “of the existing condition of affairs in the military district, and respectfully to request that you would direct such action in reference thereto as the necessities of the case urgently demand.” The 5 cases laid before Randolph begin with the fact that, “There are no funds on hand pertaining to the pay department to disburse to the troops, large numbers of whom have not received a dollar for six, eight, and ten months, and are now becoming clamorous for their pay.”
The second case drafted by Holmes to the attention of the Confederate Secretary of War in Richmond, Virginia include the fact that, “The quartermaster’s department is nearly drained of funds and stores, and if not speedily furnished with means will be unable to provide for even the least of the requirements of the army in this district.”
Holmes’ concerns were serious. Arkansas was on the cusp of a severe summer and these “cases” were only exacerbated by the seriousness of each concern individually. The theirs case explained that the, “commissary, ordnance, and medical departments are likewise in a similarly crippled condition” as the previous.
The fourth “case” laid before the Confederate Secretary of War included the fact that, “The troops are in a great measure destitute of clothing, with no prospect of supply from abroad, and dependent almost entirely upon local and domestic manufactures, which must be promptly paid for, as the people who furnish them are generally poor and cannot extend a credit.”
Using the fourth as an appropriate segue to the concluding case, Holmes continues with the final concern drafted on this date in 1862, “Government credit has been injured by the large number of certified accounts distributed among the people who have furnished the army with supplies.” Holmes continued, “These accounts, made within the past nine months by regimental quartermasters, are in the majority of cases informal, and cannot be paid by the post quartermasters even if they had the funds.”Despite the drought, despite the growing hostilities between the two opponents in Arkansas, Holmes’ administration troubles were piling up. He explained, “The difficulties could all be surmounted were the funds in hand to operate with; but though two agents have been sent to Richmond by General Hindman, with estimates regularly approved, as yet to money has been received, I have now respectfully to ask your interposition, and to urge that, unless the funds for use of quartermaster’s department (estimates for which are sent forward to-day by Mr. S. H. Tucker, a citizen of this place) be speedily furnished, in whole or in part, it will be impossible to accomplish anything the army now assembled and en route here.”
“Much has been already done with very limited means, but much remains to be effected before the army can move.” Holmes continued with a possible solution, “In respect to the certified accounts in the hands of the people, permit me to suggest the appointment of a commission of claims, to receive, inspect, and settle these accounts, many of which are informal, but doubtless most of them just [and] They are now a source of great dissatisfaction, and if permitted to remain much longer uncared for may be productive of harm.”
On this date in 1864, Colonel A.H. Ryan wrote to Brigadier-General Eugene A. Carr in Lewisburg that Lieutenant-Colonel Fuller along with scout of 130 men met up with Cabell’s force “twenty miles from here, on Springfield and Dover road, en route for this place.” The dispatch noted that, “Fuller was surrounded, but cut his way out; Lieutenants Wishard, Carr, Greene, and 30 men missing.” He wrote that he, “sent word to Colonel Stephenson to start the train for Little Rock immediately [and] Have sent courier after the other scouting parties. I have everything in readiness to advance or retreat soon as scouts get in.”
Later in the evening Ryan wrote another letter to Carr telling him that, “Lieutenants Carr, Wishard, and Greene have come in, Greene slightly wounded.” He included, “I do not think our loss will exceed 15 killed, wounded, and missing.”
Intelligence communicated to Carr by Ryan included three Confederate brigades, “Dockery’s, Cabell’s, and, I think Fagan’s.” He said, “I presume the enemy will move to Springfield and try and cut us off from the Cadron.” In conclusion, Ryan admitted that the horses in his command were, “pretty well used up; am giving them a few hours… If there are any horses to spare in Little Rock, I trust we can get some, as we need them badly.”
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.