The Civil War Hub of ArkansasBrigadier-General Elias S. Dennis drafted a report to Major-General J.J. Reynolds on October 4, 1864. Having noted that he received a dispatch sent from September 26, he goes on to say that the weathr has been, “remarkably wet, cold, and unpleasant at this point, and as no preparations have been made for winter the troops are not very comfortable.” Regarding the eager disposition of his troops to be paid, he tells Reynolds, “The arrival of a paymaster will be hailed with delight, as a portion of my command have not been paid for over five months.”

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Another dispatch making it is rounds that day was written by General Fredrick Steele, addressed to Brigadier-General E.S. Dennis, who was then at the mouth of the White River. The information intended for Dennis noted, “The rebels are making strong demonstrations against Pine Bluff [and] I have sent a brigade of cavalry and a regiment of infantry from here to re-enforce General Clayton.”

In the same dispatch, Steele tells Dennis that, “It is probable that Price will soon be driven south [and] Spies report that Magruder will attack both pine Bluff and Little Rock; in this event I have scarcely force sufficient to hold my own.” Due to troop shortages in the case of an attack by Price, General Steele urged Dennis to send him a brigade without haste to DeValls Bluff to report to Steele.

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In another dispatch sent out by General Steele was sent to Major-General E.R.S. Canby. He told Canby that Confederates under the command of Magruder were making demonstrations against Clayton in Pine Bluff. He noted, “All the roads leading there from the south and west and the north bank of the Arkansas are picketed.” The dispatch continued, “I have re-enforced Clayton by a brigade of cavalry and a regiment of infantry, and ordered him to drive in the rebel pickets on the Monticello road, and develop the force at that point.”

Intelligence reports from spies note that, “Magruder anticipates that Price will soon be driven south, in which event he will attack both Pine Bluff and Little Rock, while Price and Shelby fall upon Devall’s Bluff and destroy the railroad.” One problem Steele faces at this moment in the war is the fact that, “My force is being constantly reduced by the muster out of non-veterans.” He noted, “The veteran portions of regiments do not return, as General Halleck promised they should.” Steele closed his frustrated dispatch, “The confusion occasioned by non-veterans being left behind without sufficient date for their muster out is a very serious annoyance.”

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Also on this date, Special Orders 242 was distributed among the Federal army in Arkansas by order of Major-General Fredrick Steele. Sections I and XIII follow:

I. The detachment of the Third Kansas Battery not assigned to Battery K, First Missouri Light Artillery, is hereby temporarily assigned to Battery E, Second Missouri Light Artillery.

XIII. The detachment of the Forty-third Indiana Infantry Volunteers is hereby relieved from duty in this department and will proceed to Indianapolis, Ind., and report at he headquarters of the regiment, for the purpose of being mustered out of the service. The quartermaster’s department will furnish the necessary transportation.

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Civil War Arkansas: A Military Atlas

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In response to a dispatch sent earlier on this date, Assistant Adjutant-General C.H. Dyer wrote to Brigadier-General Solomon, “The brigadier-general commanding directs that your order one regiment of infantry to embark on the steamer Carrie Jacobs and proceed to Pine Bluff.” The troops are to report immediately to General Powell Clayton upon arrival.
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Also on this date General F. Solomon wrote Special Orders Number 113, of which section II follows: “II. The Twenty-seventh Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry will embark without delay on the steamer Carrie Jacobs, to proceed to Pine Bluff. On arriving at Pine Bluff the commanding officer will report to Brigadier General Powell Clayton.”
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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.

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