28Sep/16

United States Colored Troops in Helena, Arkansas

USCT in HelenaOn April 6, 1863 Adjutant General Lorenzo Thomas made a speech at Fort Curtis seeking to enlist former slaves into the U.S. Army. The next day, hundreds of black men joined the 1st Arkansas Infantry (African Descent). Later designated U.S. Colored Troops, these soldiers took an active role in winning freedom for Arkansas slaves. The 54th, 57th, and part of the 69th U.S.C.T. were raised from Phillips County men. U.S.C.T. were in Helena from April 1863 until war’s end. The U.S.C.T. faced hardship and prejudice but fought well and received distinction.

28Sep/16

Today in Arkansas During the Civil War (September 28)

The Civil War Hub of ArkansasOn September 28, 1862 United States Major-General William T. Sherman wrote to Confederate Major-General General Thomas Hindman. Aparently Hindman wrote to Sherman accusing he and his command of incidents on the White River and others. Though we do not know exactly what Hindmand’s questions were, Sherman’s response related, “I have no official knowledge of anything that transpired on White River last summer [and] I will refer that letter to General Curtis, now in Saint Louis.” Sherman then continued, “Nor have I any knowledge of the affair of Samuel Beanter, a citizen of Crittenden County, nor do I believe one word of it.” Because, he said, “Certainly the men of my command never do such acts as you describe.”

The accusations were multiple and Sherman addressed each one. He continued, “As to Lieutenant Tollisen, he was in the Irvin Block here, but escaped last week through the negligence of the guard.” He continued, “Had he remained he would have been tried, and, if convicted of murder, his sentence, after approval by the President of the United States, would surely have been executed.”

“So jealous is our Government of life that no general of whatever rank can inflict the punishment of death except by sentence, after approval by the President of the United States, would surely have been executed.” Said Sherman. “So jealous is our Government of life that no general of whatever rank can inflict the punishment of death except by sentence of a general court-martial, and that must be approved by the President of the United States.”

William T. Sherman then told Hindman, “You know the laws of Congress as well as I do. Now, whether the guerrillas or partisan rangers, without uniform, without organization except on paper, wandering about the country plundering friend and foe, firing on unarmed boats filled with women and children and on small parties of soldiers, always from ambush, or and children and on small parties of soldiers, always from ambush, or where they have every advantage, are entitled to the protection and amenities of civilized warfare is a question which I think you would settle very quickly in the abstract.”

“In practice we will promptly acknowledge the well-established rights of war to parties in uniform, but many gentlemen of the South have beseeched me to protect me to protect the people against the acts and inevitable result of this war of uniformed bands, who, when dispersed, mingle with the people and draw on them the consequence of their individual acts.”

“You know full well that it is to the interest of the people of the South that we should not disperse our troops as guerrillas; but at that game your guerrillas would meet their equals, and the world would be shocked by the act of atrocity resulting from such warfare. We endeavor to act in large masses, and must insist that the troops of the Confederacy, who claim the peculiar rights of belligerents, should be known by their dress, so as to be distinguished from the inhabitants. I refer you to the proclamation of your Kirby Smith in Kentucky on this very point.”

He then tells Sherman that he will refer his dispatches onto Curtis at St. Louis, “with whom I beg you will hereafter confer on all matters under a flag of truce.” Sherman concluded, “He commands our forces west of the Mississippi, and I am not aware as yet that any question has arisen under my command at Memphis that concerns your command.”

Before closing Sherman threw one last punch at Hindman before closing, “The idea of your comments on the failure of ‘your efforts to induce our army to conform to the usages of civilized warfare’ excites a smile. Indeed, you should not indulge in such language in official letters.”

* * *

Also on September 28, 1862 Phelps writes to Major-General H.W. Halleck, commander of the U.S. Army. He begins his report reminding Halleck that he has been ill for the past three weeks and not able to take care of business. In hindsight, he tells Halleck that about July 1 of this year was about the best time the U.S. forces could have taken Little Rock, then still in the hands of the Confederates. He tells Halleck that it was at the time, “the conscription law was being enforced; the people were opposed to it, and many have been forced into the ranks of the rebel army.” Intelligence reports showed there were only a few poorly armed Confederate troops in Arkansas. Since, conscripted reinforcements have arrived from neighboring Texas and were, with some reluctance, “are now performing service willingly.”

He then reminded Halleck of the state of things later in the summer of 1862 when, on August 17 he wrote to Halleck, “stating the rumors in relation to the seizure of cotton and the speculations in that article, in which it was said officers of the conduct of some of the officers, and the late commander of this Army of the Southwest is not exempt from such charges.” He noted that he has not investivated the rumors, however.

Writing Halleck from Helena, he notes, regarding that when the U.S. Army marched from Batesville to Helena and while in Helena, the army was, “much demoralized.” He then told Halleck that, “Much property has been taken from the citizens in this vicinity and but little of it has been accounted for the Government.” One example he gies is, “Horses and mules are owned by private soldiers in the army not doing duty on horseback which were taken from citizens, and they justify their conduct by that of their officers.”

When he reached Helena he urged on an immediate movement upon Little Rock to General Samuel R. Curtis, which was declined. Phelps then writes, “The command of the army devolved on General Steele, who is exempt from the rumors to which I have referred (as are also the greater part of the general officers of this army).” Regarding the army he found in Helena, Phelps related that Steele found the garrison at Helena, ”deficient in many supplies such as he deemed necessary… These have been obtained and he now proposes to move.”

The dispatch Continues:

This town is filled with contrabands, who have been forcibly in many instances brought from their plantations–men, women, and children. Much sickness and mortality prevails amongst them.
A fort was commenced by General Curtis at this place, which the engineer in charge thinks will be of no service, and I suppose was commenced in order to give employment to the slaves. One gunboat in the river near the town will be of more service than this fort. There are two if not three hills in the vicinity which command the hill on which the fort is located. Free papers have been given by the late general commanding to many negroes, and in many instances to slaves who have never worked on fortifications, and whose masters have not been engaged in this rebellion. They we generally granted, as I am informed, on the statement of the negroes themselves. Some of these negroes are here and some of them have gone up the river.

The force in the interior of the State is reported 30,000 and upward, of every description. The largest body is stationed north of Little Rock about 20 miles, at Austin, a town on the line of the Little Rock and Cairo Railroad survey.

The rebels manufacture gunpowder, caps, and ammunition at Arkadelphia, on the Washita, about 60 miles from Little Rock. At this time there is no large force on the northern line of this State. McBride was recently at Batesville with 2,200 (1,500 only effective), and marched in the direction of Greenville, Mo., via Pocahontas. Hindman was reported at Cross Hollows, Benton County, but was only about a week ago at Little Rock.

Now let General Schofield immediately advance from Springfield in the direction of Little Rock and this army move in that direction, as it will unless otherwise ordered.

The enemy may give us a fight at some point northeast of Little Rock. He will have a larger force than we shall have, but we must whip him. If so, he will retreat either to Arkadelphia, crossing Arkansas River at Crystal Hill, 20 miles above Little Rock, or retire toward Fort Smith, up the valley of the Arkansas. The rebels declare they will drive this army into the Mississippi River and march on Saint Louis.

Civil War Arkansas: A Military Atlas

Civil War Arkansas: A Military Atlas

The longer a movement is delayed in this State the more difficult it will be to obtain forage and other supplies from the country. The longer we delay a movement the less probability is there of recruiting for our army in the State and of desertion from their conscripts. It is rumored cattle are brought from Texas to this State. Now, if so, I believe they are designed for the army east of the Mississippi. General Joseph E. Johnson is assigned to the command of the rebel army west of the Mississippi. His name and presence to their army will be worth 5,000 men. I believe the force we can send from this point can whip the rebel army, yet the disparity in the force will be great. Every day’s delay gives the enemy an opportunity to increase his numbers and to discipline his troops.

* * *

Also on this date in 1862, Special Orders Number 39 was drafted and distributed among the command of the Trans-Mississippi Confederates. There are several parts to this order. This first eleven sections are followed by orders for the First Division then the Second Division, Garland’s Brigade, Colonel W.H. Parson’s Cavalry Brigade. There are a total of eighteen sections to General Orders Number 38. The Order follows in italics verbatim:

I. 1st. McRae’s brigade, consisting of McRae’, Matlock’s, Johnson’s, Pleasants’, McNeill’s, and Morgan’s regiment of Arkansas Infantry, and Woodruff’s Arkansas, Battery, will move on Monday next, 29th instant, and report to Brigadier General J. S. Rains, at Elkhorn.

2nd. Burford’s regiment of Texas Cavalry will move immediately, and take post at Elk Mills, reporting to Brigadier General J. S. Rains, at Elkhorn.

3rd. Etter’s Arkansas battery will move at once to Elkhorn, and report to Brigadier General J. S. Rains.

4th. Grinsted’s regiment Arkansas Infantry will move at once to Yellville, and report to Brigadier General M. M. Parsons.

5th. The infantry of Brigadier-General McBride’s command will move to Yellville, and report to Brigadier General M. M. Parsons.

6th. Colonel R. G. Shaver is relieved of the command of Shaver’s brigade, of Roane’s division, and will assume command of his regiment, at Pocahontas.

7th. Cols. James Deshler and F. A. Shoup are relieved from staff duty, and will report to Major General T. C. Hindman, to be assigned to the command of brigades.

8th. Brigadier General J. S. Roane will proceed immediately to Fort Smith, and report to Major General T. C. Hindman, to be assigned to the command of troops in the Indian country.

9th. Major General T. C. Hindman is relieved from the command of the District of Arkansas, and will assume command of the troops in Northwestern Arkansas, Southwestern Missouri, and the Indian Territory, and will organize the same into an army corps, to be styled First Army Corps, Army of the West.

10th. By authority of the War Department, Cols. J. S. Marmaduke and A. Nelson are assigned to duty as brigadier-generals. Brigadier-General Marmaduke will report to Major General T. C. Hindman for duty. Brigadier-General Nelson is assigned to the command of the division composed of his own and Flournoy’s brigades.

11th. The following arrangement of troops not included in the First Army Corps, Army of the West, is announced, viz:

FIRST DIVISION, Brigadier General H. E. McCULLOCH commanding.
First Brigade, Colonel O. Young commanding.-First, Young’s regiment Texas Infantry; second Ochiltree’s regiment Texas Infantry; third, Hubbard’s regiment Texas Infantry; fourth, Burnett’s regiment Texas Infantry.

Second Brigade, Colonel H. Randal commanding.-First, Randal’s regiment Texas Infantry; second, Clark’s regiment Texas Infantry; third, Roberts’ regiment Texas Infantry; fourth, Speight’s regiment Texas Infantry.

SECOND DIVISION, Brigadier General A. NELSON commanding.
First Brigade, Brigadier-General Nelson commanding.-First, Nelson’s regiment Texas Infantry; second, Sweet’s regiment Texas Infantry; third, Darnell’s regiment Texas Infantry; fourth, Taylor’s regiment Texas Infantry; fifth, Gould’s battalion Texas Infantry.

Second Brigade, Colonel George Flournoy commanding.-First, Flournoy’s regiment Texas Infantry; second, Waterhouse’s regiment Texas Infantry; third, Allen’s regiment Texas Infantry; fourth, Fitzhugh’s regiment Texas Infantry.

GARLAND’S BRIGADE (unattached).
First, Garland’s regiment Texas Infantry; second, Wilkes’ regiment Texas Infantry; third, Gillespie’s regiment Texas Infantry; fourth, Portlock’s regiment Arkansas Infantry; fifth, Denson’s company Louisiana Cavalry; sixth, Hart’s Arkansas Battery; seventh, Nutt’s company Louisiana Cavalry.

CAVALRY BRIGADE, Colonel W. H. PARSONS commanding.
First, Parsons’ regiment Texas Cavalry; second, Carter’s regiment Texas Cavalry; third, Chrisman’s battalion of cavalry, composed of Rutherford’s, Anderson’s, and Corley’s companies, with McGehee’s company, to be mounted (Major Chrisman will immediately report, with his battalion, to Colonel Parsons, at Cotton Plant); fourth, Pratt’s Texas Battery.

12th. Colonel J. W. Dunnington is assigned to the command of the river defenses of Arkansas. He will, with the least possible delay, erect fortifications at suitable points on the Arkansas and White Rivers.

13th. Colonel Dawson’s regiment and Lieutenant-Colonel Crawford’s battalion will report to Colonel Dunnington for duty in the fortifications. Colonel Garland will afford him whatever aid may be necessary, and these officers are charged to act in concert with each other.

14th. Captains Fitzhugh and Williams, Corps of Engineers, will report to Colonel Dunnington for duty. Captain Clarkson’s company of sappers and miners will report to Colonel Dunnington for duty, and be under his orders.

15th. Colonel Garland will immediately issue an order to concentrate his brigade at some point near the Post of Arkansas, and is made responsible for the defense of the fortifications against any land attack of the enemy.

16th. Colonel Flournoy will report immediately, with his regiment Texas Infantry, to Brigadier General A. Nelson, at his camp near Austin.

17th. Major General G. H. Hill, commanding battalion of light artillery, will move from his present camp, on Bayou Metoe, to a position near Austin.

18th. The proper staff officers will provide promptly for the movement, subsistence, and equipment of the troops referred to in the preceding paragraphs of this order.

By order of Major General T. H. Holmes;

* * *

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.

27Sep/16

Today in Arkansas During the Civil War (September 27)

The Civil War Hub of ArkansasOn September 27, 1862 Major-General Samuel R. Curtis wrote from St. Louis to General-in-Chief Major-General H.W. Halleck telling him that he had intelligence reports coming into his headquarters noting Confederate movements into the State of Missouri from the southeast and the southwest corners. “Have moved from Helena to make diversion, but that force is so far away it cannot avail much.” He continued, “Picket were fired on near Greenville, Wayne County, last night; 1 of our men killed and 2 wounded.” After coordinating movements of troops and ideas on how to defend against the Confederates inching their way northward, Curtis states, “The storm sets this way just now.”

* * *

Also on September 27, 1862, Major-General Samuel R. Curtis wrote to Brigadier-General Fredrick Steele telling him that, “Since I made the order and sent out dispatches, which will go by the steamer War Eagle, I have seen your dispatch to Schofield, saying you would move on Little Rock.” He told Steele, “If you have moved beyond 20 miles when this reaches you, go ahead at least to White River [and] If what is stated here be true there is little or no force left at Little Rock, and if such be your information, when you get to Devall’s Bluff send forward a cavalry or light force to take that place, destroy military stores, and bring away archives, if any such things are left by the rebels, and immediately fall back to the Mississippi, to carry out the orders I have sent or such others as I may send.” But Curtis then tells Steele, “If you have not advanced 20 miles, let a cavalry force dash on some distance to cover your return, to carry out my Special Orders, Numbers 2.”
* * *

Civil War Arkansas: A Military Atlas

Civil War Arkansas: A Military Atlas

On September 27, 1864 Powell Clayton in Pine Bluff wrote to Captain C.H. Dyer, General Carr’s Adjutant, telling him that the scouting expedition that was sent out in the direction of Monticello returned in this date and the commanding officer of that scout, Lieutenant Grove, reported that, “the disposition of the rebel army [is] about the same as before, except that they have established an out-post of 75 men on this side of Branchville and a continuous line of pickets from there to Mount Elba.” The report noted that Lieutenant Gove, “dashed upon one of these posts” and ended up capturing one prisoner and seven horses, “with equipment.”
* * *

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.

26Sep/16

When you buy these Arkansas specialty license plates, Arkansas State Parks benefit

asp_img_license-plate_2016When you purchase one of these license plates, Arkansas State Parks receives $25.00 which goes into a fund used for educational purposes.* For more information on these Arkansas specialty license plates, please visit the Department of Finance and Administration Page. Get your own specialty plate to support Arkansas State Parks today.

* “Provide funding to a cash fund to be used by the Department of Parks and Tourism for sponsoring college scholarships in the state parks profession and state parks education programs” (HB1558 of 2011)

Each month Arkansas State Parks’ Field Trip Grant Program awards travel funds up to $1000 for public, private, charter, and home school groups in Arkansas, grades K-12. Learn more about the program and download an application.

Info on this page was found at: https://www.arkansasstateparks.com/support-parks/license_plates.aspx

26Sep/16

Today in Arkansas During the Civil War (September 26)

The Civil War Hub of ArkansasOn September 26, 1862 Major-General Samuel R. Curtis wrote to Brigadier-General Eugene A. Carr telling him that, according to recent intelligence reports, McBrice moved with a large force to Pocahontas. He tells Carr that more than likely Parsons has already joined up with McBride. “I will probably re-enforce Helena again, but try to get the front in complete order and be ready for all emergencies.” He then notes that General Thomas C. Hindman has already created a considerable-sized force in the western part of the state.

* * *

Sometimes dispatches got help up for one reason or another. Consider the below dispatch drafted by Brigadier-General Fredrick Steele on September 26, 1862. It Gets to General Halleck “via Cairo” on September 30 at 10:15 pm. In this dispatch Steele informs Halleck that there is not, in fact, a large force that was trying to threat Missouri from Arkansas. He noted that the “principal” part of General T.H. Holmes’ force was still in Little Rock.
Intelligence gathered from a prisoner-soldier revealed about 15,000 Confederate troops at Brownsville, “and it is reported that there are more at Austin, 25 miles from Little Rock.” He continued, “Refugees and deserters say there are from 25,000 to 40,000 about Little Rock.”

Civil War Arkansas: A Military Atlas

Civil War Arkansas: A Military Atlas

The dispatch continued:

“McBride moved from Batesville on the 11th instant, with 2,200 men (only 1,500 armed), toward Greenville, via Pocahontas. Cause of movement; He supposed this army was advancing upon Batesville. Eight thousand troops at Cross Hollows. Schofield requested me to move on Batesville. It is impracticable. My troops would starve. I shall move on Holmes directly. He seems standing off between me and Schofield. My force will be reduced by sickness and those to guard the depots to about 12,000. This command could do splendid service in Mississippi. The fort cannot be completed in less than five weeks. I regard it as an incumbrance, and recommend that it be blow up. I anticipate great difficulty in keeping my command supplied in the interior of Arkansas until the fall rise in White River. It is not navigable for gunboats now.”

* * *

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.

25Sep/16

Today in Arkansas During the Civil War (September 25)

The Civil War Hub of ArkansasSeptember 25, 1862 General Samuel Curtis told Brigadier General that, because he was so far from Helena, any immediate support from General Fredrick Steele would not be possible. He did relate that, however, the best diversion by Steele at this point would be a move onto Little Rock. He wanted to know any reports on spies and refugees. “I do not see how Hindman could raise so large a force and subsist it when I stripped the country.”

His dispatch continued, “Hindman is sharp in deceit and pretenses; his army was in a wretched condition at last accounts.” Intelligence reports that, “Spies direct from his lines gave me full, reliable reports up to the time of my leaving Arkansas. A warning was included in his communication noting to, “be on the alert; the wants of the rebels make them desperate.”

* * *

On December 22, 182 a full report was sent to Brigadier-General John M. Schofield correcting errors found in some of the reports written back in the late summer of 1862, “which are not very important, but for the sake of history should be corrected.” The following report written by Major-General Samuel R. Curtis is placed here verbatim:

For instance, you say you sent me two cavalry regiments. You only sent me a part of two.

In regard to Colonel Daniels’ regiment, you are mistaken in saying it found me at Helena. It arrived after I left there, although, apprehending danger to it, I had sent out re-enforcements to bring it in. It was nevertheless attacked and much injured. I ordered it back to Missouri on my return to the command.

Your speak of my detaining regiments at Rolla. Colonel Glover and General Davidson had attempted to stop troops at Rolla and sent out four to Salem to check reported rebels coming up by Houston.

You think a wrong inference has been drawn as to your communications relating to General Steele, saying it was “but to place him in condition to move immediately and effectively on Little Rock.” As some question has been raised as to this matter, it would seem proper for you to place in your report more than a mere reference to an exhibit showing two items of the evidence, and I present to you fuller details. On the 17th September you telegraphed General Halleck that “Pilot Knob and Rolla are threatened.

* If General Steele’s force is not strong enough to move from Helena would it not be well to bring it up to Cape Girardeau?” Next day General Halleck telegraphed to you, “Communicate with General Steele and endeavor to arrange some system of co-operation with your forces.” The same day you wrote to General Steele relative to the necessity of immediate co-operation:

* A force of probably 30,000 men, under Hindman, is now invading Missouri in the southwest while another force, the strength of which I have not yet learned (but it is by no means small) is moving up from Batesville toward Rolla.

* Indeed I fear the move on Little Rock has been too long delayed to be effective now, even if made successful.
See now only two ways in which your force can be made available to assist in checking the rebel movement upon Missouri, and it is my opinion that one or the other of them should be adopted at once. The one is to retrace your steps to Batesville and strike in the rear of the force now threatening Rolla; the other is to move your force by the river to Cape Girardeau and thence across the country for the same purpose.

General Steele, in reply, September 23, shown the impracticability of going to Batesville, and saying:
If this command is to co-operate with you, the surest and quickest way would be for us to go to Rolla by way of Saint Louis. The Cape Girardeau plan is impracticable.

This shows how General Steele understood your views of co-operation. In the same letter he says he will probably move on Little Rock. On my arrival on the 24th you specially called my attention to the telegraph of General Halleck, directing you to secure Steele’s co-operation. The remoteness of Steele’s position from you made me doubt the possibility of any salutary co-operation by General Steele, and I telegraphed to you:

General Halleck must have supposed Steele was at or near his old point-Reeves’ Station. Little Rock would be the best diversion by Steele.

You replied:
General Halleck knew that Steele was at Helena. If he can move on Little Rock immediately it will undoubtedly be the best diversion, if it is not already too late. If Hindman, by a bold move, can get into Missouri he will not hesitate on account of a force in his rear.

* My only fear is that a move may be made upon some point east of him to cut my Rolla line and stop my re-enforcements.

On the 26th you wrote me in reply to my inquiry about the enemy:

Rains states his whole force, including those just mentioned, at 42,000. This statement was made for our ears. It is doubtless from 20,000 to 25,000.

And in the same letter you state:
The force below, under McBride and Parsons, at 8,000, coming up White River.

All these facts show how very natural it was for me to understand that General Halleck and you desired immediate co-operation by Steele; that you considered the best way by Cape Girardeau, but you acquiesced in a move on Little Rock if immediate. Hence I ordered Steele,if when my message reached him he had (as he said he would in his letter of the 23rd) moved toward Little Rock, he should go ahead and try to take it. If, however, he had not moved (falling in with your repeated expression as to time, as being too late to move on Little Rock), he was to adopt your preferred plan of co-operation by coming up to Cape Girardeau. As you were going farther west, the move on Little Rock obviously became less use to you; and when, about the 1st of September, Governor Phelps came to Cairo and telegraphed General Halleck urging the move on Little Rock, and General Halleck expressed views in favor of that move, but still left it to me, I declined the order, as several more days would have been lost, when you considered time the essence of the movement.

I therefore allowed the orders to be carried out, and do not perceive any material danger growing out of it. Mc Bride and Parsons, seeing troops re-enforcing Pilot Knob, moved back and went to retrieve the repulse given by the Army of the Frontier at Prairie Grove. I have a right to ask a statement of all the facts bearing on this subject to accompany your statement, because I acted promptly on suggestions of yours and General Halleck’s, and, as I think, consistent with them, and properly in view of the circumstances.

* * *

Also on September 25, 1862 Major-General Samuel R. Curtis wrote to Major-General Halleck, Genera- in-Chief of the United States Army that he took command yesterday (September 24, 1864) and admitted that he knew little about the strength and position of his forces. “They seem to be too much scatted.”
He then asked Halleck for copies of recent commands/instruction distributed to his various commanders in the several districts he found himself over. He noted that the Confederate troops in Arkansas under the command of General T.H. Holmes were moving his way, “probably to invest Helena.”
* * *

Civil War Arkansas: A Military Atlas

Civil War Arkansas: A Military Atlas

A communication dated September 25 from Fort Curtis is one of several instances where the Helena garrison was referred to by the name of its fort. Addressed to General Schofield, General Davidson relates information received by Boyd, who reported, “McBride had not advanced yesterday morning from his camp [and that] A very heavy re-enforcement had arrived at Pocahontas, but could not tell where from.” The intelligence report continued, “Coleman is on Eleven Points River [and] Jeffers and Kitchen have moved in several directions…I think a body of them will interrupt the railroad, taking to the Knob.”
* * *

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.

25Sep/16

September 2016 edition of the Arkansas Civil War Roundtable Newsletter

The Civil War Hub of ArkansasWell, we are back to our standard location of 2nd Presbyterian Church. Corner of Cantrell and Pleasant Valley Drive, 1 block east of I-430 and Cantrell exit. We meet at 7:00p.m. on the 4th Tuesday of every month except December. Please bring a friend to hear a lot about our history.

Many thanks to our speaker, Ron Kelley with the Delta Cultural Center in Helena, AR.

Our speaker for our on September 27th will be Dr. Tom DeBlack. Dr. DeBlack is Professor of History at Arkansas Tech University in Russellville, AR. He will give us a talk about “What is to Become of Us?” The Postwar Lives of Major Figures in Civil War Arkansas. There will be a “meet & greet” at Franke’s Cafeteria on N. Rodney Parham with Dr. DeBlack at 5:30p.m.

Below is a listing of the upcoming speakers and subjects for 2016:

Oct 25th, Hank Simmons; Confederate Bonds
Nov. 24th, Drew Hodges topic to be announced
We do not meet in December

We hope you can make all of our meetings. As you can see we have some great programs this year!

The next meeting of the AR Civil War Roundtable will be Tuesday, October 25th with Hank Simmons as our speaker.

Minutes to the August 23, 2016 meeting of the Arkansas Civil War Roundtable:

We met at Catfish City and heard Ron Kelley from the Delta Cultural Center in Helena, AR.

Meeting was called to order by President, Jan Sarna

A quorum was declared

Treasurer, Brian Brown has not received the bank statement for the month of August. We should have around $3,400.

Lonnie Spikes reported that he talked to several people at Entergy Arkansas and got nowhere.

It was reported that the area has been mowed at Fouche Dam.
Meeting was adjourned.

25Sep/16

Today in Arkansas During the Civil War (September 24)

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.

* * *

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.”
* * *

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.

25Sep/16

Today in Arkansas During the Civil War (September 23)

The Civil War Hub of ArkansasOn September 23, 1862 Brigadier-General Fredrick Steele wrote to Brigadier-General John M. Schofield that he would be cooperating with Schofield immediately by moving a force of men to Batesville or he could cooperate by moving his effecting force to Little Rock. One debate against Batesville included Steele noting, “I know of no means by which a considerable force could be furnished with supplies at Batesville.” Knowing the necessity of supplies while operating in enemy territory in Arkansas, Steele relates, “I might succeed in getting supplies enough to Little Rock to enable me to strikeout from that point.” Steele then turns his attention to the White River, which he says, “is navigable for light-draught steamers to Devall’s Bluff, but not for gunboats.”

Noting that he has receive no orders, he then tells Schofield that he believes he would be more effective, all things considered, including the issue of supplies, from Helena. “At present I hold the rebels in check on both sides of the Mississippi and keep Price and munitions of war from crossing into Arkansas.” Steele closed his communication, “You should get re-enforcements from the North if the necessary is urgent; they could reach you much quicker than I can.”

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Civil War Arkansas: A Military Atlas

Civil War Arkansas: A Military Atlas

On September 23, 1864 Powell Clayton in Pine Bluff wrote to Captain C.H. Dyer, the Assistant Adjutant General of the District of Little Rock. He told Dyer that a group of about three hundred Confederates crossed the north side of the river twenty-five miles above Pine Bluff “the day before yesterday”. To be certain, Clayton sent a scout to gather for information. He then wrote, “The spy Hicks was hung this morning at 10 o’clock.”

Later that evening Dyer wrote to Clayton noting that a “detail for teamsters, which was reffered to the 126th Illinois and 106th Illinois Infantry, By Lt. Col. Thrall, commanding brigade, was countermanded by you and that you directed that the order should not be complied with.” He continued, “The Brigadier General commanding wishes to know if such are the facts [and] The detail for teamsters must be filled at once.” Written by Dyer, the dispatch was ordered by Brigadier General Eugene A. Carr.

It was not long afterwards that Clayton responded. “Yes, sir; I did countermand the order of Lieutenant Colonel Thrall, or rather I rirected the commanding officer of those regiments not to comply with that order, and shall do so in the future should that officer attempt in a similar manner to interfere with my command.” He then tells Captain Dyer that the 106th and the 126th Illinois Infantry Regiments were pulled from Thralls command and placed under his command. “I do not recgonize his authority to command those troops or to make details upon them.” Clayton continued in his disapproval of Thrall, “Indeed he was very ignorant of his military duty, or he had a great deal of assurance in sending an order direct to the commanding officers of those regiments whereby, had it been complied with, part of my command would have been withdrawn from me without my knowledge.”

Clayton was indeed upset with Thralls’ actions. “If that way of doing business were permitted I might prepare myself some morning to find that, under orders sent direct by Lieutenant-Colonel Thrall, those two regiments had marched off to DeVall’s Bluff, for if he has a right to order a part of those regiments away he has the same right to order them [all].”

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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.