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Doc. 48. operations in Arkansas.

Report of Major-General Steele.

headquarters Department of Arkansas, &C., little Rock, Arkansas, August 15, 1864.
Record of military operations in the Department of Arkansas for the month of July, 1864:

Fourth. A party of fifty-five men of the Third Arkansas cavalry volunteers from Lewisburg, under command of Captain Hamilton of that regiment, made a raid into Searcy, Arkansas, and killed seven rebels, wounded four, and captured one captain, two lieutenants, and fifty-three men, who were organized for General Shelby's command. They also captured twelve horses and mules, fifteen stand of arms, and one stand of colors.

Sixth. Lieutenant Mason, Third Arkansas cavalry, returned to Lewisburg from a scout to Norristown, having captured three deserters, and destroyed five flats and skiffs.

Tenth. A scouting party, consisting of one lieutenant and twenty men, of the Tenth Illinois cavalry volunteers, ran into a small party of Confederates about twenty miles north of Little Rock, killing and wounding four, and taking one prisoner.

Eleventh. Lieutenant Treadway, Third Arkansas cavalry, returned to Lewisburg from scout to near Devil's Fork, having killed rebel Captain Christopher and one man.

Twelfth. Captain Gill, Third Arkansas cavalry volunteers, returned to Lewisburg, having had a fight with Captain Adams' company on the Arkansas river, near Petit Jean, in which he killed two and wounded several of the enemy.

Fourteenth. A battalion of the Fourth Arkansas cavalry returned from scout through Saline, Hot Springs, and Montgomery counties. Fought with small bands of the enemy daily until arriving at Farr's Mill. Captain Green, with twenty-five men of this battalion, engaged Crook's and Crawford's companies, numbering about a hundred men, drove them, and killed four and wounded six of the enemy, without a single accident happening to his men.

The battalion lost during the expedition one private killed, Captain Guinn and Lieutenant Spirr and six privates wounded, and three men missing.

Seventeenth. Lieutenant Williams, Third Arkansas cavalry, returned to Lewisburg from scout to Norristown, Dover, &c., having killed three bushwhackers and two horses on the Arkansas river, below Norristown.

Twenty-second. Captain Taylor, Third Arkansas cavalry, returned to Lewisburg from scout to Red river, having killed four of the enemy.

Major L. H. Thacher, Ninth Kansas cavalry, while on a scout fifteen miles north-west of Pine Bluff, surprised the camp of Captain Lightfoot, of Cabell's command, wounding one man, capturing two horses, three guns, and a large amount of provisions and medical stores, which he destroyed.

Twenty-fourth. Lieutenant Reynolds, Third Arkansas cavalry volunteers, returned to Lewisburg from scout eight miles beyond camp Myrick, having killed ten of Jackman's and Shelby's men, and bringing in three prisoners.

Twenty-fifth. A scouting party from the Third Missouri cavalry, under command of Captain Jug, proceeded to Benton, Arkansas, and charged into the town. Private George Lucas, company C Third Missouri cavalry, pursued and killed the rebel Brigadier-General George M. Holt, Arkansas militia, capturing his arms and horse.

Twenty-sixth. A reconnoitering party, consisting of three hundred and sixty men of the Fifty-sixth and Sixtieth United States colored infantry, one section of Lembke's colored battery, the whole under command of Colonel W. S. Brooks, Fifty-sixth United States colored infantry, moved from Helena, in the direction of Wallace's ferry, on Big Creek, with the view of ascertaining the designs and force of the enemy. At the same time one hundred and fifty men of the Fifteenth Illinois cavalry volunteers, under command of [404] Major Carmichael, dropped down the Mississippi river on board a steamer, and landing at a point below Old Town, marched in the direction of Sims' ferry, on Big creek, to cooperate with Colonel Brooks.

The infantry and artillery crossed Big creek at five A. M, on the twenty-sixth, and learned that the rebel General Dobbins was near there in force, having three regiments, estimated at fifteen hundred men. Colonel Brooks recrossed his command, Dobbins crossing lower down and before him, and attacked him in front and right flank with vigor. The infantry and artillery held their ground stubbornly for several hours, when Major Carmichael, hearing the cannonading, made a forced march, and charged through Dobbins' command just at the moment when he had brought up his reserves, and was about to make a final charge. Our forces immediately assumed the offensive, and marched in the direction of Helena, the enemy giving away before them, but following them up within nine miles of that place. Our loss was about fifty in killed and wounded, including Colonel Brooks, Captain Lembke, Adjutant Pratt, and Surgeon Stoddard, of the Fifty-sixth colored, killed, and Lieutenant Crane severely wounded, one caisson and one limber were blown up, their horses having been killed. The enemy's loss is estimated, by officers who were in the action, at about one hundred and fifty men.

Twenty-seventh. A force of between fifteen hundred and two thousand rebels, under General Gano, attacked our outpost seven miles from Fort Smith, consisting of about two hundred men of the Sixth Kansas, under the command of Captain Mefford, moving up in two columns, the one driving in the pickets and the other flanking them.

Captain Mefford fought his men bravely, but was soon overpowered, and he and eighty-two of his men were taken prisoners. The enemy retired before reinforcements could be sent. Ten of our men were killed and fifteen wounded.

The enemy lost twelve killed and twenty wounded left on the field.

Major Galoway, of the First Arkansas cavalry, routed Major Pickles' and Buck Brown's forces, killing Major Pickles and a number of his men; and capturing thirty-five horses and mules. Captain Worthington, of the same regiment, subsequently attacked a portion of Brown's force, killing nine, and capturing fifteen horses and mules.

Twenty-ninth. Captain Napirs, Third Arkansas cavalry, returned from scout to Greenbrier, having killed the rebel Captain Birr near Red river.

I have the honor to be,

Very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

F. Steele, Major-General Commanding. Brigadier-General L. Thomas, Adjutant-General, United States Army, Washington, D. C.

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