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[138] could not himself well leave the field, and wished to consult him in regard to taking the offensive. General Walker refused to receive a verbal message. Then Marmaduke wrote him a note, and he refused to answer that. As a consequence the enemy were allowed to retire unmolested and undisturbed.

The relations between General Marmaduke and General Walker after the battle of Helena were strained; after the retreat from Brownsville they became more strained; and after the fight at Bayou Meto they were so intense that General Marmaduke informed Col. Thomas L. Snead, General Price's chief of staff, that his division must be removed from Walker's command or his resignation be accepted. This led to a correspondence between Walker and Marmaduke, which resulted in a duel and the death of Walker. Marmaduke and his seconds were put in arrest after the duel, but were released, on a petition from the officers of his division, when it became evident that General Steele intended to assault and take Little Rock, or be beaten in the effort. The release from arrest was temporary, but the affair was afterward quietly allowed to drop.

On the north side of the river, opposite Little Rock, heavy earthworks had been constructed by General Holmes for the protection of the town. The works were formidable, and there were fully as many men behind them as Steele had in his army. In this extremity Steele decided upon the hazardous plan of dividing his army, throwing his cavalry across the river below the town, and threatening it from the east and the south. Walker's brigade, commanded by Colonel Dobbins, was stationed at the ford where the cavalry had to cross, but Dobbins, after a feeble resistance, fell back and the enemy gained the point of getting a foothold on the south side of the river. Marmaduke was ordered to move his division from the front of the works on the north side and recover the lost ground. He crossed at the lower pontoon with his own

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