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After the evacuation of Little Rock the infantry were concentrated at Camp Bragg, near Red river, and the cavalry watched the movements of the enemy at Little Rock and Pine Bluff. The troops were dissatisfied. They confidently expected to fight the Federals at Little Rock and to whip them, and they could not understand why, when General Steele divided his force and took the chance of being beaten in detail, a retreat had been ordered, instead of advantage taken of his hazardous experiment. It has been stated that Colonel Shelby left his sick bed and took command of his brigade as it passed through Little Rock to join Marmaduke in checking the advance of the enemy below the town. Having escaped the bondage Shelby had no intention of returning to it, but, reduced almost to a skeleton and his shattered arm in a sling, he set to work to get permission to make an expedition into Missouri. This was not easily done, but he was persistent.

Some time before Governor Claiborne F. Jackson had died, and Lieut.-Gov. Thomas C. Reynolds had become governor of Missouri, and was recognized as such by the Confederate military authorities as well as the Missourians in the army. Governor Reynolds was a man of bold temper, and an expedition such as Shelby proposed appealed strongly to the chivalry of his nature. Backed by the governor, Shelby finally got the consent of Generals Marmaduke, Price, Holmes and Kirby Smith. On the 21st of September—eleven days after the evacuation of Little Rock—an order was made giving him 600 men and two pieces of artillery for the purpose of proceeding to north Arkansas and south Missouri, and all Confederate commanders and recruiting officers in those sections were ordered to report to him. The next day with a picked band from his brigade he rode away to what officers above him believed to be almost certain capture or death.

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