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Chapter 9:

September 25, 1863, Lieutenant-General Holmes, having returned from a visit to Gen. Kirby Smith at Shreveport, La., resumed command of the district of Arkansas, with headquarters at Arkadelphia on the Ouachita river, 65 miles southwest of Little Rock, directing Maj.-Gen. Sterling Price to take charge again of his division, and Brigadier-General Frost to resume command of his brigade. Maj. George A. Gallagher, a leading member of the bar of Little Rock, who had served as a private in Virginia and Mississippi, was appointed assistant adjutant-general, with Maj. L. A. McLean. The Confederate army was encamped in the vicinity of Arkadelphia, to which place the army workshops had been removed, and where manufactories had been established by General Hindman when in command of the district.

Near Arkadelphia, in the flat-pine woods, the digging of shallow wells yielded salt water, from which large quantities of salt were obtained for the army and the citizens by evaporation from kettles set in rows upon crude outdoor furnaces, according to the process of boiling and crystallizing the juice of the sugar-cane. A large number of men, women and children, whites and negroes, were employed in this industry, camping out and enjoying it [224] as a picnic. The lands of that region are productive, and the yield of various grains afforded subsistence sufficient as yet. General Marmaduke, in command of cavalry at Rockport, between Arkadelphia and Little Rock, September 14th, reported no enemy in pursuit, but could not say how long it would be before he would be forced from his position there. He was sending scouts in the direction of Pine Bluff, Little Rock and Hot Springs.

While the army was near Arkadelphia, General Cabell obtained leave of absence, and the command of his brigade devolved upon Col. J. C. Monroe. Major Harrell was ordered to Carroll county, Ark., the Missouri border, and, making day-and-night marches, he forded the Arkansas at Ozark early in October. Encountering a small force of Federals, he routed them and proceeded up the Mulberry to the head of the Buffalo, crossing over to King's river in Madison county. There he formed a junction with a considerable force of Confederate cavalry under Col. W. H. Brooks, who had obtained a transfer from his infantry brigade in Fagan's division, with authority to raise a cavalry brigade in Washington and adjoining counties. Two companies being added (Peel's and Ingraham's) to Harrell's battalion, a reorganization was ordered by Colonel Brooks, at which Major Harrell was elected lieutenant-colonel of the battalion. He was ordered to scout through Carroll county to Sugar Loaf, and in Missouri beyond White river. He drove out the Missouri militia, captured prisoners and horses, and rejoined Colonel Brooks at a later date, on Frog bayou, in Crawford county.

General Shelby, after the evacuation of Little Rock, with the hope of recruiting his brigade of Missourians, obtained permission to go on an expedition into Missouri, and crossing the Arkansas, September 27th, marched by way of Huntsville beyond the Wire road near Sugar creek. After a raid of considerable range and some fighting nearly every day, he returned to Cross Hollows, [225] Ark., and about the 19th of October reached Huntsville, with McNeil in pursuit. He then crossed the headwaters of the Buffalo, Harrell's battalion, which had not yet crossed the Arkansas, covering his retreat to the head of Limestone valley, which has an outlet to shallow fords of the Arkansas river, near the mouth of Piney. While he was ascending the bluffs of the Buffalo crossing, with McNeil close on his trail, the enemy was fired upon in the defiles by divided detachments of Harrell's battalion and brought to a stand. Then McNeil, taking Harrell's force for Shelby's command, deployed in line of battle, with the view of flanking Shelby—an imposing array, extending a mile or more up and down the bluff, which he crossed in this manner, occupying hours. This, however, was not Shelby's army, but Harrell's detachment. On the 27th, McNeil, with his brigade, marched into Clarksville on the Arkansas, to learn that Shelby had made the crossing of the Arkansas river below there, and that Brooks had gone. He turned his course up the river toward Van Buren and Fort Smith. His force consisted of Hunt's First Arkansas cavalry, and Iowa, Missouri and Wisconsin troops, forming a force of about 1,500 men, infantry, artillery and cavalry.

Colonel Brooks crossed the Arkansas soon afterward near the same place with 1,000 men or more, and on the south side encountered a force of Federal cavalry under Captain Gardner, which Harrell's battalion charged without orders, taking 20 prisoners and capturing twice as many horses. Moving through Caddo gap, Colonel Brooks crossed the Little Missouri and went into camp at Temperanceville, early in December, with about 1,000 men and horses. Plenty of subsistence for men and forage for horses was found in the neighborhood, but the weather became severe. Snow, sleet and rain fell upon the men and horses, who were without shelter except straw shacks made upon inclined scaffolding of rails, and much suffering followed. While there, Colonel [226] Brooks was transferred to other duty. Harrell's battalion was put on outpost duty there until ordered to report to Cabell's brigade, then camped at Columbus, in Washington county. General Cabell had returned from his visit to Texas and placed his brigade in comfortable winter quarters—huts, with doors and chimneys—with abundant food and forage. The brigade now numbered about 2,500 mounted men, with Hughey's battery of four guns. Shelby was in winter quarters on the Little Missouri, and Marmaduke's brigade near Red river at Harvey's.

October 31, 1863, the monthly return of Marmaduke's cavalry division showed the following strength, ‘present for duty’: Marmaduke's brigade, 139 officers, ,269 men, 1,751 horses, 8 pieces of artillery; Shelby's brigade, 35 officers, 271 men, 1,624 horses; Cabell's brigade, 91 officers, 779 men, 963 horses, 4 pieces of artillery; Dobbin's brigade, 33 officers, 416 men, 563 horses; Texas brigade, 26 officers, 297 men, 1,110 horses, 6 pieces of artillery; temporary dismounted cavalry regiment, 12 officers, 144 men, 217 horses; Wood's battalion, cavalry and artillery, 14 officers, 205 men, 222 horses. Total, 350 officers, 3,381 men, 6,450 horses, 18 guns. Aggregate present, 5,060. Brooks' brigade reported 18 officers, 1,500 men, 1,518 horses.

The abstract from return for the district of Arkansas, November, 1863, showed the following aggregate present: Price's division infantry, 5,795, 16 pieces of artillery; Fagan's infantry, 2,257; Marmaduke's cavalry, 4,482, 16 pieces of artillery; Brooks' cavalry, 431; Newton's brigade, 587; Carter's command, 353; total, 13,905. Present for duty, 1,017 officers and 10,354 men; artillery 32 guns.

By orders of war department, August 18, 1863, Brig. Gens. W. N. R. Beall and S. B. Maxey were assigned to the Trans-Mississippi department, and directed to report to General Holmes for duty. August 10th Col. T. P [227] Dockery had been ordered to report to Lieut.-Gen. E. Kirby Smith. He was directed:

To assemble the scattered and furloughed men, who had passed west of the river, of the brigade recently commanded by you at the surrender of Vicksburg, take command, and proceed to organize and equip them as perfectly as maybe practicable. You will discriminate between such as before the final departure from Vicksburg were, by the act or with the complicity of the enemy, contrary to the terms of the capitulation, transferred to the west bank of the Mississippi, and those who afterward by straggling, or after furlough, returned to that side, and return lists as early as possible of the two classes, both to the general commanding the Trans-Mississippi department and to the adjutant and inspector-general here. The first class will, with the approval of the commanding general, be regarded as discharged from all obligations of parole and free for immediate service. Of the exchange or discharge of the others you will be informed as soon as it can be effected. . . . It is desirable that these troops be returned from the west to the east side of the Mississippi; but in reference to the ultimate disposition of your brigade, you will obey such instructions as may be given by the commanding general of the Trans-Mississippi department.

On the 7th of October, Gen. Kirby Smith wrote to General Holmes, instructing him in regard to the disposition of his forces; directing the removal of the telegraph line from Arkadelphia, and the removal of army stores from Washington to Shreveport; that the position at Arkadelphia was good only as covering the magazine at Washington, Ark.; that Camden was a better position than Arkadelphia for the infantry; the Little Missouri a stronger front than the Ouachita, as its bottoms in winter are impassable; that concentration at Camden would be easy, and the line of retreat toward Shreveport would be secured. This contemplated the abandonment of all territory in Arkansas. General Smith explained the necessity for such dispositions as follows:

You will see that the force below Shreveport [under [228] Banks] which has so long been menacing us, is about finally developing its plan of operations. From their position, an advance on either Alexandria or Sabine Pass is still practicable. Should the former course be adopted, and the Red river valley be made their line of advance, I shall concentrate your command on Taylor's, and drawing what support I can from Magruder [in Texas], risk a general engagement somewhere below this point [Shreveport]. Prepare your command for moving south with as little delay as possible. The smallest Arkansas brigade of infantry with the cavalry under Marmaduke, should be left in Arkansas. Your line of march will be either direct to Shreveport or by Minden to Campti, crossing the river at Grand Ecore.

October 11th, Colonel Dobbin reported that he had been driven from Tulip to Dallas county, 80 miles southwest of Little Rock.

On October 24th, Marmaduke, with his division, marched upon Pine Bluff, which the enemy had occupied a few days after Steele's entry into Little Rock. Having crossed the Saline, fordable at any point, by a night march from Princeton, he arrived at Pine Bluff on October 25th, and sent a flag to the commander at 9 a. m. demanding surrender. The place was occupied by the Fifth Kansas and First Indiana, numbering, the enemy claimed, 600 men only. Upon receiving the summons to surrender, the Federals employed 300 negroes in rolling cotton bales out of the warehouses where they were in storage for those who had influence to save them from the cotton burner. With the cotton bales the Federal commander, Colonel Clayton, fortified the streets leading to the public square in Pine Bluff, and planted six mountain howitzers and three steel rifled guns, so as to command every street leading into the square. His rear was protected by the Arkansas river

The Confederates, with about 2,000 men and 8 pieces of artillery, speedily occupied the enemy's camp and the town, except the public square. The court house, built [229] of brick, was filled with Federal sharpshooters. Some Confederates went over the breastworks, but it was apparent that with the aid of the enemy's nine pieces of artillery, the position could only be carried by storm. The end, a brief occupation, would not have justified the sacrifice of life necessary. The Confederates replied to the enemy's artillery for a short time, but discovering that the houses of citizens, those of General James, General Yell and John Bloom, near the square, were in some way ignited, either by the enemy or the artillery fire, they withdrew their artillery, and eventually their whole force, at 2 p. m.

Colonel Clayton reported his loss at 11 killed, 27 wounded and 1 missing, and 5 negroes killed and 12 wounded. The Confederate loss, as reported by General Marmaduke, was about 40 killed and wounded. Among the killed of his command were Capt. Fenn Rieff, of Monroe's regiment, Cabell's brigade; Lieut. D. Biser, adjutant of Greene's regiment, Orderly John Smith, of Newton's regiment. General Marmaduke reported the capture of 250 mules, 400 blankets, 600 or 1,000 bales of cotton taken, and a large quantity of quartermaster stores. He also reported that his troops behaved well, and ‘the Federals fought like devils.’ As he withdrew his forces the enemy advanced, attacking Greene's brigade, but were repulsed. The regiment of Colonel Lawther, covering the rear, also repulsed an attack of the enemy. Marmaduke retired and went into camp at Princeton. Col. R. C. Newton, in this affair, commanded his brigade of Arkansas cavalry, the Texas brigade under Maj. B. D. Chenoweth, and Wood's battalion of Missouri cavalry.

Although the attack on Pine Bluff failed of its object, it had a wholesome effect in showing to the Federal commander that the Confederate forces which retired from Little Rock, in the fulfillment of a policy long since decided upon by those in control, were by no means disheartened and without power and spirit to strike when [230] opportunity should call for action. It put an end to the random Federal forays which had been commenced after the fall of Little Rock, and caused the Federal commander to keep his army concentrated and disciplined for the moment when it should be ordered to move, in accordance with a studied plan of strategy, in concert with other forces constituting the army of the Southwest. General Marmaduke was wise not to waste the lives of his command in a coup de main, which if successful would have realized no substantial result or permanent advantage.

The next day the First Iowa cavalry, sent to Pine Bluff, followed on the trail of Marmaduke to Tulip, and turning off at Princeton, marched on the evacuated Confederate post of Arkadelphia, capturing eight or ten sick soldiers, ‘a large mail,’ some Confederate money, two lieutenants, some salt, and three 6-mule trains. Marmaduke had gone to camp near Washington.

General Price had marched his infantry division to position near Camden, on the lower Ouachita. The Federal general, Rice, with 2,000 infantry and two 6-gun batteries, moved out from Little Rock, October 18th, but returned soon. Gen. Kirby Smith sent to General Holmes the following forecast, November 1st, which proved correct: ‘I hardly think the enemy will move this season with the intention of opening the campaign. They may be acting in connection with General Banks and intend to prevent reinforcements going to General Taylor. They will not attempt an advance beyond the Ouachita or the Little Missouri if they find you in their front and any opposition is made to them.’

Harrell's battalion was on outpost duty toward Mt. Ida, and his scouts pursued the Federal scouts from time to time until the winter weather grew so severe that neither side attempted military operations. On December 15th, Col. Lewis Merrill, with 1,000 men, surprised a camp of newly-formed State troops in an unarmed camp of exchanged men, near Princeton, and caused them to fall [231] back toward Camden. He returned a blood-and-thunder report of his men killing numerous Confederates with the saber, and wounding many more with that rarely-used implement. No one of the Confederate camp ‘stood’ to be reached by a saber, and none were made prisoners or ever exhibited wounds from that or any other weapon. They were simply dispersed without a fight of any description. The slaughter was ideal; the flight, a real test of horsemanship and woodcraft. It was, however, accepted as a veritable ‘battle’ at Little Rock, and heralded as a ‘famous victory.’

The Federals had augmented their forces at Fort Smith, by the 1st of December, to 5,000 whites and blacks and their Arkansas cavalry were pushed forward to Waldron, 50 miles south of Fort Smith. On October 24th Brig.-Gen. R. M. Gano was ordered to report to Brig.-Gen. William Steele, and on December 11th Steele was, at his own request, relieved from the command of Indian Territory and Brig.-Gen. S. B. Maxey assigned.

Gen. Kirby Smith, on December 20th, left Shreveport for Camden, with the purpose of making a forward movement to regain the Arkansas valley, in which he was to be aided by the forces in Louisiana under Maj.-Gen. Richard Taylor. He had prepared Taylor to make a simultaneous advance with General Holmes, but kept this secret, hoping to draw the Federals out of Little Rock by the maneuvers of Holmes' weaker force, and then overwhelm them with Taylor and Holmes combined.

But after reaching Camden, Smith wrote Taylor, on the 23d, that on investigation he found it would be madness to attempt to drive the enemy from Little Rock. Steele had prudently fortified his key points. At Pine Bluff were intrenchments inclosing the principal part of the town, with a deep ditch in front, and a second line of cotton bales. Four regiments and twelve cannon were in position. At Little Rock, two large forts had been completed, and other works, held by 6,000 men, and Benton [232] was fortified and held as an advanced post. It was Smith's information that by drawing in his outposts Steele could concentrate 12,000 effective men. Against these Holmes had but 5,000 infantry and 4,000 cavalry, a force which Mouton's division would swell to 12,000. Consequently, the projected blow for the Arkansas valley was abandoned as ‘Quixotic and impracticable.’ Regarding the disposition of the Confederate forces, General Smith said: ‘General Holmes will place his troops in winter quarters, holding the line of the Ouachita, and will endeavor to discipline and improve their morale for operations in the spring. . The Texas brigade goes directly to Texas. Price holds his Missouri division ready to move as circumstances may require.’ General Smith had been notified that 25,000 stand of arms were at the Mississippi, to be crossed for his troops, and General Mouton was directed to use his division, aiding Col. L. F. Harrison, and reinforced by Dockery's 900 unarmed mounted infantry—paroled Vicksburg prisoners—to cover and protect their transportation to Monroe.

General Marmaduke, who was to lead the advance to the Arkansas river, and had reached Camden, in his letter of the 28th to his adjutant-general, Maj. Henry Ewing, wrote, ‘The whole program is changed.’ He set forth the new plan, which was for the cavalry to operate on the Mississippi and Arkansas rivers. Therefore Marmaduke did not move except for forage. Shelby remained in the passes of the Little Missouri around Murfreesboro, in Pike county, Cabell in the black lands of Hempstead, on the Ozanne and Plum creek, amidst impassable black mud, but where there is corn in abundance, only 12 miles from Washington. His brigade of about 3,000 men made the best of the situation. The officers and men got up horse-races. The young officers were entertained by the pretty girls—daughters of Colonel Cannon, Dr. Brown, Dr. Walker, and Mrs. Stuart, at Columbus, and of Dr. Jett, Major Witter, and Mr. Britton, at Washington. Many [233] notables and notables-to-be resided there—Senator Charles B. Mitchell, John R. Eaken, chancellor and supreme judge, Senator James K. Jones, then a private under General Forrest, Col. Daniel Jones, afterward governor; and sojourning there were Judges David Walker, Geo. C. Watkins and Albert Pike, for it was the temporary capital of Arkansas. Governor Flanagan, who resided at Arkadelphia, was near there at the head of ‘State troops’; but ex-Governor Rector was at Columbus, a member of the Home Guard. Thus passed six or eight weeks, while the men and horses were recuperating for the season when the Federals should advance in force.

Meanwhile the usual scouts and skirmishes continued. There was a combat at Brownsville, January 17th, between Poe's Confederate rangers and Missouri Federal cavalry. January 21st, a scout of Kansas cavalry from Waldron, Scott county, passed down the Little Missouri into Sevier county and, making a circuit, returned north along the Cossatot, attacking Captain Williamson's company of Confederate cavalry in the rear at Baker Springs, killing the commander and dispersing his command. Harrell's battalion was sent in pursuit of the raiders, but was unable to overtake them. Gen. Dandridge McRae, tired of camp life with the infantry, obtained orders to scout and recruit a cavalry command in White and adjoining counties, along White river, and speedily organized a force of 300 men, with which he met and skirmished with Livingston's rangers from Batesville at Lunenburg, killing Captain Baxter, Fourth Arkansas (Federal) infantry; took possession of Jacksonport a few days afterward, and held the south side of Red river. McRae, Freeman and James Rutherford made life irksome for the Federal commander of the Batesville district thenceforward, operating throughout White, Jackson, Woodruff and Independence counties. January 30th, Captain Kauffner, with a detachment of the Third Arkansas (Federal), [234] made a raid against McRae's force, capturing a lieutenant of Andrew Little's company and 11 men, as he reported, near Searcy landing. At Hot Springs, February 4th, Capt. Wm. Harrison surprised and killed some mountain Federals who had been terrorizing his family. February 5th, Gen. C. B. Holland, in command of Missouri and Arkansas cavalry, made a raid on Berryville, Carrollton and Rolling prairie, in pursuit of Freeman and Love's Confederate commands, which had crossed White river at Talbot's ferry on an expedition into Missouri. Holland reported that his valiant Missouri militiamen killed 70 men on this raid, and captured 8 or 10 ‘prisoners,’ who were non-combatants very likely, or they would not have been captured.

These expeditions were simply such as Stanley has described of the Arabs upon Turi and Congo rivers. In January the Federal commander at Fayetteville sent out an expedition, under Captain Galloway of the First Arkansas (Federal), through Carroll into Searcy county. At Clear creek it met a scouting party from Col. A. R. Witt's command, which, after a skirmish, fell back to the crossing of the Tomahawk. There the Federals were again attacked by the Confederates, but proceeded to Burrowsville, the county seat of Searcy county, being fired upon from the brush along the march. On January 25th, Captain Human, of this expedition, proceeded with his Missouri company to Van Buren county, ‘killing and capturing a number of prominent rebels.’ Galloway learned on the 26th that a detachment of Missouri cavalry bearing dispatches from General Sanborn had been attacked and 11 men killed by Col. Tom Freeman's men. The defeat of Colonel Freeman near Batesville, and the pursuit of Colonel Witt across the Arkansas river below Clarksville, were also reported. Returning to Crooked creek and Rolling prairie, in Marion, Galloway told of pursuing a force of 300, killing and capturing a number, and about Dubuque, on White river, ‘killing [235] ten rebels.’ He summed up the result of the scout as ‘over 100 killed of the rebels, with a loss on our side of 2 killed and 3 wounded.’ He was twenty days in that remote but fertile region, which had been raided and foraged over by the soldiers of both sides since the summer of 1862. The citizens had not dared to sleep in their own houses for a year or more, but took their bedclothing to the hollows and thickets, and there ‘slept out’ in the coldest of weather for fear of being murdered in their beds; and if found in these positions were shot down as ‘bushwhackers.’ These reports must magnify the number slaughtered, as, if summed up, they show the destruction of twice the whole population of those counties. Lieutenant Phelps, of this expedition, moved across Judea (Judah) mountains to the vicinity of Bellefonte, and reported that his command alone ‘killed 15 or 20, and wounded several more. Serviceable property captured by my regiment in this expedition has all been branded and memorandum taken of it.’ It doubtless consisted of cows, pet heifers, calves and poor old farm horses belonging to the old men and widows along the route of his raid; saddles, bridles, bedquilts and coverlets of the children, and children's clothing. The natives had no ivory, palm oil, or ostrich feathers with which to render tribute to the doughty invaders. The hero of this expedition was son of the Col. John S. Phelps, whom Mr. Lincoln had just appointed governor of Arkansas, as if it were one of the territories of the Union.

General Smith's defenses of the Trans-Mississippi department extended from the Indian Territory, through Arkansas, to the Mississippi, and down that stream to the mouth of Red river; thence by the Atchafalaya bayou to Berwick bay, and thence along the Gulf coast to the Rio Grande. His forces were collected at three points—those under Taylor holding the lower Red river, Price confronting Steele, Magruder on Matagorda peninsula. The immense transportation of the enemy enabled him [236] to commence the invasion at any moment, at any point he might select, while the great distances between the Confederate commands made it impossible to concentrate rapidly or assume the offensive. When the enemy should develop his plans, the Confederate maneuver was to endeavor to throw our whole force against one of the enemy's columns. Believing the enemy would choose the line of Red river as his main line of attack, when the water rose to admit gunboats in support of the movements of infantry, General Smith prepared to concentrate against the invasion, for this purpose establishing depots of subsistence and forage along the roads through the barren country between Tyler, Tex., and Red river, and between Camden, Ark., and the town of Natchitoches. The people of the Arkansas valley, given up to the Federals; were incredulous of the commander's plan of ‘drawing the enemy on,’ and the critical ones invented epigrams expressive of their belief in a disastrous result.

On March 5, 1864, General Holmes was notified by General Smith of the opening of the to-be famous Red river campaign, Federal operations having already been reported by General Taylor on the Ouachita. ‘By Northern dates of February 18th,’ wrote Smith, ‘the arrival at Little Rock of one of General Banks' staff was announced, with the statement that arrangements were being made for the cooperation of General Banks and General Steele. The intelligence from below makes it probable that a simultaneous movement from General Steele may be anticipated. . . . You may expect to wind up the campaign by making your headquarters at Little Rock.’

Sterling Price, returning from leave of absence March 8th, resumed command of his division, and wrote to General Smith advising him to concentrate 20,000 men and attack Steele, and relieve the armies east of the Mississippi by invading Missouri. On the 11th, Lieutenant-General Holmes, at his own request, was relieved by [237] order of the general commanding, and Major-General Price was put in command of the district of Arkansas.

Maj.-Gen. Frederick Steele, who had been assigned to command of the Seventh army corps and the Federal district of Arkansas, had suggested a demonstration, rather than a determined movement, from Little Rock in cooperation with Banks' Red river expedition; but General Grant, who had lately come into command of the United States armies, instructed him to ‘make a real move from Arkansas.’ General Banks left New Orleans to lead the expedition up the Red river March 22d, and on the next day Steele started out from Little Rock toward Arkadelphia. Leaving a force of 2,500 at Pine Bluff, under Col. Powell Clayton, which cooperated with him from that point, he took Salomon's infantry division, 5,127 strong, Carr's cavalry division, 3,428, and 30 pieces of artillery. On the march, April 9th, he was joined by Gen. John M. Thayer, from Fort Smith, with about 5,000 infantry and cavalry.

Price's infantry division, reported as about 5,000 present for duty, was ordered to Louisiana to reinforce Taylor, and Fagan's brigade was soon called from Camden to the same field. Thus Price was left for the time with only the cavalry of Marmaduke's division—Greene's and Shelby's Missouri brigades and Cabell's Arkansas brigade, numbering 3,200 effectives—reinforced, about the time that Thayer arrived, by Brig.-Gen. Samuel B. Maxey from Indian Territory, with his division—Gano's Texas brigade and Col. Tandy Walker's Indian brigade.

If a column of the enemy had moved southwesterly from Little Rock and marched about 30 miles a day, it could have camped the first night near Benton on the Saline river; the second at Rockport on the Ouachita; thence following down that river on either bank, the third night at Arkadelphia on the same stream; the fourth at Okolona, near the junction of the Little Missouri and Antoine creek; the fifth near Washington, in the rolling [238] blacklands; the sixth at Fulton on Red river; the seventh near Texarkana, and there turning southerly, the eighth at Hughes Springs, Tex., and the ninth at Marshall, Tex., west of and behind Gen. Kirby Smith's army and depots near Red river. This route is almost an airline to Fulton. It is the line of the Iron Mountain & Southern railroad, which makes an arc south to avoid the hills of Antoine. From Little Rock to the Ouachita river the surface is hilly and rocky, the ridges between the streams sterile, and at the time the Seventh army corps made its southwestern movement from Little Rock, the route was practically a journey through the desert. At the end of a three-days' march of 30 miles each day, reaching Arkadelphia, an army might turn southeast and go down the banks of the Ouachita to Camden, or it might keep on to the four-days' camp at Okolona, and turn there southeast and go to Camden. If from Camden it should turn back to Little Rock, 90 miles by the shortest route, it would pass through Princeton, having the Saline river to cross again, a day's march northeast of that place, at Jenkins' ferry.

It will be instructive to follow the successive movements by which the well-equipped army of General Steele was impeded, surrounded, turned and put to flight by a few thousand ill-equipped Arkansas and Missouri cavalry. The strength of the Confederate cavalry is not preserved in the records, but counting the Indians which Maxey brought eventually to their assistance, it did not amount to 8,000 men, and not more than 18 pieces of artillery. They were inspired by one important fact—they had been provided with efficient arms and munitions, secured by General Smith and distributed in place of the shotguns, horse-pistols and old smooth-bores, with which they had been formerly provided. Virginia rifles with superior explosives had been placed in their hands and fully appreciated by them. They were, in fact, not cavalry, but mounted infantry, and could march day and [239] night over wide circuits, dismount and engage as infantry, and if pressed by superior numbers, remount and elude the foe. The trains of the Confederates were very light and employed chiefly for ordnance. Each soldier had his scanty wardrobe rolled up in an oilcloth behind his saddle, and with this for his pillow at night, covering with a saddle blanket, he slept anywhere. The beef and pork killed by the way and his country's cornmeal made his rations; and he marched by the stars as often as by the light of the sun, to fall confidently upon the flanks and rear of the invading army.

The winter quarters of the Confederates were broken up at the first advance of Steele from Little Rock. The pleasant diversions of a few weeks of rest were now only a stimulating memory, and the stern duties and privations of the soldier, with their uncertain consequences, confronted them. General Shelby's brigade, which had been camped near Camden, was ordered to cross the Ouachita river and pass to the rear of the advancing army, between it and Little Rock. It was not long before his comrades heard the old iron guns of Bledsoe sending their messages across the valleys, announcing that he was ‘closing up’ the enemy upon their flank.

General Thayer, in command of the Federal frontier division, moved from Fort Smith March 21st, to make a junction with Steele at Arkadelphia. He moved by way of Booneville, Ark., through Danville and Mt. Ida to Caddo gap, thence down the Caddo and Antoine creeks to the river, and joined Steele, April 9th, at the crossing of the Little Missouri. Thayer, with his force of a little over 5,000, composed of negro regiments and mountain Federals, with his immense train of broken-down teams, some stuck in the mire, others upset, might have been destroyed as he emerged from the mountains of Caddo creek if the Confederates had attacked him in force; but Marmaduke was devoting his exclusive attention to Steele's column. [240]

On March 22d Cabell's brigade marched to Tate's bluff, at the meeting of the Little Missouri and Ouachita rivers, to which place General Marmaduke marched with Greene's brigade and a section of Blocher's battery, under Lieutenant Zimmerman. Cabell and Greene were ordered to operate against the enemy's front, while Shelby marched directly in his rear. Harassed by detachments of cavalry sent against him by Marmaduke,1 Steele reached Arkadelphia before Cabell and Shelby got into the positions assigned them. April 1st, Steele, after waiting at Arkadelphia a few days, marched on the old military road toward Washington, and Shelby entered Arkadelphia the same evening, capturing some stragglers. Cabell had moved to Antoine creek, 18 miles west of Arkadelphia, and in several fights with the detachments of the enemy seeking forage, drove them back on his main body. Shelby encamped the night of April 1st at Arkadelphia in Steele's rear, Cabell on Antoine creek in his front. Before daylight on the morning of the 2d, Marmaduke, with Greene's column, formed a junction with Cabell's brigade on the military road to Washington, three miles south of the Little Missouri, at Cottingham's store in Spoonville. West of Arkadelphia is a good road which turns to the right, leading north from the military road to Okolona and Elkin's ferry, across the Little Missouri. Fearing the enemy might take that road and occupy Elkin's ferry, General Marmaduke stationed Monroe's regiment, Fayth's battalion and a section of Hughey's battery of Cabell's brigade at the Antoine as a rear-guard, and withdrew the other commands of Cabell's brigade to Cottingham's, where they could reinforce Monroe or prevent the crossing of the Little Missouri at any of the fords below the military road. It was Colonel Salomon's regiment (Ninth Wisconsin) and Benton's [241] Twenty-ninth Iowa which were ordered forward to protect the train moving down a road toward Camden. They were hurled back until General Rice, with the Fiftieth Indiana infantry and Voegel's battery, came up to their support. Monroe and Fayth, falling back to Wolf creek, were attacked by this whole force, which they again drove back on the main body, with severe losses. The enemy reported 16 killed and 45 wounded. The brigade under Shelby was at the same time in the enemy's rear as he passed the Terre Noire bottom, killing several and wounding many more. Captain Thorp, of Elliott's battalion, charged a regiment of the infantry, scattering them and receiving a painful wound. Second Lieutenant Trigg, of Marmaduke's escort, having been sent to Shelby with dispatches, charged with Shelby's men and fell mortally wounded.

Gordon's, Harrell's and Morgan's commands were stationed that night at the ford, while Cabell's and Greene's brigades fell back and encamped.

The enemy remained halted at the river all of the 3d, waiting perhaps for Thayer, but were attacked from the rear by Shelby, who fought them with his artillery and dismounted men and scattered their rear-guard, killing and wounding many, until, flanked by superior numbers, he fell back. On the 4th, Steele advanced to the crossing of the river with his main body. General Marmaduke immediately attacked with Greene's brigade and Monroe's regiment and Zimmerman's artillery section, and a section of Hughey's battery of Cabell's brigade. He drove the enemy back two miles, killed and wounded many, and losing 29 killed and wounded.

On the morning of the 5th of April, the Confederate advance, at the ferry, was ordered to fall back, which it did, on being attacked by the enemy in large force. Col. Dan W. Jones' State troops and Harrell's battalion captured several guidons of the enemy, and held him in check from time to time, crossing the open prairie under [242] his fire without a casualty. The command of Marmaduke was now drawn up on the south edge of Prairie D'Ane, where he was reinforced by Colonel Gano with 400 men (Indians) and Lawther's regiment. Shelby had returned to the front and was camped in the prairie on the Camden road, south side of the river, to rest his men. On the 7th the enemy advanced again, opposed by a part of Burbridge's regiment, under Captain Porter, which did not cross the prairie. General Price arrived at the front with Dockery's-and Crawford's brigades and Wood's battalion, and took command. Gano was now up with his brigade, about 500 men. Cabell's brigade was transferred to Fagan's division. On the 8th the enemy advanced, but did not drive Marmaduke's command out of the timber on the northeast of the prairie. Greene's regiment was relieved from outpost duty by troops of Fagan's brigade. Marmaduke had caused breastworks of logs and small earthworks to be thrown up on the southeastern edge of the prairie, by which the enemy was deceived as to the real strength and the intention of the Confederates. Reinforced by Thayer, Steele now attacked the Confederate outposts, portions of Cabell's brigade, of Dockery's and Shelby's. But Collins' battery opened upon them, while the Confederates, under fire of small-arms and sixteen pieces of artillery, held their position until ordered to retire. That night, supposing Shelby had withdrawn, the enemy again attacked with shot and shell, but were still confronted by Shelby and Collins, until they were ordered to fall back to the Confederate position at the mimic breastworks.

Steele had now reached the junction of three roads leading southward, one to Washington, one to Louisville on Red river, and one to Camden on the Ouachita. It was disclosed that his intention was to fall back on Camden. His vacillation and hesitation were puzzling to the Confederates. On the 12th he drew up his whole force in line of battle on the prairie in front of the Confederate [243] works, as if preparing to push forward to Washington, threw out his skirmishers (which were engaged in the open prairie by the Confederate skirmishers) along his extended line, formed as for dress parade, with artillery on his flanks and cavalry in reserve. Withdrawing across the prairie, he resumed the former day's position, but the Confederates had learned that his immense train was passing behind his line, on the road toward Camden, and broke their camp, moving in detachments against his front and flanks. The cavalry under Price (reinforced by Walker's Indians, about 1,000 strong) closed up his rear as he withdrew his column, and engaged him with artillery and cavalry charges until night, one of their shells wounding the Federal general, Rice, in the head. The rear-guard of Steele's army, protected by cavalry and artillery, disappeared from the prairie, under a fierce bombardment by the Confederate artillery, through the little village of Moscow, at dark.2 Greene's brigade passed at once to his front, moving toward Camden. Marmaduke and Cabell went into camp, few of the men having slept a whole night for fourteen days.

On the 13th, Marmaduke marched from Prairie De Rohan, and having ridden sixty miles, passed around to Steele's front on the 14th. Finding the enemy pressing resolutely forward to Camden, he left Colonel Lawther in his front, with orders to destroy all Confederate property at Camden, and then move out and picket all roads leading to Shreveport. The main body of Marmaduke's command went into camp 8 miles from Camden. News of the defeat of Banks by General Taylor on Red river had now reached the Confederate camp, and explained Steele's position and retrograde movement. The enemy entered Camden the night of the 15th, having consumed twenty-one days in the march from Little Rock via [244] Moscow, 140 miles—the direct line being less than 100 miles, only a five-days' easy march. The Confederates under Marmaduke had killed and wounded 600 of the enemy. They had lost 150, and without rest, rations, or sleep adequate to man, fought incessantly, yet not a murmur or complaint was ever uttered by one of those devoted men.

Meanwhile, General Price's old infantry division had been taking a gallant part in the heroic fighting which resulted in the defeat of Banks' expedition on Red river. General Churchill was in command of the two divisions (Arkansas and Missouri) into which it was divided, and General Tappan commanded the Arkansans, his brigade fighting under Colonel Grinsted, and Churchill's brigade under Colonel Gause. In his report General Tappan said:

On Thursday night, April 7th, about 11 o'clock [being encamped at Keatchie], I received orders to hold the division in readiness to move the next morning for Mansfield, at daylight. . . . We reached Mansfield that evening exactly at 3:30. The battle of Mansfield was then progressing, but Major-General Taylor not deeming it necessary to order us into the fight, we were directed to take position on the Gravelly Point road to prevent a flank movement of the enemy, which was anticipated in that direction. That night the division prepared two days rations and slept upon their arms, in line of battle. At 2 a. m. we were summoned, and moved promptly at 3 o'clock. We expected to meet the enemy about 4 or 5 miles distant. When, however, we reached the point he had retired to the night before, we found he had precipitately fled. We instantly took up the line of march in pursuit, the division under my command taking the lead of the infantry troops. We proceeded some 18 miles, to within 2 miles of Pleasant hill, where we were informed the enemy occupied an advantageous position. Within thirty-six hours my division had marched some 45 miles, almost without sleep, and were necessarily very much worn out and fatigued. After resting about two hours we diverged from the main Mansfield and Pleasant hill road, and proceeded some [245] 4 miles for the purpose of making a flank movement upon the enemy. Brigadier-General Parsons' Missouri division was upon my right.

My line was formed at about 4:30 o'clock. . . . threw out three companies of skirmishers, under Major Steele of Grinsted's regiment, and immediately ordered my line to advance rapidly as directed. . . . For an hour and a half we were as warmly engaged with the enemy as it has ever been my experience to witness on any battlefield. My division, however, never faltered, but moved steadily and firmly forward, with the valor of men determined to succeed or fall in the attempt. . . . At this juncture, learning that the division on the right had been outflanked and was falling back, I immediately directed my attention in that direction and saw that such was the case. When said division had swept entirely past mine, and my command became exposed to a heavy and murderous fire from the flank as well as the front, I ordered the brigade commanders to fall back with a view of forming a line in a more advantageous position. . . . The exhausted condition of the men, the lateness of the hour (it being near dark), and the denseness of the thicket made it extremely difficult to rally the men. While the battle lasted no men ever fought more gallantly. This is evidenced by the fact that the enemy made little or no attempt to pursue our line; on the contrary, he fled toward Red river as soon as night came, leaving his dead to be buried and his wounded to be cared for by us. The loss of the division in the engagement was as follows: Killed, 26; wounded, 112; missing, 63.

General Smith, Banks being now in full retreat, determined to reinforce Price with the infantry, and Churchill's and Walker's commands were ordered into Arkansas. On April 17th the general commanding made his headquarters near Calhoun, Ark., Price's headquarters, and assumed command of the operations against Steele.

Following is the organization of the Confederate forces in Arkansas, Gen. E. Kirby Smith commanding, April 20, 1864:

District of Arkansas, Maj.-Gen. Sterling Price; escort, Fourteenth Missouri battalion, Maj. Robert C. Wood. [246]

Fagan's cavalry division, Brig.-Gen. James F. Fagan: Cabell's brigade, Brig.-Gen. W. L. Cabell—First Arkansas, Col. James C. Monroe; Second Arkansas, Col. T. J. Morgan; Fourth Arkansas, Col. A. Gordon; Seventh Arkansas, Col. John F. Hill; Arkansas battalion, Lieut.-Col. Thomas M. Gunter; Arkansas battalion, Lieut.-Col. John M. Harrell; Blocher's Arkansas battery. Dockery's brigade, Brig.-Gen. Thomas P. Dockery—Twelfth Arkansas battalion sharpshooters; Eighteenth Arkansas; Nineteenth Arkansas (Dockery's), Lieut.-Col. H. G. P. Williams; Twentieth Arkansas. Crawford's brigade, Col. Wm. A. Crawford—Third Arkansas (Slemons), Capt. O. B. Tebbs; Crawford's Arkansas regiment; Wright's Arkansas regiment, Col. John C. Wright; Arkansas battalion, Maj. Jas. T. Poe; Arkansas battalion, Maj. E. L. McMurtrey; Arkansas battery, Capt. W. M. Hughey.

Marmaduke's cavalry division, Brig.-Gen. John S. Marmaduke: Greene's brigade—Third Missouri, Lieut.-Col. L. A. Campbell; Fourth Missouri, Lieut.-Col. Wm. J. Preston; Seventh Missouri, Col. Sol. G. Kitchen; Eighth Missouri, Col. Wm. L. Jeffers; Tenth Missouri, Col. Robert R. Lawther; Missouri battery, Capt. S. S. Harris. Shelby's brigade, Brig.-Gen. Jos. O. Shelby—First Missouri battalion, Maj. Benj. Elliott; Fifth Missouri, Col. B. Frank Gordon; Eleventh Missouri, Col. M. W. Smith; Twelfth Missouri, Col. David Shanks; Hunter's Missouri regiment, Col. D. C. Hunter; Missouri battery, Capt. Richard A. Collins.

Maxey's cavalry division,3 Brig.-Gen. Samuel B. Maxey: Gano's brigade, Brig.-Gen. R. M. Gano,4 Col. Charles DeMorse—Twenty-ninth Texas, Maj. J. A. Carroll; Thirtieth Texas, Lieut.-Col. N. W. Battle; Thirty-first Texas, Maj. Michael Looscan; Welch's Texas company, Lieut. Frank M. Gano; Texas battery, Capt. W. B. Krumbhaar. Second Indian brigade, Col. Tandy Walker —First regiment, Lieut.-Col. James Riley; Second regiment, Col. Simpson W. Folsom.

Walker's division,5 Maj.-Gen. John G. Walker: Texas [247] brigades of Brig.-Gens. Thos. N. Waul, William R. Scurry and Col. Horace Randal.

Arkansas division,6 Brig.-Gen. Thomas J. Churchill: Tappan's brigade, Brig.-Gen. James C. Tappan—Nineteenth and Twenty-fourth Arkansas regiments consolidated, Lieut.--Col. William R. Hardy; Twenty-seventh and Thirty-eighth Arkansas, Col. R. G. Shaver; Thirty-third Arkansas, Col. H. L. Grinsted. Gause's brigade, Col. Lucien C. Gause—Twenty-sixth Arkansas, Lieut.-Col. Iverson L. Brooks; Thirty-second Arkansas, Lieut.-Col. William Hicks; Thirty-sixth Arkansas, Col. James M. Davie. Hawthorn's brigade, Brig.-Gen. Alexander T. Hawthorn.

Missouri division,7 Brig.-Gen. Mosby M. Parsons: First brigade, Brig.-Gen. John B. Clark, Jr.—Eighth Missouri, Col. Charles S. Michell; Ninth Missouri, Col. Richard H. Musser; Missouri battery, Capt. Samuel T. Ruffner. Second brigade, Col. Simon P. Burns—Tenth Missouri, Col. Wm. M. Moore; Eleventh Missouri, Lieut.-Col Thos. H. Murray; Twelfth Missouri, Col. Willis M Ponder; Sixteen Missouri, Lieut.-Col. P. W. H. Cumming; Ninth Missouri battalion sharpshooters, Maj. L. A. Pindll; Missouri battery, Capt. A. A. Lesueur.

The return of Price's division, March 10th, showed the following brigade strength, aggregate present: Churchill (Gause), 766; Drayton (Clark), 968; Parsons (Burns), 1,720; Tappan, 1,478; staff and cavalry, 200. Marmaduke's cavalry division, January 10th, Cabell, 1,468; Greene, 1,242; Shelby, 1,583; artillery, 148; Brooks' cavalry, 486. [248]

1 Dockery's brigade was ordered to act with Marmaduke. ‘Unfortunately, before General Dockery could execute this order, he was, on March 30th, attacked at Mount Elba by a party of the enemy from Pine Bluff and completely routed.’—Price's Report.

2 In the action at Moscow, Dockery, being in the advance, attacked with great intrepidity, and at one time captured a section of artillery, which was retaken by a greatly superior force, and his troops repulsed with some loss.—Price's Report.

3 Arrived from Indian Territory, April 7th to 12th.

4 Wounded near Munn's mill.

5 Arrived after Gen. E. K. Smith reached the field. General Price assumed command of Arkansas and Missouri divisions, April 26th.

6 Arrived after Gen. E. K. Smith reached the field. General Price assumed command of Arkansas and Missouri divisions, April 26th.

7 Arrived after Gen. E. K. Smith reached the field. General Price assumed command of Arkansas and Missouri divisions, April 26th.

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