I have already sketched in this work the chief events of the war west of the Mississippi
, down to the defeat of Van Dorn
, in the battle of Elkhorn
I., p. 263], and the withdrawal of the Confederate forces to Des Arc
, whither boats were to be sent by Beauregard
to transport them to Memphis
, after issuing orders for the transfer of the army from Des Arc
, to reinforce the army of Albert Sidney Johnston
, in west Tennessee
, went, on March 29th, 1862, to Corinth
, accompanied by Colonel Dabney H. Maury
, in order to confer personally with Johnston
as to the movement of his command.
He was directed to return forthwith to Arkansas
and bring every man that he could to Corinth
, in all haste, so as to take part in the projected attack upon Grant
, who was then at Pittsburg Landing
Until Van Dorn
returned to Des Arc
, on April 5th, it was not generally known that the Trans-Mississippi :army was to be sent across the river, and that Missouri
were to be abandoned to the enemy.
The governors of both of these States protested earnestly against the movement, and the troops themselves manifested the greatest unwillingness to leave their homes in possession of the enemy, while they should go far away to fight for others.
But Van Dorn
assured them that they were to be brought back to Arkansas
as soon as the impending battle on the Tennessee
Map: campaign of the Mississippi Valley.|
fought, and Price
, though he utterly disapproved of the movement, used his influence with the men to induce them to go willingly.
They all consented to go, and the mounted men were even persuaded to leave their horses behind them.
On the 8th of April, 1862, Little
's Missouri brigade embarked for Memphis
, quickly followed by the remainder of the Army of the West, twenty thousand men. Few of these ever got back to their Western homes, and Arkansas
were abandoned to their fate; moreover, Van Dorn
was too late for the battle of Shiloh
The transfer of Van Dorn
's forces to Corinth
resulted before the middle of May not only in the abandonment of Missouri
and northern Arkansas
to the enemy, but in the transfer by Halleck
of more than thrice as many Union troops from the Trans-Mississippi
to the Tennessee
to meet them there.
This policy of depleting the forces west of the Mississippi
, persisted in by the Confederate
authorities, thenceforth down to the fall of Vicksburg
, was one of the gravest of those blunders whereby the downfall of the Confederacy
meanwhile moved without opposition from Elkhorn
into northeastern Arkansas
, and on the 3d of May occupied Batesville
, a small town on White River
within ninety miles of Little Rock
His effective force, after sending two divisions, under Generals Asboth
and Jeff. C. Davis
, to the Tennessee
, still amounted to 12,422 men2
, Nothing now prevented him from moving against the capital and the valley of the Arkansas
, but the difficulty of subsisting his army so far from its base of supply, which was St. Louis
In spite of this difficulty he had begun to advance to Little Rock
, and his outposts were within thirty-five miles of that city (where he was to assume the position of military governor), when the evacuation of Corinth
and the consequent opening of the Mississippi
also opened the White River
to the Federal fleet and furnished him, as he hoped, a safe and convenient water communication with his base.
While waiting for the opening of this new line of communication, for which gun-boats and transports were being made ready, he lay inactive at Batesville
, on leaving Arkansas
, had assigned Brigadier-General Roane
to the command of that State.
There were no troops there except a few companies of State militia, and these were badly organized and poorly armed; and Roane
, though he had been governor of the .State and was a brave and estimable gentleman, amiable and popular, was wholly unfit for a military command.
Besides these militia companies there were some 5000 or 6000 Indian and mixed (Indian and white) troops in the Indian Territory
under Brigadier-General Albert Pike
, but they could hardly be accounted a force, as they were of no value except on furlough, and had even then to be fed and clothed, and supplied with all sorts of things, and treated with great consideration and gentleness.
was thus utterly undefended, and her people, feeling that they
had been abandoned by the Confederate Government, were fast becoming despondent or apathetic.
Those living to the north of the Arkansas
among the mountains which rise west of the White
and Black rivers
were fast submitting to the authority of the Union
, and many of them were enlisting in the Union
The slave-holders that lived in the valley of the Arkansas
and on the rich alluvial lands south of that river and along the Mississippi
were in despair.
The governor and State officers were making ready to abandon the capital, and that part of the population which still remained loyal to the Confederacy
In these straits a delegation was sent to Beauregard
, to whose Department the Trans-Mississippi
still belonged, to beg him to appoint Major-General Hindman
to the command, from which Van Dorn
had been taken, and to authorize him to raise an army for the defense of the State
was consequently assigned, on the 26th of May, to the command of the Trans-Mississippi District, comprising the States of Missouri
and that part of Louisiana
north of the Red River
and the Indian Territory
He had commanded a brigade at Shiloh
, was wounded there, and had been promoted for good conduct.
at once Hindman
went to Memphis
, which the Confederates
were preparing to evacuate as soon as Corinth
should be abandoned.
There he collected a few supplies for his army, and “impressed” a million dollars that was in the banks.
Thus equipped, he hastened to Little Rock
, where he assumed command of his district and established headquarters on the 31st of May, 1862.
With great energy and with administrative ability of the highest order, he went to work to create an army and provide supplies for it. He declared martial law, and scattered his provost-marshals all over the State
; enforced the Conscript Law3
remorselessly; collected thousands of stragglers that were skulking in all directions; arrested deserters and shot scores of them; sent recruiting officers into north Arkansas
; stopped five Texas
regiments that were on their way to Beauregard
; established workshops for making powder, shot, arms, clothing, and other supplies
for his forces; and worked in every way so intelligently and earnestly that early in July he had an army of about 20,000 armed men and 46 pieces of artillery.
Not only had Little Rock
and the valley of the Arkansas
been saved to the Confederacy
, but Curtis
's position at Batesville
was fast becoming untenable.
In front he was threatened by Hindman
, who was growing stronger and bolder every day, while behind him the Missourians were organizing in all directions to break his long line of communication with St. Louis
The failure of a gun-boat expedition4
to relieve him from this precarious situation determined him to retreat across the swamps to Helena
resolved to attack him. Sending a considerable force under Brigadier-General Albert Rust
to get between the retreating army and Helena
, and to hold the crossing of the almost impassable Cache
, he himself set off in pursuit.
, though a very successful politician, was one of the most incompetent of all “political generals,” and was easily brushed out of the way by Curtis
, who, conquering the greater obstacles which Nature opposed to his march, got safely to Helena
on the 13th of July.
Meanwhile the Confederate Government, yielding to the importunities of General Price
and of the representatives of the States west of the Mississippi
, and alarmed by the progress of the Union
armies in that direction, determined to prosecute more vigorously the war in the West
, and to make some effort to recover Missouri
and that part of Louisiana
which the Union
armies had conquered.
Accordingly, just after McClellan
's “change of base” to the James
, General J. B. Magruder
, who had won distinction in the Virginia
campaign and was believed to be an officer of great ability and force, was assigned to the command of the Trans-Mississippi
, which was now, for the first time, made a separate department.
He was told that Hindman
, Dick Taylor
, and Price
would be ordered to report to him — Taylor
to command the forces in Lousiana, Hindman
, and Price
the army which was to be sent into Missouri
But hardly had this wise plan been, agreed upon before it was set aside.
, who was already on his way to the West
, was recalled to Richmond
, and subsequently ordered to Texas
was directed to remain in Mississippi
and Major-General Theophilus H. Holmes
was assigned to the command of the Trans-Mississippi
on the 30th of July, and on the 12th of August established the headquarters of his department at Little Rock
The force which Hindman
turned over to him consisted of about 18,000 infantry “effectives,” some 6000 mounted men, 54 pieces of artillery, and 7000 or 8000 unarmed men in camps of instruction.
was now ordered by Holmes
to concentrate the greater part of this force near Fort Smith
on the western border of the State
, and to organize there an expedition into Missouri
, which State was at that time in the utmost commotion.
went to the Tennessee
in April, 1862, to assume, command of the armies which he was to lead against Corinth
, he left Schofield
in command of the Union
troops in Missouri
This force consisted chiefly of the State
militia which Schofield
had himself organized.
Before the end of the summer this militia had an effective strength of about fifty thousand men. Great as this force was, Schofield
did not find it sufficient to hold the Missourians in subjection and to disperse the roving bands which kept up the fight for their State upon its own soil, and he had to call to his assistance several considerable bodies of Union troops.
With the aid of these he was gradually driving the Confederate
bands out of the State
when he learned, toward the last of August, that Hindman
gathering an army for the invasion of Missouri
Rumor so magnified the greatness of this invasion that Schofield
fancied that Hindman
was at the head of from 40,000 to 70,000 men. He accordingly called eagerly for help.
The Department of the Missouri was thereupon enlarged by the addition of Kansas
; and on the 24th of September Curtis
was assigned to the command of it. Curtis
, who was then at Springfield
, to take command of all the troops in the south-west.
At the same time he ordered General J. G. Blunt
, who was commanding in Kansas
, to reinforce Schofield
with all his available men. This order was promptly obeyed, and Schofield
found himself by the 1st of October at the head of about 11,000 effectives with 16 pieces of artillery.
This force he called the “Army of the Frontier.”
assumed personal command of the Confederate
troops in northwestern Arkansas
on the 24th of August.
These consisted of between 9000 and 10,000 men, of whom about 3000 were Indians
, under command of Colonel Douglas H. Cooper
With this force he moved to the borders of Missouri
, and took position along the line between that State and Arkansas
His advance consisted of a brigade of Missouri Cavalry (two thousand strong, perhaps), lying in and around Newtonia
under Colonel Joseph O. Shelby
of the very best officers I have ever known.
The men had all just been recruited in Missouri
, and were as fine a body of young fellows as ever fought under any flag.
had hardly entered Missouri
when, on the 10th of September, he was recalled to Little Rock
by General Holmes
, in order to help organize the troops in that neighborhood for his expedition.
He left Rains
in command, with orders not to provoke an engagement.
Matters remained quiet till the 30th of September, when General Frederick Salomon
with a part of Blunt
's reinforcements approached Newtonia
with 4000 or 5000 Indians and mixed troops had previously joined Shelby
Together they attacked Salomon
and drove him back in confusion.
marched at once to the assistance of Salomon
, and on the 4th of October reached Newtonia
fell back toward Rains
continued to advance, driving the Confederates
before him out of Missouri
and into the mountains of Arkansas
continued to retreat toward the Indian Territory
, while Rains
made his way to Huntsville
in pursuit of Cooper
, who was overtaken at Old Fort Wayne
on the 22d of October and completely routed and driven into the Indian Territory
had meanwhile returned to Fort Smith
on the 15th of October.
Learning there of the disasters that had befallen his army, he hastened to the front, relieved Rains
, assumed command himself, and was about to take a strong position near Fayetteville
, whither reenforcements were hastening to him, when Schofield
on the 27th of October again advanced.
thereupon retreated somewhat precipitately to the banks of the Arkansas
, whence he wrote to Holmes
that with another division he could “move into Missouri
, take Springfield
, and winter on the Osage
, whose effective strength had
been increased by reinforcements to over sixteen thousand men, having accomplished the object of his expedition, now returned toward Springfield
with two divisions of the Army of the Frontier, leaving Blunt
with another division in the vicinity of Fayetteville
to guard the mountain passes.
Believing that hostilities were ended for the winter, and being ill, he turned over the command of the Army of the Frontier to Blunt
on the 20th of November, and went to St. Louis
was a typical Kansas
man of that period.
Born in Maine
, he had practiced medicine in Ohio
, and gone thence to Kansas
when that territory was the battle-field between slavery and freedom.
Deeply inspired by the fierce passions which that savage conflict generated, he was one of the first to enlist
for the defense of the Union
and the abolition of slavery.
He was rapidly promoted, and on the 8th of April, 1862, was made brigadier-general and assigned to the command of the Department of Kansas.
He was then 36 years old.
was actively reorganizing his army on the Arkansas
, about fifty miles south of Fayetteville
was), and getting ready to move again into Missouri
, who was doing all that he could to reinforce him, was ordered by reason of the exigencies of the war on the eastern side of the Mississippi
to abandon the Missouri
The disastrous defeat of Van Dorn
in October, 1862, opened the way to Grant
to move overland against Vicksburg
, which stronghold and Port Hudson
were the only places that the Confederates
then held on the Mississippi
Leaving Grand Junction
on the 4th of November Grant
advanced toward Holly Springs
, Van Dorn
falling back before him. McClernand
was at the same time concentrating at Memphis
a large force which was to move by the river and cooperate in the attack upon Vicksburg
Alarmed by these great preparations the Confederate Government, which had sent Pemberton
, who had been in command of the Department of South Carolina and Georgia, to supersede Van Dorn
, instructed Holmes
, under date of November 11th, to send ten thousand men to Vicksburg
, on receiving this order, straightway ordered Hindman
to abandon the invasion of Missouri
and return to Little Rock
with his army.
protested; and to entreaties from Van Dorn
, and Joseph E. Johnston
(who on the 24th of November had been assigned to the command), and to the reiterated orders of the President
and Secretary of War
requiring him to reinforce Vicksburg
only replied that he could do nothing as “two-thirds of his force was in north-western Arkansas
to meet a heavy advance from Springfield
He nevertheless again ordered Hindman
to bring his army to Little Rock
without further delay.
, however, had made up his mind to attack Blunt
before obeying Holmes
He had already sent Marmaduke
toward Cane Hill
with a division of cavalry; and skirmishing was taking place almost daily between him and Blunt
, who had some 7000 or 8000 men. At last Blunt
attacked in force on the 28th of November, and drove Marmaduke
back to the vicinity of Van Buren
then took position at Cane Hill
resolved to attack him there with his whole available force.
Leaving Van Buren
on the 3d of December with 9000 infantry, 2000 cavalry, and 22 pieces of artillery, about 11,500 men in all, he drove in Blunt
's pickets on the evening of the 6th, and was getting ready to attack him the next evening, when he learned that General F. J. Herron
was coming to reenforce Blunt
with about 4000 infantry, 2000 cavalry, and 30 guns, and was already entering Fayetteville
had learned on the 24th of December that Hindman
was moving his infantry from the south side of the Arkansas
to the north side of that river.
He immediately ordered Herron
, who was encamped with two divisions of the Army of the Frontier near Springfield
; to come instantly to Cane Hill
That excellent officer broke camp on the morning of the 3d, and, marching 110 miles in 3 days, reached Elkhorn
on the evening of the 6th of December.
There seemed nothing to prevent Hindman
from first destroying Herron
and then turning upon Blunt
and defeating him; for Herron
were twelve miles apart and the Confederates
lay between them.
Indeed that was what Hindman
determined to do. Masking his movement from Blunt
disposing a brigade of cavalry as to deceive him into believing that it was he whom he was about to attack, Hindman
moved at 3 o'clock on the morning of December 7th against Herron
His cavalry under Marmaduke
soon encountered Herron
's on the march to Blunt
, and drove them back upon the main body.
brought up his entire force, and Marmaduke
gave way in turn.
thereupon brought up his infantry, but, instead of attacking, as he ought to have done, took a strong position and awaited Herron
This fatal mistake gave the victory to Blunt
did attack at noon. The moment that Blunt
's guns he rushed to his assistance, and Hindman
had then to confront the united army, which was not only stronger than his own in numbers, but very much stronger in organization, arms, artillery, and leadership.
Darkness ended the battle.
During the night Hindman
withdrew his army and retreated toward Van Buren
did not pursue.
's loss in killed, wounded, and missing was 1317; Blunt
's was 1251, of which 918 belonged to Herron
's two divisions, which bore the brunt of the battle, known as “the battle of Prairie Grove
sheltered his demoralized
army behind the Arkansas
, opposite Van Buren
, and tried to reorganize it. It was still lying there when, on December 28th, Blunt
dashed into Van Buren
at the head of a small mounted force, and hastened the long-projected Confederate retreat to Little Rock
, which place was reached toward the middle of January.
During the long and dreary march thither the troops, who were not clad to withstand the snows and rains of winter, suffered severely.
Sickness increased alarmingly; the men straggled at will; hundreds deserted; and Hindman
's army faded away.
“was a man of genius and could have commanded a department, or have been a minister of war; but he could not command an army in the field, or plan and execute a battle.”
A disaster almost as great as that which had befallen Holmes
in western Arkansas
befell him in the eastern part of the State
was retreating to Little Rock
The Confederates had strongly fortified the Post of Arkansas
, on the north bank of the Arkansas
, 50 miles above the mouth of the river, and 117 miles below Little Rock
The fort was primarily intended for the protection of that city and of the valley of the Arkansas
, but it was also useful to the Confederates
in obstructing the navigation of the Mississippi
Several unsuccessful attempts to capture it had been made, but now it was about to fall.
was ready to move overland against Vicksburg
he ordered Sherman
, in the absence of McClernand
to take all the troops at Memphis
's division at Helena
, and to move with Porter
's fleet by the river and cooperate in the attack.
had advanced a part of his own immediate army as far as Holly Springs
, where he established a great depot of supplies, and was about to move forward when Van Dorn
, by a splendid dash upon Holly Springs
on the 20th of December, and Forrest
, by a brilliant raid into east Tennessee
, so broke Grant
's communications and destroyed his supplies that he was forced to abandon his
Map: battle of Arkansas Post, Jan. 11, 1863.|
and on the 23d of December he ordered Sherman
to delay his expedition.
was already on the way to Vicksburg
, whence, after making an ineffectual attempt to capture the place [see p. 462], he reimbarked his army and retired to Milliken's Bend
arrived at Milliken's Bend
on the 3d of January, 1863, and the next day assumed command of the expedition.
Having nothing better to do, he determined to capture the Post of Arkansas
, and to occupy the State
Accordingly, on the 4th of January, he embarked his army, 32,000 strong, on transports, and set sail for the Arkansas
, accompanied by Porter
's fleet--3 iron-clads and 6 gun-boats.
Reaching the vicinity of the Post on the 9th he disembarked his men the next day. The garrison consisted of about five thousand men under command of Brigadier-General Thos. J. Churchill
The iron-clads began the attack on the 10th.
It was renewed the next day by
both army and navy, and after a terrific bombardment of nearly four hours Churchill
The Confederate loss was 60 killed, 75 or 80 wounded, and 4791 prisoners; the Union
loss was 1061 killed and wounded. The next day MeClernand
received peremptory orders from Grant
to return forthwith to Milliken's Bend
with his entire command.
By the disasters in the northwestern part of the State
and the capture of the Post of Arkansas
, and through the demoralization consequent upon those events, the fine army which Hindman
had turned over to Holmes
on the 12th of August, 1862, had been reduced within less than five months to about 10,000 effectives, most of which were in camp near Little Rock
The ill consequences of Holmes
's incompetence to command a department and of Hindman
's unfitness to command an army, now began to be seriously felt by the Confederacy
For not only was Holmes
wholly unable to do anything for the relief of Vicksburg
, but his weakness relieved the Federal general-in-chief
of all apprehension of another invasion of Missouri
, and of all fear for the safety of Helena
consequently ordered 19,000 of the force at Helena
, including those with which Steele
had joined Sherman
in December, to be sent to Grant
, leaving a garrison of only about 5,000 men for the defense of the place.
All this was done before the 19th of January, 1863.
was also ordered to send all the men that could be spared from Missouri
to the Mississippi
to cooperate in the capture of Vicksburg
, who had resumed command of fthe Army of the Frontier, immediately after the
battle of Prairie Grove
Section of a casemate of Fort Hindman.|
, began in consequence of this order to withdraw the greater part of his army, which was then 18,000 strong, from north-western Arkansas
and put it on the march through Missouri
to north-eastern Arkansas
, where it was to be joined by Davidson
with six thousand cavalry from St. Louis
proposed that ten thousand of these men should be sent to Grant
This led to the culmination of long-existing differences between Curtis
, the former of whom represented the Radical or Abolition faction of the Union
men of Missouri
, while the latter represented the Conservative faction, at whose head was Governor Gamble
desired to retain the 45,000 “effectives” that were in the State
in order to dragoon the Southern
sympathizers into submission.
thought that a part of these men could be better employed elsewhere.
was sustained by the Government
, and on the 1st of April Schofield
was, at his own request, relieved from duty in Missouri
's conduct, however, soon raised such a storm in Missouri
that the President
on the 10th of March ordered
General E. V. Sumner
Casemate on the eastern curtain of Fort Hindman, showing the effect of shot from the Union guns.|
, from the Army of the Potomac, to relieve him. Sumner
died on the way to St. Louis
, and thereupon the President
, on the 13th of May, ordered Schofield
to relieve Curtis
Schofield at once postponed further operations against Arkansas
until after the all-important struggle for Vicksburg
had been decided, and sent nearly twelve thousand of his men thither and to Tennessee
, making more than thirty thousand men that were sent out of Missouri
to reinforce Grant
, a force which gave him the victory there and opened all the Western
waters to the Union
fleets and armies.
Even President Davis
at last saw that General Holmes
was unfit for his great command, and on the 7th of February, 1863, ordered LieutenantGeneral Edmund Kirby Smith
to relieve him, and sent General Price
to report to Smith
The latter assumed command of the Department of the TransMississippi at Alexandria, in Louisiana
, on the 7th of March, 1863.
was left in command of Louisiana
, and Magruder
was put in command of the District
The change resulted in very little, if any, advantage to the Confederacy
, for Smith
was even feebler than Holmes
, and though attempting to do a great deal more did almost nothing.
reached Little Rock
on the 25th of March and was assigned to the command of Hindman
The state of affairs in Arkansas
at that time is quite accurately depicted in a letter which the Confederate Secretary of War
addressed to General Smith
on the 18th of March.
From a variety of sources, many of which I cannot doubt, the most deplorable accounts reach this department of the disorder, confusion, and demoralization everywhere prevalent both with the armies and people of that State.
The commanding general [Holmes] seems, while esteemed for his virtues, to have lost the confidence and attachment of all; and the next in command, General Hindman, who is admitted to have shown energy and ability, has rendered him-
self by alleged acts of violence and tyranny perfectly odious.
The consequences as depicted are fearful.
The army is stated to have dwindled by desertion, sickness, and death from 40,000 or 50,000 men to some 15,000 or 18,000, who are disaffected and helpless, and are threatened with positive starvation from deficiency of mere necessaries.
The people are represented as in a state of consternation, multitudes suffering for means of subsistence, and yet exposed from gangs of lawless marauders and deserters to being plundered of the little they have.
Such was the outlook in Arkansas
assumed command of a division at Little Rock
on the 1st of April.
's entire force in Arkansas
and the Indian Territory
at that time (exclusive of Walker
's division which was soon sent to Taylor
) aggregated less than 12,500 officers and men. Seven thousand of these constituted Price
's division, which was stationed near Little Rock
With them Price
would have done something had he not been repressed by both Smith
At last toward the middle of June Kirby Smith
determined to do something for the relief of Vicksburg
, and as the President
had frequently suggested an attack upon Helena
he ordered Holmes
to move from Little Rock
for that place.
He could hardly have done anything more unwise, for Helena
was garrisoned by 5000 men, and was strongly fortified.
It was also protected by gun-boats, and could not have been held 24 hours even if it had been taken.
The Confederates bivouacked within five miles of Helena
on the evening of the 3d of July, and Holmes
then learned for the first time the difficulties which he was to encounter.
Between him and the city rose a succession of precipitous hills over which it was impossible to move artillery, and difficult to manceuvre infantry.
The hills nearest the city were occupied by strong redoubts,--Graveyard Hill
in the center, Fort Righter on the north, and Fort Hindman on the south,--and these redoubts were all connected by a line of bastions.
In the low ground between these hills and Helena
was a strong work,--Fort Curtis,--and in the river lay the gun-boat Tyler
, Lieutenant Commanding James M. Prichett
, whose great guns were to do no little execution.
The Union forces were under the command of General B. M. Prentiss
[See organization, p. 460.]
, nothing daunted, for he was both brave and fearless, ordered the attack to be made at daybreak of the 4th of July.
with 3095 men was to take Graveyard Hill
; Pagan with 1770 men to attack Fort Hindman; and Marmaduke
and L. M. Walker
were sent with 2781 men against Fort Righter.
The attack was made as ordered; Price
carried Graveyard Hill
in gallant style and held it, but Fagan
were both repulsed, and the fire of the forts, rifle-pits, and gun-boat was then all concentrated against Price
By half-past 10 o'clock in the morning Holmes
saw that his attack had failed and withdrew Price
's men from the field.
's force aggregated 7646 officers and men. His losses were 173 killed, 687 wounded, and 776 missing, 1636 in all. Prentiss
's force aggregated about 5000, but he says that he had only 4129 men in the fight, and that he lost 57 killed, 146 wounded, and 36 missing, 239 in all. All this happened on the day that Grant
's victorious army entered Vicksburg
, and that Lee
began his retreat from Gettysburg
withdrew his army to the White River
, and, being ill, turned over the command of the District
to General Price
on the 23d of July.
Price at once urged General Smith
to concentrate his scattered forces on the Arkansas
and to do something, but Smith
was then too busy organizing a sort of independent Trans-Mississippi
Confederacy to have time for anything else.
All that Price
could do was to concentrate his own force for the defense of Little Rock
, the approaches to which on the north side of the river he now began to fortify.
The capture of Vicksburg
and Port Hudson
(the former on the 4th and the latter on the 8th of July) opened the way to the Union
armies for active operations in Arkansas
. Major-General Frederick Steele
sent with a force to Helena
, and instructed to form a junction with Brigadier-General Davidson
, who was moving south from Missouri
, by Crowley's Ridge
, and to “break up Price
and occupy Little Rock
organized his expedition at Helena
on the 5th of August, and moved thence with two divisions
of infantry, a brigade of cavalry, and 39 guns to the White River
, where he effected a junction with Davidson
, who had 6000 cavalry, taught as dragoons, and three batteries.
On the 18th of August Steele
moved from Devall's Bluff
upon Little Rock
with 13,000 officers and men and 57 pieces of artillery.
He was reinforced a few days later by True
's brigade, which raised his aggregate to nearly 14,500 “present.”
Of this number 10,500 were “present for duty.”
On the morning of the 10th of September he had come within eight miles of Little Rock
had “present for duty” 7749 men of all arms.
About 6500 of these occupied the trenches on the north side of the Arkansas
, and about 1250 were disposed on the south side with orders to prevent the enemy from crossing the river.
This was not easy to do, as the river was fordable at many points, and Davidson
did in fact effect a crossing below Little Rock
, about 10 o'clock, without much difficulty.
As soon as Price
learned that his fortified position on the north side of the river had been turned by Davidson
he withdrew his troops across the Arkansas
, and evacuated Little Rock
about 5 o'clock in the afternoon.
Two brigades of Steele
's cavalry, under Colonel Lewis Merrall
, started in pursuit, followed Marmaduke
for a day, and returned to Little Rock
on the 12th. General Price
's total casualties in the series of operations around Little Rock
amounted to 64 killed, wounded, and missing; General Steele
's to 137.
continued his retreat undisturbed to Arkadelphia
resumed command on the 25th of September.
On the 7th of October Smith
ordered him to fall back to Camden
, whence he could either safely retreat
or cooperate with Taylor
, who was concentrating his forces on the Red River
. General Holmes
's “present for duty” then aggregated 8532 officers and men; General Taylor
's 13,649; and General Kirby Smith
's entire force in the Trans-Mississippi
amounted to 41,887, of whom 32,971 were “present for duty.”
's force in Missouri
at this time aggregated 47,000 officers and men. Nearly eighteen thousand of these were in Arkansas
, who was still general-in-chief, ordered Steele
to hold the line of the Arkansas
, and to wait till Banks
was ready to cooperate with him from Port Hudson
in an attack upon Shreveport
, and in taking possession of the Red River
and its valley.
, not being pressed by Steele
, settled his infantry quietly at Camden
, while his cavalry indulged in a sort of spasmodic activity, the main object of which was to procure forage for their horses.
A division of infantry — consisting of Churchill
's Arkansas brigade and Parsons
's Missouri brigade, the two having some five thousand effectives — was near Spring Hill
On their left flank was Cabell
cavalry; and on their right, toward Camden
, was Marmaduke
with a division of Missouri
cavalry — Shelby
's and Greene
had about 1200 men for duty; Marmaduke
East of the Washita
's brigade of cavalry and some other mounted men.
Lieutenant-General E. Kirby Smith
was kept very busy at Shreveport
organizing bureaus and sub-bureaus; fortifying his capital; issuing orders and countermanding them; and planning campaigns that were never to be fought.
Throughout all his great department hostilities were virtually suspended during the autumn, throughout the winter, and far into the spring.
His soldiers lay idle in their camps, and the people gave themselves up to cottontrading and money-getting.
Neither soldiers nor civilians did anything to sustain, or even to encourage, the armies which were fighting in Virginia
against overwhelming odds.
It was to no purpose that Dick Taylor
and General Price
begged Kirby Smith
to concentrate the troops that were scattered through Louisiana
, and to move them northward and into Missouri
they would at least create a diversion in favor of Lee
and of Johnston
, even if they did not regain Arkansas
listened, but did nothing.
Yes!--he asked the President
to relieve General Holmes
from service in the Trans-Mississippi
, and toward the middle of March this was done.
was then put in temporary command of what was left of the District
--that small portion of the State
which lies south of a line drawn east and west through Camden
's lines extended from Monticello
in the east to the Indian Territory
in the west, where General Samuel B. Maxey
(who, from March, 1875, till March, 1887, represented Texas
in the United States Senate) had a mixed command of Texans and Indians
, some two thousand strong.