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Chapter 10: the last invasion of Missouri.--events in East Tennessee.--preparations for the advance of the Army of the Potomac.

The failure of the Red River expedition, and the expulsion of Steele from the country below the Arkansas River, by which two-thirds of the State of Arkansas was given up to the Confederates, had a disastrous effect upon the Union cause and people in that State, where the restoration of civil power in loyal hands, amply sustained by the military, had been, it was believed, made permanent.1 The dream of security was now dispelled. Steele was placed on the defensive at the State capital, and the Confederates everywhere showed, by their boldness and activity, a determination to repossess the State, if possible. Their cavalry roamed at will over all the region below the Arkansas, after Steele retreated to Little Rock, plundering and overawing the Unionists. Nor did they confine themselves to that region. Late in June
Shelby, with a considerable body of Confederate cavalry, dashed across the Arkansas eastward of Little Rock, and pushed on to the White River, on the eastern border of Arkansas County, where they were attacked and thrown back, in the vicinity of St. Charles, by four regiments under General Carr, with a loss of about four hundred men, of whom two hundred were made prisoners. Carr's loss was about two hundred. Shelby was speedily re-enforced by Marmaduke, when Carr was pushed northward to Clarendon, when he, in turn, was re-enforced, and the Confederates retreated southward.

This bold movement was followed by others in that section of the State. In July about four hundred colored troops, led by Colonel W. S. Brooks, went up the country a short distance from Helena, when they were attacked

July 26.
by a heavier force under General Dobbins. Fortunately, Major Carmichael was then passing down the Mississippi on a steamer, with one hundred and fifty of the Fifteenth Illinois Cavalry, and [275] hearing the firing, he landed and hastened in the direction of its sounds. He found Brooks and his men gallantly fighting double their number, so, with his followers, he dashed through the Confederate lines, joined the colored troops, and assisted them in repulsing their assailants. Colonel Brooks was killed, and fifty of his men were slain or wounded. The foe had lost more. The Union troops fell back to Helena, followed some distance by Dobbins. At about the same time fifteen hundred Confederates surprised
July 27, 1864.
an outpost of Fort Smith, on the border of the Indian country, which was held by two hundred of the Fifth Kansas, under Captain Mefford. After a sharp fight, in which he lost twenty-five men, Captain Mefford was compelled to surrender. The Confederates lost thirty-two killed and wounded. Less than a month later, Shelby, with about two thousand men, struck
August 23.
the line of the railway between Duvall's Bluff and Little Rock, and captured nearly the whole of the Fifty-fourth Illinois, who were guarding it at three points. Guerrillas hovered in large numbers around Little Rock and other places, making communications between the military posts dangerous, and requiring heavy escort duty, which wore down men and horses. Gradually several of these posts were abandoned, and at the close of 1864 only Helena, Pine, and Duvall's Bluffs, Little Rock, Van Buren, Fort Smith, and one or two other posts in that region, were held by the National troops. These being insufficient to protect the Unionists of the Commonwealth, they became disheartened, silent, and inactive, for the guerrillas, who roamed over the State, dealt vengeance upon these “traitors” and “renegades,” as they called them.

General Steele, like other old officers of the regular army, was opposed to the emancipation policy of the Government, and his alleged sympathy with the slave-holding Oligarchy of Arkansas made the army under his command a feeble instrument in upholding the National cause in that State. The consequence was, that, at the close of 1864, that Commonwealth was practically surrendered to the Confederates. The disloyal Governor called a session of the Legislature, which met at Washington,

Sept. 22.
and chose a Senator (A. P. Garland) to represent the State in the “Congress” at Richmond.

The condition of affairs in

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