Skirmish at Fairview


Location: Fairview (White County)
Campaign: Pea Ridge Campaign
Date: June 7, 1862
Principal Commanders: Captain David A. Sparks (US); Unknown (CS)
Forces Engaged: Third Illinois Cavalry (US); Unknown (CS)
Casualties: 2 wounded, 7 missing (US); 6 killed (CS)
Result: Union retreat from skirmish; Confederate retreat toward the White River

On June 7, 1862, as part of a force under the command of Brigadier General Eugene A. Carr, Captain David R. Sparks led Company L of the Third Illinois Cavalry (US). They were ambushed and caught in a skirmish fourteen miles outside Fairview (White County).

Prior to the skirmish, Gen. Carr’s forces had foraged around the Little Red and White rivers. They faced several problems, including losing three wagons from the Third Illinois Cavalry. Carr determined that, in its current condition, his force could not attack Little Rock (Pulaski County), so they remained near the two rivers and waited for word for the next mission.

Capt. Sparks commented that the Confederate forces numbered 200 to 350 cavalrymen and some infantry, but they “saw but a few.” Company L consisted of sixty-six men, and Sparks reported that Company H of the Third Illinois Cavalry also fought in the skirmish. As the initial confrontation had started as an ambush, Union troops were unable to mount their horses to fight. Companies H and L fired on the Confederates but retreated after some time. Because of the short distance between the two forces, Union soldiers could not stop to load their guns while retreating. Those of Sparks’s men who carried revolvers stopped during the retreat and effectively fired at the Confederates, some of whom fell to the ground.

Confederate forces halted their advance toward the retreating Union forces after a half-mile due to injuries, while Carr and Sparks’s forces moved toward the White River to forage. The Confederate forces lost six men in the skirmish. Sparks and Company L had one wounded and six missing, four of whom were wounded, taken prisoner, or killed. The other two were expected to return with four missing horses. Company H had one wounded and one missing.

For additional information:
Akridge, Scott H., and Emmett E. Powers. A Severe and Bloody Fight: The Battle of Whitney’s Lane & Military Occupation of White County, Arkansas, May & June, 1862. Searcy, AR: White County Historical Museum, 1996.

The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Series I, Vol. 13, Part 1. Washington DC: Government Printing Office, 1885.

Matthew Whitlock
Old Dominion University


No comments on this entry yet.