Attack on Union Transport near St. Charles
aka: Attack on U.S. Transport Marmora (October 22, 1864)
Confederate guerrillas fired on the U.S. transport Marmora as it was steaming up the White River taking the Fifty-Third U.S. Colored Troops to St. Charles (Arkansas County) on October 22, 1864, killing three men and wounding up to eighteen others.
On October 14, 1864, Major General Napoleon Jackson Tecumseh Dana ordered six Union regiments, including the Fifty-Third U.S. Colored Troops, to bolster Federal forces based at the mouth of the White River. The Fifty-Third boarded the steamboat Bart Able at Vicksburg, Mississippi, and headed north, arriving at its destination on October 18.
Four days later, the regiment was traveling up the White River to occupy St. Charles. While the Marmora approached Prairie Landing, Confederate guerrillas concealed in the trees along the banks of the river opened fire on the transport. Soldiers of the Fifty-Third promptly returned fire “with spirit” as the guerrillas pursued the vessel for five or six miles.
Second Lieutenant Lemuel Lendormy of Company D was mortally wounded (he died November 2, 1864), and three men were killed, while different reports say that fifteen to eighteen men were wounded in the guerrilla attack on the Marmora. The most severely wounded soldiers were sent to Vicksburg once the rest of the regiment disembarked at St. Charles. The Fifty-Third U.S. Colored Troops would remain on station at St. Charles until February 1865.
The attack on the transport Marmora illustrates the ongoing danger from Confederate troops and guerrilla forces as they continued attacking Union shipping on Arkansas’s waterways, including attacks on the Alamo, Celeste, J. H. Miller, Commercial, Perry, and Resolute in 1864 and on a group of steamboats at Ivey’s Ford in 1865.
For additional information:
“Attack on a Union Steamer.” Washington DC National Republican, October 29, 1864, p. 2.
Hewett, Janet B., et al., eds. Supplement to the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Vol. 78, pp. 207–8, 210, 211, 214. Wilmington, NC: Broadfoot Publishing Co., 1998.
“News from the White River.” New York Daily Herald, October 28, 1864, p. 5.
The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Vol. 41, part 1, pp. 890–891; part 3, pp. 857, 884. Washington DC: Government Printing Office, 1893.
Mark K. Christ
Central Arkansas Library System
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