Fourth Arkansas Mounted Infantry (US)

The Fourth Arkansas Mounted Infantry (US) was a regiment of Arkansas Unionists raised by Elisha Baxter in 1863–1864. The unit failed to recruit sufficient soldiers to complete its organization and was disbanded in June 1864.

Elisha Baxter of Batesville (Independence County) began recruiting volunteers for the Fourth Arkansas Mounted Infantry Regiment (US) in October 1863, and in November, Major General Frederick Steele, commanding the U.S. Seventh Corps, reported that “Baxter and [William B.] Padgett, two fugitives from Batesville…each expects to raise a regiment.” Captain William Berry, leading men of what would become Company C of the Fourth Arkansas, was involved in the affair at Jacksonport (Jackson County) in late November, the first action involving men of the emerging regiment. Lieutenant Colonel T. G. Black of the Third Missouri Cavalry (US) reported that he found “Mr. Baxter a worthy, intelligent gentleman,” but declared his recruits “a most complete nuisance, destitute of the faintest conception of correct principles” who “will injure the Government more than they can possibly benefit it.”

Recruiting proceeded slowly, and at the end of December, Colonel Robert R. Livingston of the First Nebraska Cavalry, commanding the Federal post at Batesville, reported that Baxter “has now 131 men. He expects many more, but he has been recruiting since October, and they do not rally around the flag with much enthusiasm.” Those who were serving with the Fourth Arkansas did see considerable action while patrolling in the area, with detachments involved in the fighting at Lunenburg (Izard County) on January 20, 1864, Morgan’s Mill (Sharp County) on February 8, and Waugh’s Farm (Independence County) on February 19. Baxter himself led an expedition along the Devil’s Fork of the Little Red River in Cleburne County in March in which the Fourth Arkansas “captured 1 captain, 2 lieutenants, 19 enlisted men of the Confederate service, 18 horses, 9 mules, and 2 yoke of oxen, with 2 wagon loads of provisions en route to the enemy.”

Baxter was elected to the U.S. Senate in May 1864, though he was never seated, and command of the regiment was turned over to his brother, Captain Taylor Baxter. The next month, though the Fourth Arkansas Mounted Infantry numbered more than 350 soldiers, Steele ordered that “the 4th Arkansas mounted infantry, not having been confirmed by the War Department,…is hereby disbanded.” Some of the troops were apparently absorbed into the Second Arkansas Infantry Regiment (US) or joined other units, while others simply went home. Elisha Baxter would go on to be elected governor of Arkansas.

For additional information:
Baxter’s Fourth Arkansas Mounted Infantry USA. http://www.4tharkmountedinf.com/ (accessed May 13, 2022).

Dyer, Frederick. A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion. Des Moines, IA: Dyer Publishing Co., 1908.

Fagg, Jane. “Boys in Blue.” Independence County Chronicle 27 (April–July 1986): 24–47.

Gregory, Terry. “4th Arkansas Mounted Infantry, Company C—A Case Study.” Independence County Chronicle 27 (April–July 1986): 48–69.

Mobley, Freeman K. Making Sense of the Civil War in Batesville-Jacksonport and Northeast Arkansas, 1861–1874. Batesville, AR: P.D. Publishing, 2005.

The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Vol. 22, part 2; pp. 701, 717, 756; Vol. 34, part 2, p. 530. Washington DC: Government Printing Office, 1888, 1891.

Mark K. Christ
Central Arkansas Library System

Last Updated: 05/13/2022

Entry