Pine Bluff Expedition (February 26–28, 1865)

aka: Skirmish at McMilley's Farm


Location: Jefferson County
Campaign: Pine Bluff Expedition
Dates: February 26–28, 1865
Principal Commanders: Captain George W. Suesberry (US); Captain Maybery (CS)
Forces Engaged: L Company, Thirteenth Illinois Cavalry (US); Forces under command of Captain Maybery (CS)
Estimated Casualties None (US); 8 killed, 2 captured (CS)
Result: Union victory

Following the fall of Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) to Union forces in October 1863, Union commanders at the Pine Bluff garrison began expeditions aimed at scouting and securing areas around the city to remove remaining Confederate forces.

Ordered to command an expeditionary force to scout the area north of the Arkansas River between Pine Bluff and a farm near the Wabbaseka (Jefferson County) area, Captain George Suesberry moved a force of sixty men from Pine Bluff to that area. During the movement, there was a brief engagement with Confederate forces.

Late in the evening of February 26, 1865, Capt. Suesberry moved his force of sixty men across the Arkansas River to the northern bank with the intent to continue north and east of the river to the McMilley farm near the Wabbaseka area. Following an all-night march, the group arrived at the Wabbaseka Bayou, finding the bridge in need of repair. After repairing the bridge, the men marched to the McMilley Farm, arriving on the evening of February 27.

At the farm, a Confederate force of fifty under the command of a Captain Maybery was engaged. The skirmish persisted for thirty minutes until the Confederate forces were routed and retreated from the battlefield. During the conflict, eight Confederate soldiers were killed and two soldiers were taken prisoner. Confederate supplies and animals were seized, and the encampments were burned and destroyed. No Union losses occurred during the short engagement.

Following the skirmish, Suesberry refitted his force with the seized Confederate supplies and began the return march to Pine Bluff. The Union party rested on the night of February 27 at a farm owned by a Mrs. Patton, where they received additional supplies. The expedition returned to the Pine Bluff garrison on the morning of February 28.

For additional information:
The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Series I, Vol. 48, Part I, p. 127. Washington DC: Government Printing Office, 1891.

Jacob Worthan
Little Rock, Arkansas


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