Scout from DeValls Bluff to Strickland’s (October 31, 1864)

The October 1864 scouting expedition from DeValls Bluff (Prairie County) to Strickland’s plantation was an abortive attempt by Union troops to break up a Confederate conscripting operation.

On October 30, 1864, Brigadier General Christopher C. Andrews, commanding the Union base on the White River at DeValls Bluff, received intelligence that a Confederate conscripting officer would be at Strickland’s plantation about six miles below Clarendon (Monroe County) at 10:00 a.m. the next day.

Writing that “it is probable a squad of bushwhackers can be captured there at that time,” he ordered Lieutenant Colonel Charles S. Clark to send a scout of seventy-five men aboard the steamboat Rose Hambleton to leave DeValls Bluff at 1:00 a.m. to land below Clarendon and disrupt the operation.

Clark’s troops returned to DeValls Bluff that same night, and Andrews reported that they found “no gathering of guerrillas…as expected,” though, returning by way of the Cache River, they did capture one bushwhacker, two horses, and a mule. They also received intelligence that guerrilla chieftain John R. Swan, who had been the target of the October 16–17, 1864, Clarendon Expedition, was at Big Creek with 100 bushwhackers.

While unsuccessful in its primary mission, the scout from DeValls Bluff to Strickland’s underscores the continuous conflict between Federal troops and bushwhackers and the extensive efforts the Union army was willing to undertake to break up guerrilla operations.

For additional information:
The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Vol. 41, part 4, pp. 326, 385. Washington DC: Government Printing Office, 1893.

Mark K. Christ
Central Arkansas Library System


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