Scout from Forsyth, Missouri, to Batesville
A patrol of ninety-three men of the Eighth Missouri State Militia Cavalry led by Captain James J. Akard left their base at Forsyth, Missouri, on December 26, 1863, to deliver dispatches to Federal troops who had occupied Batesville (Independence County) the day before.
The Missourians endured a lack of forage for their horses for the first forty-five miles of their journey but found ample fodder as they neared Batesville. Passing through Mountain Home (Baxter County), Calico Rock (Izard County), and Wild Haws (Izard County), they killed two Confederates and captured nine others, along with nineteen horses, during their scout to Batesville, turning them over to the provost marshal when they got there on December 29.
They left the next day accompanied by Lieutenant Colonel William Baumer of the First Nebraska Cavalry Regiment and 200 troopers of that regiment. The combined force scouted around northern Arkansas until January 2, 1864, when Akard and his men turned back toward Missouri, passing through Salem (Fulton County) on the way. They killed two more Confederates and captured eight men and four horses before arriving at Springfield, Missouri, the same day.
The scouting expedition from Forsyth to Batesville and back to Springfield is typical of many of the small-unit operations of Federal troops in the Ozarks region as the Civil War stretched into its fourth year.
For additional information:
The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Vol. 22, part 1, pp. 786–787. Washington DC: Government Printing Office, 1888.
Mark K. Christ
Central Arkansas Library System
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