Scout from Lewisburg into Yell and Searcy Counties (March 12–23, 1865)

A pair of Third Arkansas Cavalry (US) soldiers led scouting operations into their home counties in March 1865, bringing back intelligence of Confederate operations.

Colonel Abraham H. Ryan of the Third Arkansas reported on March 23, 1865, that Yell County native Lieutenant William M. Boles had returned to Lewisburg (Conway County) that day from a twelve-day expedition in Yell County, reporting that the scouting party had killed several Confederates near Danville (Yell County). Boles learned during his scout that Colonel John T. Coffee was planning to bring 300 men from rebel camps at Center Point (Howard County) to harvest wheat in the bottomlands of the Fourche La Fave River to feed Confederate troops in southern Arkansas.

Sergeant Ebenezer D. Arnold of Company M, Third Arkansas, led a party of men on a scout into Searcy County; like Arnold, most of the men in the company were natives of that county. Arnold reported killing two Confederates, while his party suffered one man wounded.

Arnold reported that Confederates were converging around Dover (Pope County) and the Illinois Bayou, leading Ryan to surmise that they were either planning to ride south or to go east of the White River to reenforce the commands of Brigadier General Dandridge McRae and Colonel Archibald Dobbins prior to conducting raids on the Memphis and Little Rock Railroad between DeValls Bluff (Prairie County) and Little Rock (Pulaski County).

The scouting operations from Lewisburg into Yell and Searcy counties showed that, even during the later stages of the Civil War in Arkansas, both guerrilla and conventional Confederate forces were active and that Union troops had to remain wary of their activities. Though this was the last operation of the Third Arkansas out of Lewisburg reported in the Official Records, the regiment almost certainly continued frequent scouting expeditions until the war ended.

For additional information:
Johnston, James J. The Civil War in Searcy County Month by Month. Marshall, AR: Searcy County Publications, 2015.

The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, vol. 48, part 1, pp. 139–140. Washington DC: Government Printing Office, 1896.

Mark K. Christ
Central Arkansas Library System


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