Scout from Little Rock to the Saline River (April 26–29, 1865)

The scout from Little Rock (Pulaski County) to the Saline River was a guerrilla-hunting operation undertaken by Arkansas Union troops late in the Civil War.

Major Harris S. Greeno led 120 men from Companies A, B, C, D, E, and H of the Fourth Arkansas Cavalry Regiment (US) and an additional forty men “of Captain Miller’s company of independent scouts” out from the Union base at Little Rock on the morning of April 26, 1865, and headed south. After reaching Benton (Saline County), they followed the Saline River for twenty-five miles, scouting “the country thoroughly.”

When the Federals neared Steel’s Mill on the Saline, they ran into a band of guerrillas. Greeno reported that “we killed one man by the name of Dick Crossen, said to be a captain of a bushwhacking company and a very bad man”; an officer in Company A wrote that they “killed the notorious guerrilla chief Dick Crossen.” Two of Crossen’s men were wounded. One, a man named Barnes, was so seriously injured that the Federals could not take him with them; the other escaped.

Greeno intended to cross the Saline River to make a “vigorous search” for Colonel William Ayers Crawford and his Confederate troops. However, they “found the river impassible on account of recent rains.” The Federals turned back and reached Little Rock on April 29, 1865, after traveling 120 miles.

Though the major Confederate armies in the east had already surrendered, the scout from Little Rock to the Saline River showed that the Civil War in Arkansas was not over as Union troops continued patrolling in search of Confederate soldiers and guerrillas.

For additional information:
Hewett, Janet B., et al., eds. Supplement to the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Vol. 2, pp. 100–104, 107. Wilmington, NC: Broadfoot Publishing Co., 1994.

The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Vol. 48, part 1, pp. 209–210. Washington DC: Government Printing Office, 1896.

Mark K. Christ
Central Arkansas Library System


No comments on this entry yet.