Scout from Pine Bluff to Monticello
Shortly after Union forces drove Confederate troops out of Little Rock (Pulaski County) on September 10, 1863, a delegation of citizens from Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) requested that soldiers be stationed in their city to protect property and prevent local men from being conscripted into the Confederate army. Within a week, the Fifth Kansas and First Indiana Cavalry regiments set up a base in Pine Bluff from which they would conduct frequent scouting expeditions in search of Confederate troops and guerrillas in the region.
Lieutenant Hugh D. McCarty of the Fifth Kansas led twenty men out of Pine Bluff on such an operation on January 13, 1864, and headed south. They traveled as far as two miles beyond Monticello (Drew County), capturing a Confederate captain and five others and destroying 2,000 bushels of corn “put up for the Confederacy.” Returning to Pine Bluff with their prisoners the next day, McCarty reported that he believed Brigadier General Mosby M. Parsons and his Confederate brigade were at Warren (Bradley County).
While the scout to Monticello was relatively uneventful, many other expeditions in the region were not, leading to such conflicts as the January 19, 1864, Skirmish at Branchville; the March 30, 1864, Action at Mount Elba; the June 17, 1864, Skirmish near Pine Bluff; and the September 11, 1864, Skirmish at Monticello.
For additional information:
Christ, Mark K. Civil War Arkansas 1863: The Battle for a State. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2010.
The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Vol. 34, part 1, pp. 84–85. Washington DC: Government Printing Office, 1891.
Mark K. Christ
Central Arkansas Library System
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