Scout in Yell County with Skirmishes (July 25–August 11, 1864)

Troops of the Third Arkansas Cavalry (US) undertook a scouting expedition to Yell County in late 1864 to seek information on enemy activities in the region and to search for the many guerrillas operating in the county.

The Third Arkansas Cavalry (US) established a base at Lewisburg (Conway County) on June 30, 1864, from which they sent out regular patrols in search of Confederate guerrillas and irregular troops. Captain Bright W. Herring, who had mustered into the Third Arkansas in Yell County in October 1863, left Lewisburg on an expedition to Yell County on July 25, 1864. The Third Arkansas troopers likely were from Herring’s own Company F and from Company H, which reported in July and August that the unit had been “doing heavy duty as scouts and fatigue parties. Had skirmishes with the enemy in Yell County but sustained no loss.”

The only record of the eighteen-day scouting expedition is a brief report from Colonel Abraham Ryan, who noted that Herring’s command returned to Lewisburg on August 11, 1864. He noted that the Third Arkansas troopers “killed the two Newsom brothers”—a pair of Confederate guerrillas—and that Confederates “are running conscripts, negroes, and captured and stolen property south” through Center Point (Howard County) and Caddo Gap (Montgomery County).

While the eighteen-day scout from Lewisburg to Yell County and back appears to have been largely uneventful, it is typical of the anti-guerrilla warfare being conducted by Federal forces in western Arkansas during the summer of 1864.

For additional information:
Hewett, Janet B., et al., eds. Supplement to the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Vol. 2, part 2, p. 93. 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. 41, part 1, p. 131. Washington DC: Government Printing Office, 1893.

Mark K. Christ
Central Arkansas Library System


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