Scouts from Fayetteville

Several scouting parties were sent out from Fayetteville (Washington County) in the spring of 1863 in search of Confederate troops and guerrillas who threatened the exposed Union outpost in northwestern Arkansas.

A party of the First Arkansas Cavalry (US) under Captain John Worthington and Lieutenant Joseph Robb spent a week patrolling the area, returning to Fayetteville on April 5, 1863. Lieutenant James Roseman reported that “they were so fortunate as to leave 22 dead rebels in their track. They entirely cleared out MacFarlane’s band, and he is reported killed. The loss on our side was 1 man wounded.”

A second party, led by Captain James R. Vanderpool of Company C, First Arkansas Infantry Regiment (US), returned to Fayetteville on April 4 after scouting into Newton and Carroll counties. “He had several fights with rebel bands, and succeeded in killing 19 in all, with the loss of 1 wounded,” Roseman reported, adding that a third scouting party was still out but was expected to return in the next few days; no record of this group’s patrol appears to exist.

Roseman also reported that a train of six wagons would leave Fayetteville on the morning of April 6 to pick up “the revolvers, cartridges, &c., sent down by Major [James] Corning” to the Federal post at Cassville, Missouri, while another train of eight wagons manned by artillerymen would proceed to Springfield, Missouri, “to obtain in part the supplies so much needed at this post.”

Finally, Roseman reported that sites had been selected for fortifications to protect Fayetteville and construction would begin soon. Before the earthworks were completed, though, Confederate Brigadier General William Cabell attacked Fayetteville on April 18, 1863. While his attack was repulsed, the Federals chose to abandon Fayetteville a week later. The First Arkansas Cavalry would return in September and would remain in possession of the town for the rest of the war.

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, p. 246. Washington DC: Government Printing Office, 1888.

Mark K. Christ
Central Arkansas Library System


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