Skirmish at Brownsville (July 13–14, 1864)


Location: Lonoke County
Campaign: None
Dates: July 13–14, 1864
Principal Commanders: Colonel Oliver Wood, Captain David Wilson (US); Brigadier General Joseph Shelby (CS)
Forces Engaged: Twenty-second Ohio Infantry, Tenth Illinois Cavalry (US); Unknown Confederate forces (CS)
Estimated Casualties: None
Result: Union forces captured guns and pushed Confederate forces back to Snake Island.

On July 13, 1864, a detachment of Confederate forces from Brigadier General Joseph O. Shelby’s command moved toward a camp near Brownsville (Lonoke County). Colonel Oliver Wood of the Twenty-second Ohio Infantry (US) reported that Confederates numbering around 150 attacked his picket line but were driven away. Due to the small number of men under Wood, he decided not to move beyond the defenses until the next day, as an immediate response would have left the camp vulnerable to attack.

By afternoon of July 14, Wood had followed the Confederates fifteen miles southeast of Brownsville to Snake Island. At that point, the Confederates divided into smaller forces and separated, whereupon Wood decided to halt. Union forces captured five guns, and one Union vedette (mounted sentinel) lost his horse, saddle, and bridle.

Wood also noted that the Tenth Illinois Cavalry under the command of Captain David Wilson arrived in Brownsville that afternoon following the Action at Des Arc Bayou. A portion of Shelby’s Missouri Cavalry attacked Wilson’s cavalry at 4:30 a.m. at Des Arc Bayou, with Wilson losing 141 men and officers.

For additional information:
The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Series I, Vol. 41, Parts I and II. Washington DC: Government Printing Office, 1893.

Matthew Whitlock
Old Dominion University


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