Skirmish at Carrollton (August 15, 1864)

Location: Carroll County
Campaign: None
Date: August 15, 1864
Principal Commanders: Lieutenant Halsey (US); Unknown (CS)
Forces Engaged: 19 cavalry (US); 50 guerrillas (CS)
Estimated Casualties: 1 mortally wounded (US); 4 killed (CS)
Result: Union victory

Part of an effort to disrupt enemy operations across northwestern Arkansas, this skirmish was one of several fought in August 1864 against numerous guerrilla bands. While extremely brief, this skirmish caused significant havoc for one group of Confederate guerrillas.

Brigadier General John Sanborn was tasked with stopping enemy actions in southwestern Missouri and northwestern Arkansas. From his command post at Springfield, Missouri, he led efforts to find and destroy groups of guerrillas. Using both regular Federal units and militia, Sanborn tried to keep the enemy from gaining any strength in his area.

On August 15, 1864, one of Sanborn’s units, a detachment from a company of Arkansas militia under the command of Captain G. W. Edy, approached Carrollton (Carroll County). The Federal commander of the detachment was a Lieutenant Halsey. Entering the town, the Union force discovered a number of Confederate guerrillas under the command of a Captain Wilson. Attacking, the Federals forced the Confederate guerrillas to retreat in confusion; they did not pursue them.

In the brief engagement, Captain Wilson and three of his men were killed. One Federal soldier was wounded and later died. After the end of the skirmish, the Union force continued its search for additional enemy units.

While short, this skirmish shows just how violent the state was during this period and the difficulty that Union units faced in finding and quashing enemy combatants.

For additional information:
The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Series 1, Vol. 41, Part I. Washington DC: Government Printing Office, 1889.

David Sesser
Henderson State University


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