Skirmish at Cypress Creek (December 1, 1864)

Location: Perry County
Campaign: None
Date: December 1, 1864
Principal Commanders: Captain Marvin C. Gates (US); unknown guerrillas (CS)
Forces Engaged: Company C, Third Arkansas Cavalry (US); unknown (CS)
Estimated Casualties: 1 killed (US); 5 killed (CS)
Result: Union victory

The December 1, 1864, Skirmish at Cypress Creek was one of many military events of the Civil War to occur within the Arkansas River Valley, exemplifying both the contentious nature of the Union’s occupation of the area around the Arkansas River and the ongoing role of guerrilla fighting.

The only known surviving document is a report by Colonel Abraham H. Ryan of the Third Arkansas Cavalry. According to this report, Captain Marvin C. Gates of Company C, Third Arkansas Cavalry, along with two men in the advance, came upon five of the enemy near Cypress Creek in Perry County, nine miles from Lewisburg (Conway County), where the report was composed. Capt. Gates charged and was killed. None of the enemy escaped. Among the dead was the notorious guerrilla Van Woods.

Col. Ryan and the Third Arkansas Cavalry operated along the Arkansas River and central Arkansas for much of late 1864, engaging the enemy at such places as Norristown (Pope County), Quitman (Cleburne County), and Yell County. Two days after the Skirmish at Cypress Creek, members of Company C encountered more hostilities in Perry County.

For additional information:
The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Series 1, Vol. 41, p. 974. Washington DC: Government Printing Office, 1893.

Guy Lancaster
CALS Encyclopedia of Arkansas

Last Updated: 01/02/2013

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