Skirmish at Klepper's Sawmill

aka: Skirmish at Clapper's Sawmill

Location: Boone County
Campaign: Operations in Northern Arkansas
Date: March 31, 1863
Principal Commanders: Lieutenant Colonel Richard H. White (US); Colonel Woodson [first name unknown] and Colonel John F. Hill (CS)
Forces Engaged: Third Wisconsin Cavalry (US); Colonel William H. Brook’s Regiment (CS)
Estimated Casualties: None (US); Unknown number wounded (CS)
Result: Union victory

In early 1863, Confederate general John Sappington Marmaduke moved his forces out of Lewisburg (Conway County) to attack Springfield, Missouri. This action caused Union general Francis J. Herron to move to reinforce Springfield and defend against the Confederate forces. After the battle, the Federals retained control of the town, and Confederate forces filtered back down into Arkansas. General Herron sent Colonel William Weer to disrupt the Confederate forces in the Crooked Creek valley, forces which were concentrated between Carrollton (Carroll County) and Yellville (Marion County). Confederate captain E. G. Mitchell was also in the area recruiting.

On March 31, 1863, Confederates under one Colonel Woodson and Colonel John F. Hill of W. H. Brooks’s command were in camp when attacked by Lieutenant Colonel Richard H. White of the Third Wisconsin Cavalry. White had earlier left camp at Carrollton and traveled southeast toward Crooked Creek, arriving at Klepper’s Mill around 10:00 p.m. A pistol attack ensued as the Union forces came upon John Klepper’s house, where the Confederate command was holding a council of war. White then proceeded a quarter of a mile to the Confederate camp, which was located in a large field on the East Fork of Crooked Creek. Union howitzers shelled the camp and then followed with a Union cavalry charge. The dark night helped conceal the Confederates’ escape.

White reported that a great many Confederate arms, some wagons, mules and cattle, cooking utensils, and more were left at the camp. Pursuit continued for two miles by the Union forces before they returned to the Confederate camp. At the time of his report, White intended to follow the Confederates to Bluff Springs (Newton County), about twelve miles farther to the southeast.

For additional information:
The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Series 1, Vol. 22, Part 1. Washington DC: Government Printing Office, 1888.

James Troy Massey
Harrison, Arkansas


No comments on this entry yet.