Skirmish at Stewart's Plantation

Location: Jackson County
Campaign: Helena
Dates: June 27, 1862
Principal Commanders: Captain Richard Hooker (CS); Colonel Milton Barber (CS); Colonel Cyrus Bussey (US); Colonel Albert Brackett (US)
Forces Engaged: Hooker’s Arkansas Mounted Volunteers (CS); 38th Arkansas Infantry (CS); Third Iowa Cavalry (US); Eighth Indiana Infantry (US); Ninth Illinois Cavalry
Estimated Casualties: 5 killed, 35 wounded (US); 5 killed (CS)
Result: Confederate victory

Following his victory at the Battle of Pea Ridge in March 1862, General Samuel Curtis, with intentions of capturing Little Rock (Pulaski County), moved his Union Army of the Southwest into northeast Arkansas, occupying Batesville (Independence County). Here, he split his force into three divisions, with one division under the command of General Frederick Steele dispatched to occupy the river port town of Jacksonport (Jackson County). While on a foraging expedition, made necessary by major supply problems that would lead to a cross-country march to Helena (Phillips County) to establish a supply line on the Mississippi River, Steele’s forces engaged Confederate forces in the Skirmish at Stewart’s Plantation on June 27, 1862.

As supplies began to run low, Steele received intelligence that a supply of grain was stored at “Old Ranch Place,” about three and a half miles north of the river port town of Grand Glaise (Jackson County). Wagons were sent down the Island Road under the protection of detachments of the Third Iowa Cavalry and Eighth Indiana Infantry. Little resistance was met as much of the area was virtually deserted, but, upon the return trip, the loaded wagons and escort were attacked by men of Hooker’s Arkansas Mounted Rifles concealed in a cane break. A long-range firefight ensued, with Union forces breaking off the engagement and continuing up the road. A number of the wagons loaded with grain and weapons were damaged and left behind. Union reinforcements consisting of the Ninth Illinois Cavalry returned and continued the fight for approximately thirty minutes before finally falling back and leaving the Confederates in control of the field.

Though Union officers reported that the “loss to the enemy was severe,” only five Confederates were reported killed. Union losses numbered approximately five killed and thirty-five wounded.

For additional information:
War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Series 1, Vol. 13. Washington DC: Government Printing Office, 1885.

Watson, Lady Elizabeth. Fight and Survive: A History of Jackson County Arkansas in the Civil War. Newport, AR: Craig Printing Company, 1996.

Mike Polston
CALS Encyclopedia of Arkansas


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