Skirmish at Talbot's Ferry

aka: Skirmish at Talbert's Ferry

Location: Marion County
Campaign: Curtis’s campaign in southern Missouri and northern Arkansas
Date: April 19, 1862
Principal Commanders: Colonel Lafayette McCrillis (US); unknown (CS)
Forces Engaged: Detachments of Third Illinois Cavalry, Fourth Iowa Cavalry, Bowen’s Battalion (US); unknown (CS)
Estimated Casualties: 1 killed (US); unknown (CS)
Result: Union victory

The Skirmish at Talbot’s Ferry (also known as Talbert’s Ferry) in Marion County was one of many skirmishes associated with General Samuel Curtis’s campaign in southern Missouri and northern Arkansas in 1862. The fighting was concentrated around a Confederate saltpeter manufactory located along the White River at Talbot’s Ferry near Yellville (Marion County).

On April 19, 1862, a detachment under the command of Captain James T. Drummond of the Fourth Iowa Cavalry crossed the White River near Yellville with intentions of locating and destroying the Confederate saltpeter manufactory located eight miles south of Little North Fork—now part of Bull Shoals Lake—on the south side of the river. During his patrol, Captain Drummond captured three men thought to be Confederate pickets placed along the river. He ordered these prisoners to ferry eight of his men across the river in canoes to destroy the manufactory. The Union soldiers were successful in destroying the manufactory and setting fire to the surrounding buildings.

In the taking of Talbot’s Ferry, the Confederate guard—consisting of around fifty men—that was protecting the manufactory began firing on Company I, Fourth Iowa, from log cabins located along the opposite side of the river. The two forces exchanged fire across the river for some time until a Union howitzer began firing on the Confederate position, dispersing the guard.

During the skirmish, the one recorded casualty, Lieutenant William A. Heacock of the Fourth Iowa Cavalry, was mortally wounded. Because the Confederate forces were fighting from the opposite side of the White River from the Union, their casualties went unrecorded in the only extant report.

For additional information:
Scott, William Forse. The Story of a Cavalry Regiment: The Career of the Fourth Iowa Veteran Volunteers: From Kansas to Georgia, 1861–1865. Iowa City, IA: Camp Pope Bookshop, 1992.

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

Jacob Worthan
Henderson State University


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