Skirmish at Yocum Creek

aka: Skirmish at Duncan Springs


Location: Carroll County
Campaign: Pea Ridge Campaign
Date: November 15, 1862
Principal Commanders: Captain Rowman E. M. Mack, Captain Theodorick Youngblood (US); Unknown (CS)
Forces Engaged: Detachment of First Arkansas Cavalry (US); Unknown (CS)
Estimated Casualties: 7 killed (US); 7 killed (CS)
Result: Union victory

Part of the First Arkansas Cavalry (US) was stationed at Elkhorn Tavern, near Bentonville (Benton County), in late October 1862 to help control part of southwest Missouri until the army could enter Arkansas. On November 15, 1862, Company G under the command of Captain Rowman E. M. Mack and Company K under Captain Theodorick Youngblood, along with elements of an additional unidentified company, arrived in the area of Yocum Creek in Arkansas to evacuate loyal Union families to Elkhorn Tavern.

While at the Jeremiah Youngblood farm, local Confederates attacked the Unionists and then withdrew to the south and west along Yocum Creek, with the Federals in pursuit. The fight continued southward, down the valley to Duncan Springs. At this junction, the Confederates were reinforced and regrouped to fire on the onslaught of Federal forces. South of this site, the skirmish split into two separate battles. One group of the Confederates turned to the west, entering Allen Hollow to cross the dry fork of Yocum Creek. The remainder of the Confederate force continued south toward Scott’s Prairie—present-day Green Forest (Carroll County). The Federal forces split, with Company G following the Confederates south and Company K turning into Allen Hollow to chase the second Confederate unit. Once in Allen Hollow, the Confederates crossed the dry fork of Yocum Creek and took up positions to fire on the approaching Union forces. Today, this area of Yocum Creek is known as the “old battlefield.”

The Federal cavalry pursued the Confederates until they reached the Hayhurst farm; some men of the First Arkansas Cavalry were related to this family. The Federals told the Hayhursts that they would return in the spring to continue the area evacuation.

According to local tradition, seven Confederates and seven Federals died in this battle. The Confederate dead (according to local lore) included Dr. Willie Blount Wright, who died on November 24, 1862. Federal private Luther P. Phillips, age twenty-nine, was mortally wounded in this engagement, and he was left with the family of Robert Duncan; Phillips died on November 21, 1862. He was buried on a hill overlooking both engagement sites. His tombstone was erected by the Unionist family. It was rediscovered in 1992, revealing his full name and birthdate.

For additional information:
“The 130thAnniversary of the Skirmish at Duncan Springs.” Carroll County Historical Quarterly 38 (Winter 1993): 14–18.

Dyer, Frederick H. A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion, Vol. 3. New York: Yoseloff, 1900.

J. Troy Massey
Gordon Hale
Harrison, Arkansas


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