Thirtieth Arkansas Infantry (CS)

aka: Rogan's Arkansas Cavalry (CS)

The Thirtieth Arkansas Infantry was a Confederate unit that served in the Trans-Mississippi Theater during the American Civil War. The unit was primarily composed of men from Craighead, Cross, Clay, Greene, Jackson, Poinsett, Pulaski, and St. Francis counties. The regiment was organized on June 18, 1862, with field officers Colonel Archibald McNeill, Lieutenant Colonel Robert A. Hart, and Major James W. Rogan.

Initially referred to as the Fifth Trans-Mississippi Infantry Regiment or McNeill’s Regiment, it was officially designated the Thirtieth Arkansas Infantry by the Confederate War Department. Often incorrectly referred to as the Thirty-Ninth Arkansas Infantry, it is also known as Hart and Rogan’s Arkansas Infantry. During summer and fall 1862, the regiment operated in the vicinity of the White River, occupying DeValls Bluff (Prairie County) and Camp Hope near what later became Old Austin (Lonoke County). In November 1862, Colonel McNeill resigned and Robert Hart was promoted to colonel. The regiment relocated to northwestern Arkansas and was assigned to Colonel Dandridge McRae’s brigade of Brigadier General Francis Shoup’s Division, Hindman’s Corps, Army of Arkansas.

The Thirtieth Arkansas experienced its first combat on December 7, 1862, at the Battle of Prairie Grove. Shoup’s Division was deployed along a prominent ridge in the vicinity of the Fayetteville–Cane Hill Road eastward toward the Borden House. The Thirtieth, reporting a strength of only 304, assisted in repelling the early assaults of Brigadier General Francis Herron’s Union forces, along with the rest of Shoup’s Division. In the heavy action along the ridge near the Borden House and into the prairie, the Thirtieth lost two killed and twelve wounded. That evening, Thomas Hindman retreated back to Van Buren (Crawford County), and the Thirtieth soon returned to central Arkansas, establishing winter quarters near Little Rock (Pulaski County).

On July 4, 1863, the Thirtieth Arkansas participated in the Battle of Helena. Price’s entire division, including McRae’s brigade and the Thirtieth, was tasked with attacking Battery C, while other brigades attacked remaining Union positions. McRae’s units assaulted the fort from the north, assisting in overwhelming its defenders, who fled into Helena (Phillips County) and the safety of Fort Curtis. McRae was ordered by Lieutenant General Theophilus Holmes to move to the south and assist Brigadier General James Fagan’s brigade, which was attacking Battery D and in need of assistance. McRae moved with only 200 available men of his brigade and began receiving fire from front and rear, forcing him to withdraw his depleted force. Entering the battle with 340 soldiers, the Thirtieth lost eight killed, forty-six wounded, and thirty-nine missing or captured. Included in these losses were Colonel Robert Hart, who died a prisoner one month later, and Major Joseph Martin, who was killed on the field. The Confederate forces failed to take the city, eventually retreating back to Little Rock, and Lieutenant Colonel James Rogan was elevated to command the regiment.

For the next month, the regiment served at various locations in central Arkansas until Federal forces began their advance on Little Rock. During the initial cavalry battles of August 1863, Confederate infantry, including the Thirtieth, held strong works east of the city and north of the Arkansas River. When Union cavalry successfully forded the Arkansas River below Little Rock on September 10, 1863, the infantry withdrew through Little Rock, retreating to Arkadelphia (Clark County), thus giving up the state capital to the enemy. With most of the men in the Thirtieth residing in northeastern Arkansas, desertion depleted the regiment immediately. As a result, the remnant consolidated with the Thirty-Second Arkansas in December, under command of Colonel Lucien Gause, while Colonel Rogan was sent north of the Arkansas River to try to reassemble his absent soldiers.

While the remnant of the Thirtieth Infantry fought at Pleasant Hill, Louisiana, and Jenkins’ Ferry, Arkansas, in April 1864, Colonel Rogan reorganized his absentees north of the Arkansas River into a mounted cavalry regiment. Commonly referred to as Rogan’s Regiment, it was assigned to Major General Fagan’s cavalry division as an independent command in September, participating in Sterling Price’s Missouri Raid. It fought in the numerous engagements, such as Pilot Knob, Little Blue, Westport, and Newtonia in Missouri, as well as Marais des Cygnes River, Mine Creek, and Mound City in Kansas, although no specific reports detail its activities.

No further records of Rogan’s cavalry exist detailing the remainder of the war. Its exact location is unknown at the end of the war, but it was included in General Kirby Smith’s surrender of the Trans-Mississippi Department on May 26, 1865.

For additional information:
Christ, Mark. “The Battle of Helena.” Blue and Gray Magazine 32, no. 4 (October 2016): 58.

Shea, William. Fields of Blood: The Prairie Grove Campaign. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009.

Anthony Rushing
Bryant, Public Schools

Last Updated: 11/23/2019