Civil War

Sub Catagories:
  • No categories
Clear

Entries - Entry Category: Civil War - Starting with M

Madison, Skirmish at

By 1865, large-scale organized Confederate resistance had collapsed in much of the state. Federal patrols from Helena (Phillips County) and other occupied cities continued to find and destroy bands of the enemy when possible. This skirmish was part of such a patrol. On February 8, 1865, Brigadier General Napoleon Buford dispatched a scouting party of men under the command of Lieutenant Colonel John Crebs. Numbering 175, the party departed Helena and moved to the northwest in an effort to find and engage any enemy forces in the area. During the course of the expedition, the Union troops encountered Confederate resistance on a regular basis. Crebs estimated that between 1,500 and 2,000 enemy soldiers operated in eastern Arkansas at the time, …

Marianna and LaGrange, Skirmishes at

  Part of a three-day expedition from Helena (Phillips County) to Moro (Lee County), the skirmishes at Marianna (Lee County) and LaGrange (Lee County) primarily consisted of several guerrilla-style attacks from Confederate forces on a Union detachment moving southeast from Moro toward Marianna. The two opposing forces eventually clashed in a more conventional engagement at La Grange south of Marianna later in the day. On the morning of November 8, 1862, a detachment of Second Brigade, Second Division, Army of the Southwest—consisting of detachments from the Third and Fourth Iowa Cavalry and Ninth Illinois Cavalry—began a march southeast from Moro toward Marianna, on orders from Union brigade commander Colonel William Vandever. Shortly after its departure, the detachment came under attack from a …

Marks’ Mills, Action at

The Action at Marks’ Mills took place on April 25, 1864, when Confederate troops ambushed a Union supply train, capturing all the wagons and artillery and most of the troops. Confederate soldiers were accused of massacring African Americans at this battle. After the April 18 defeat at the Engagement at Poison Spring, Union forces under the command of Major General Frederick Steele continued to hold Camden (Ouachita County) while Confederate Major General Sterling Price maintained pressure on Steele from the countryside. With supplies dwindling, the acquisition of rations became important to the Union troops. The arrival of provisions from Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) on April 20 convinced Steele that more materials could be obtained there. Three days later, he dispatched …

Marmaduke-Walker Duel

aka: Walker-Marmaduke Duel
The Marmaduke-Walker Duel was fought during the Civil War between Confederate brigadier generals John Sappington Marmaduke and Lucius Marshall (Marsh) Walker. Marmaduke was originally from Missouri and was the son of a former governor. Walker was originally from Kentucky and nephew of President James K. Polk. Both graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. They made their way to Arkansas during the war; Marmaduke was stationed there, while Walker was granted a transfer to Arkansas due to trouble with superiors. Disagreement arose between the two in the summer of 1863 over military actions at Helena (Phillips County) and Little Rock (Pulaski County), where Walker failed to carry out operations as planned and exposed Marmaduke and his men to enemy troops. …

Massard Prairie, Action at

The Action at Massard Prairie on July 27, 1864, exemplified the hit-and-run nature of the Civil War in Arkansas on the western border: this was a war of raids and ambushes involving small forces, not drawn-out, large-scale battles. As a Confederate victory, it also demonstrated the difficulty faced by Union units attempting to exert control over the state during the war’s later stages. Following the failure of Union General Frederick Steele’s Camden Expedition in April 1864, Confederate and Union roles on the frontier reversed. Union forces now attempted to hold the line of the Arkansas River against Confederate raids, while emboldened Confederates became more aggressive in their operations. An opportunity presented itself to the Confederates in late July 1864. In …

Maysville, Skirmish at (January 1863)

A small engagement between a Union force of Native Americans and Confederate guerrillas, this action took place in far northwestern Arkansas. Following the Battle of Prairie Grove, the skirmish was an effort by Federal troops to maintain control of the area in the face of increasing guerrilla activity and protect nearby Indians loyal to the Union government. The exact date of the engagement is not recorded in official records. After the Battle of Prairie Grove, Major General John Schofield took command of the Army of the Frontier and ordered Colonel William Phillips to take his Indian brigade to Maysville (Benton County). Phillips’s brigade consisted of the First, Second, and Third Indian Home Guard, a battalion of the Sixth Kansas Cavalry, …

Maysville, Skirmish at (July 20, 1864)

While most Confederate forces in Arkansas were concentrated south of the Arkansas River by the summer of 1864, some guerrilla units continued to operate behind Union lines. A small engagement near the border with the Indian Territory, this skirmish was typical of the fighting during this period. Federal units from Arkansas worked with Union units from other states to patrol the northwestern corner of the state and keep guerrilla activity to a minimum. Cassville, Missouri, was used as both a headquarters for Federal troops and as a staging point for these missions. On July 18, 1864, Captain James Powell of the Second Arkansas Cavalry received orders from the commanding general of the District of Southwestern Missouri, Brigadier General John Sanborn. …

Maysville, Skirmish at (May 8, 1864)

A brief and indecisive engagement on the western edge of Arkansas, this skirmish was part of the war in Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma) that spilled into the state. Pitting Union Cherokee troops against Confederate-allied Cherokee, this skirmish is typical of the actions fought in the area at this point of the war. At the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, various tribes in Indian Territory disagreed about which side, if any, they should choose in the coming conflict. The Cherokee Nation split, with some members continuing to support the Federal government and others aligning themselves with the Confederacy. Both sides organized military units to participate in the war, with numerous Confederate units and three Union regiments organized. The Union …

Maysville, Skirmish at (September 5, 1863)

The September 5, 1863, Skirmish at Maysville consisted of a series of engagements over the course of a single day between Union and Confederate troops in northwestern Arkansas that ended with the complete rout of the Federal force. Originally a mission to escort a Union officer carrying messages, the movement ended with the capture of the messenger and some of his comrades. Captain John Gardner of the Second Kansas Cavalry was ordered to ride from Springfield, Missouri, to join his regiment in the field, carrying dispatches from Brigadier General John McNeil, commander of the District of Southwestern Missouri. Gardner arrived in Cassville, Missouri, on September 1, 1863, and requested an escort of troopers from the First Arkansas Cavalry (US). The …

McGraw’s Mill, Skirmish at

During the winter of 1862–1863, Union sympathizers avoiding Confederate conscription officers fled their homes throughout western Arkansas and hid in the Ouachita Mountains, where they joined Confederate deserters. These bands stole supplies from the local population. Civilians in the area were uneasy with this development and urged the Confederate government to act. One of these bands was led by Andy Brown—who was called “Captain”—of Arkadelphia (Clark County). Brown’s band had eighty-three members and was most active in the Ouachita Mountains northwest of Arkadelphia, stealing horses and wagons from nearby civilians. In response to these events, a group of mounted and armed civilians organized in Arkadelphia under the command of Lieutenant Colonel William A. Crawford. Divided into two companies, the men …

McGuire’s, Affair at

A reconnaissance raid, this engagement saw Federal forces charging into the midst of an enemy encampment before withdrawing. Although the skirmish involved a daring attack, neither side reported any casualties. Major Thomas Hunt commanded part of the First Arkansas Cavalry (US) stationed in Fayetteville (Washington County) in October 1863. The Federals knew that Confederate units under the command of Colonel William Brooks were operating in the area, and Hunt estimated that the enemy numbered around 1,000. The Union troops in the area numbered approximately 500. On October 11, Hunt received a demand for surrender of the town and his command from Brooks. Hunt replied that he would not surrender without a fight and immediately reinforced his picket posts and sent …

Monticello Road, Skirmish at (May 16, 1865)

  Even with the surrender of most of the military units of the Confederacy, the Civil War continued in Arkansas during the spring and early summer of 1865. Many of the southern units in the state were no longer organized and operated to the best of their abilities. Soldiers at Federal outposts throughout the state continued to hunt down these enemy fighters, and this skirmish is an example of one such action. On May 15, 1865, Captain John Norris of Company M, Thirteenth Illinois Cavalry led a scout of thirty men from Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). The patrol started quietly and moved past several farms to determine if the enemy was present in the area. A local farmer’s wife reported …

Monticello, Skirmish at (May 24, 1865)

  In mid-1865, after four years of conflict, the Civil War was finally coming to a close. But Confederate troops still operated in southeastern Arkansas. This skirmish was part of the effort to get these troops to surrender to Union forces and thus conclude the war in the state. On May 23, 1865, Captain John Norris of the Thirteenth Illinois Cavalry departed Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) with sixty men. Once outside of the city, he split his force into two groups. Taking different roads, the two parts of the unit rejoined that night about thirty miles from Pine Bluff. The Federals continued to patrol the countryside the next day before entering Monticello (Drew County) around sunset. Encountering the enemy for …

Monticello, Skirmish at (September 11, 1864)

   After the Camden Expedition in the spring of 1864, Confederate forces were primarily based in southern and eastern Arkansas. Union forces in the state continued to gather intelligence from their bases in Little Rock (Pulaski County) and Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), as well as other locations. This skirmish occurred when a Federal column from Pine Bluff stumbled into a large unit of Confederate troops in the Monticello (Drew County) area. On the morning of September 9, 1864, under orders from Brigadier General Powell Clayton, Colonel Albert Erskine departed Pine Bluff with 300 men. Erskine and his men scouted in the direction of Monticello. That night, the command camped about fourteen miles from Monticello. Approaching the town early the next …

Morgan’s Mill, Skirmish at

aka: Battle of Martin's Creek
aka: Skirmish at Spring River (February 8, 1864)
After capturing Little Rock (Pulaski County) in September 1863 and forcing Arkansas Confederates to relocate their capital to Washington (Hempstead County), Union forces in northeast Arkansas sought to solidify their control in the region and safeguard important supply lines. On Christmas Day 1863, Colonel Robert R. Livingston and his Union forces reoccupied Batesville (Independence County), where they established the headquarters of the District of Northeastern Arkansas. Union forces in Batesville subsequently set out to suppress small bands of Confederates in the region. On February 8, 1864, a Union detachment composed of elements of the Eleventh Missouri Cavalry, the Fourth Arkansas Mounted Infantry, and the First Nebraska Cavalry encountered a larger Confederate force made up of parts of Freeman’s Brigade, Missouri …

Moscow, Action at

The Action at Moscow on April 13, 1864, signaled that Major General Frederick Steele’s Union forces would not be allowed to occupy Camden (Ouachita County) without a fight. Although Confederate Washington (Hempstead County) would be spared from Union occupation, the Confederates were not content to merely defend this town—they went on the offensive. Steele withdrew from Prairie D’Ane (Nevada County) and began marching on Camden on April 12, 1864. His rear guard was the Frontier Division, consisting of about 5,000 men commanded by Brigadier General John M. Thayer. This division was camped near the village of Moscow, on the edge of Prairie D’Ane, on April 13, 1864. Steele’s army made slow progress on its march to Camden, so Thayer’s division …

Mound City, Burning of

This punitive expedition relates to Union efforts to secure Memphis, Tennessee, as a supply and hospital base capable of supporting ongoing operations against Vicksburg, Mississippi. It stands as an early example of the shift toward hard war tactics that would increase throughout the remainder of the Civil War. The decision to burn the village of Mound City (Crittenden County), located on the shore of the Mississippi River between Marion (Crittenden County) and Memphis, had roots in an extended and destructive Confederate partisan raid conducted in Crittenden County by Captain James H. McGehee’s unattached company of Arkansas cavalry in January and February 1863 and were part of a punitive Union campaign to prevent the use of riverside communities as guerrilla bases. …

Mount Elba, Action at

The Action at Mount Elba was fought March 30, 1864, as Confederate cavalrymen attacked Union soldiers guarding a bridge across the Saline River while other Union troops pursued a Confederate supply column at Long View (Ashley County) in an effort to disrupt Rebel operations in South Arkansas and prevent attacks on Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). As Major General Frederick Steele led his Union army into south Arkansas from Little Rock (Pulaski County) in March 1864 on what became known as the Camden Expedition, Colonel Powell Clayton of the Fifth Kansas Cavalry prepared an expedition south from Pine Bluff to attack Confederate forces that were believed to be leaving Monticello (Drew County). The expedition—which left Pine Bluff on March 27, 1864—consisted …

Mount Ida Expedition

In November 1863, Lieutenant Henry C. Caldwell of the Third Iowa Cavalry led a force of Federal cavalrymen on an expedition through at least eight southern Arkansas counties. Engaging the Confederate forces on a number of occasions, he eventually reached the town of Mount Ida (Montgomery County), where he expected to find additional enemy forces. Along the way, the Federals also organized Unionist resistance to the Confederates. Lt. Caldwell’s force, consisting of the Third Iowa Cavalry and First Missouri Cavalry, left Benton (Saline County) on November 10, spending the night in Hot Springs (Garland County). The next day, the force moved down the Murfreesboro Road to within eighteen miles of the town of Murfreesboro (Pike County), where they captured a …

Mountain Home, Skirmish at

aka: Yellville Expedition
In late 1862, the Civil War along the Missouri-Arkansas border degenerated into a series of skirmishes and small raids. One of these raids was conducted by Major John Wilber in October 1862. Union brigadier general Francis Herron ordered an expedition commanded by Wilber to advance from its post at Ozark, Missouri, to Yellville (Marion County), the headquarters of General James McBride, commander of the Seventh Division of the Missouri State Guard. The intention was to surprise the Confederate force stationed at Yellville, burn or capture supplies, take prisoners, and then return to Missouri. Maj. Wilber, commander of the Fourteenth Regiment Missouri State Militia, took 125 men from his command and an additional 100 men of the Missouri Militia and advanced …

Mrs. Voche’s, Skirmish at

  Following the fall of Little Rock (Pulaski County) to Federal forces on September 10, 1863, a force of men in the Fifth Kansas Cavalry raided the community of Sulphur Springs (Jefferson County) seven miles west of Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) on the night of September 14. By sunrise, Pine Bluff was firmly occupied by the Federal army and remained so throughout the end of the Civil War, acting as a hub to supply armies with troops and supplies. While the area remained under Federal occupation, a multitude of skirmishes erupted from all sides of the city throughout the remainder of the war, including the Skirmish at Mrs. Voche’s. According to the after-action report of Captain George W. Suesberry of …

Mud Town and Gerald Mountain, Skirmishes at

aka: Fayetteville Expedition
  Keeping the main road from Springfield, Missouri, to Fayetteville (Washington County) open was a major task for the Union troops under the command of Brigadier General John B. Sanborn, stationed at Springfield. The road was sometimes called the Wire Road, as the telegraph line ran along the road. Keeping the telegraph line in operation was a task that kept repair crews frequently on the road. Traveling this road frequently were the subsistence and ammunition trains, mail carriers, regular and irregular troops from both sides of the Civil War, civilians, and guerrillas. On August 23, 1864, members of the Second Arkansas Cavalry (US) left the Big Springs near Cassville, Missouri, on an expedition to Fayetteville. Their orders were to guard a …