Civil War

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Entries - Entry Category: Civil War - Starting with O

Oil Trough Bottom, Skirmish at

The second Union army occupation of Batesville (Independence County) began on December 25, 1863, with the quiet entry of Colonel Robert Livingston’s command consisting of the First Nebraska Cavalry, Second Arkansas Cavalry, Eleventh Missouri Cavalry, and some smaller units. Livingston’s orders were to “keep the peace,” but he was surrounded by mobile Confederate units that knew the area well, led by General Dandridge McRae, Captain Thomas R. Freeman, and Captain George Rutherford, among others. The forces Livingston sent out from Batesville were mostly detachments to protect foraging wagons and larger “scouts” to patrol the area, gathering information and attacking the small Confederate units and bands of brigands when they could. On March 15, 1864, Major Lewis Pace was sent from …

Okolona, Skirmishes at

aka: Battle of the Bees
  The Skirmishes at Okolona were fought as Confederate cavalry under Joseph O. Shelby harassed the rear of Major General Frederick Steele’s Union army as it moved into southwest Arkansas during the Camden Expedition of 1864, marking the first serious resistance to Steele’s advance. Steele led his army from Little Rock (Pulaski County) on March 23, planning to link up with another Union army under Nathaniel Banks at Shreveport, Louisiana, and conquer the cotton-rich country of eastern Texas. The Federal army arrived at Arkadelphia (Clark County) on March 29 and waited for John Thayer’s Frontier Division out of Fort Smith (Sebastian County) before continuing south and camping at Spoonville (Pike County) on April 1. At around noon the next day, …

Old River Lake, Engagement at

aka: Engagement at Ditch Bayou
aka: Engagement at Lake Chicot
aka: Engagement at Lake Village
aka: Engagement at Furlough
aka: Engagement at Fish Bayou
aka: Engagement at Grand Lake
On June 6, 1864, Union and Confederate forces clashed along the southern shore of Lake Chicot near Lake Village (Chicot County). The engagement at Old River Lake (also known as Ditch Bayou) was the largest to occur in Chicot County and the last significant Civil War engagement in Arkansas. Union forces won the field but suffered higher casualties. By the end of 1863, Union forces controlled almost all traffic on the Mississippi River. Steamships were the primary sources of transportation. Gunboats protected fleets of troop transports moving up and down river. Their large cannons bombarded areas of Rebel activity along the river bank. Landing parties foraged for food and burned plantations. Local inhabitants lived in terror at the approach of …

Orient Ferry, Skirmish at

aka: Skirmish at Paroquet Bluff
The Skirmish at Orient Ferry took place when troops in the Fifteenth Texas Cavalry attacked elements of the Fifth Kansas Cavalry as they ferried their supply wagons across the Black River at Paroquet Bluff, located on the west side of the river above Jacksonport (Jackson County) during their drive to join Major General Samuel R. Curtis’s Army of the Southwest as it marched across eastern Arkansas toward Helena (Phillips County) on the Mississippi River. The bulk of the Fifth Kansas Cavalry left Rolla, Missouri, on June 17 to join the Army of the Southwest. The veteran Kansans traveled fast and light, leaving their wagons and stores to catch up. Captain William F. Creitz and Company A, soon joined by detachments …

Osage Branch of the Kings River, Affair on the

This Civil War engagement demonstrates the continued presence of small bands of semi-autonomous Confederate commands along the Arkansas-Missouri border and exhibits late-war atrocities committed against captured black Union soldiers and laborers. On April 16, 1864, a detachment numbering between twenty-six and thirty-six troopers from Company A of the Second Arkansas Cavalry (US), commanded by Sergeant Josiah Watts, foraged for supplies along the Osage Branch of the Kings River about twenty miles from their post at Berryville (Carroll County). Cooper’s Battalion of Brigadier General Stand Watie’s First Indian Brigade—commanded by Captain James Washington Cooper and variously estimated between eighty and 300 troopers—surprised and attacked the foraging party. Watts and his men initially repelled the rebel assault, charged twice, and briefly drove …

Osceola, Skirmish at

After losing most of his company (the Osceola Hornets, Company G of the Twenty-fifth Mississippi Infantry, later known as the Second Confederate Regiment) at the April 6–7, 1862, Battle of Shiloh in Tennessee, Captain Charles Bowen returned to Mississippi County in early 1863 with orders to seek new conscripts to supplement the dwindling Confederate ranks lost to sickness and death. Due to limited success with recruitment and Union control of the Mississippi River (making it difficult to cross), Bowen decided to remain in Mississippi County in order to protect lives and property from the rampant lawlessness that had compromised public safety and commercial activity in Osceola (Mississippi County) and the surrounding areas. Records indicate that he offered his resignation from …

Oxford Bend, Action at

aka: Action at McGuire's
As part of Major General Thomas C. Hindman’s initial attempt to threaten Fayetteville (Washington County) and gain control of northwestern Arkansas in fall 1862, this skirmish preceded the Battle of Prairie Grove by more than a month. At daylight on October 28, 1862, a combined force of approximately 1,000 men from Colonel James O. Gower’s First Iowa Cavalry and Colonel John F. Phillips’s Seventh Missouri State Militia Cavalry (US) of Brigadier General Francis J. Herron’s Army of the Frontier attacked a Confederate camp at Oxford Bend in Washington County, four miles east of Fayetteville. There, they engaged approximately 3,000 cavalrymen commanded by Colonel Jesse L. Cravens of Major General Thomas C. Hindman’s Trans-Mississippi Corps. Cravens’s brigade consisted of Bass’s Texas …

Ozark, Missouri, to Dubuque Crossing and Sugar Loaf Prairie, Scout from

The scouting expedition from Ozark, Missouri, to Dubuque Crossing (Boone County) and Sugar Loaf Prairie (Boone County) was conducted to determine whether any Confederate soldiers were threatening a detached outpost of the Second Arkansas Cavalry (US) at Ozark. Company D of the Second Arkansas Cavalry (US) was sent to man an outpost at Ozark, Missouri, in July 1864 and was “engaged in scouting through a rough country, guarding against a surprise by the enemy.” A detachment of one officer and twenty men was sent to Arkansas on August 23, 1864, on such a mission. The Arkansas troops ventured to Dubuque, then crossed the White River and went another ten miles to Sugar Loaf Prairie. Captain John C. Bailey reported to …

Ozark, Missouri, to Marion County, Expedition from

The weeklong expedition from Ozark, Missouri, into Marion County was a successful Union operation that resulted in the destruction of a major Confederate saltpeter manufacturing facility and the capture of forty-two Confederate soldiers. Captain Milton Burch of the Fourteenth Missouri State Militia left Ozark on December 9, 1862, with forty men from his regiment. They reached the Federal post at Lawrence’s Mill that evening and conferred with the officers based there, learning that Captain Jesse Mooney and seventy-five Confederate irregulars were camped at Talbot’s Ferry on the White River in Arkansas. Reinforced by sixty men of the Seventy-third Enrolled Missouri Militia, the expedition continued its march toward Arkansas. On the morning of December 11, the Federal column left the road …