Events

Entries - Entry Category: Events - Starting with H

Haguewood Prairie, Skirmish at

By late September 1863, Little Rock (Pulaski County) had just fallen to Union forces, and Arkansas Confederate forces were in disarray. Surrendering the state capital with little more than token resistance, the Rebel forces moved the seat of government to Washington (Hempstead County), leaving Union forces in control of most of the state north of the Arkansas River. Colonel Joseph Shelby proposed a raid into his native state of Missouri. His commanding general, John Marmaduke, saw little chance of success but backed Shelby nevertheless, hoping that the diversion would slow Union general Frederick Steele’s further advance, as well as rally the discouraged Southern sympathizers. On September 22, 1863, Shelby and 600 troops filed through Arkadelphia (Clark County) past Missouri Confederate …

Hahn’s Farm, Skirmish at

aka: Skirmish at Waldron
Positioned on the western border of Arkansas and south of the strategically important Fort Smith (Sebastian County), Scott County saw a significant amount of activity during the Civil War. The Attack on Waldron occurred on December 29, 1863, leaving several dead and wounded. Other activity in Scott County included troops traveling through to other destinations, scouting, and foraging expeditions. Brigadier General John M. Thayer received orders by telegraph from the Assistant Adjunct General of Little Rock (Pulaski County), Lieutenant Colonel W. D. Green, to have a detachment from Little Rock met by Federal troops from Fort Smith. He sent troops south from Fort Smith to pass through Scott County en route to Dallas (Polk County). On June 17, 1864, Lieutenant …

Harrison’s Landing, Skirmish at

  Shortly after completion of a successful expedition along the White and Little Red rivers, which resulted in the destruction of a Confederate warehouse and a pontoon bridge, along with the capture of two steamers, Union forces were again dispatched upon White River transports on a reconnaissance mission. On August 16, 1863, a force consisting of portions of the Thirty-second Iowa Infantry and the Thirteenth Illinois Cavalry boarded transports docked at Clarendon (Monroe County) and headed down the White River to Harrison’s Landing. The force, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Gustavus Eberhart, arrived at the landing at about nightfall. Upon disembarking from the transports, the Union force was fired upon by hidden Confederates. At about 2:00 a.m. on August 17, Major …

Hatch’s Ferry, Skirmish at

By late May 1864, Brigadier General Joseph O. Shelby was in command of all Confederate forces north of the Arkansas River and was tasked with recruiting a fighting force from the local populace. Over the next three months, Shelby bolstered his command from an estimated 1,200 men in early May to more than 7,000, and his success in frustrating Union garrisons and supply lines along the White River prompted Union command at Little Rock (Pulaski County) to launch several expeditions to neutralize him. During the summer, Shelby established his headquarters at Jacksonport (Jackson County) and set about harassing railroad lines and plantations being used to supply Union forces. In mid-July, Colonel Thomas H. McCray and his brigade made a successful …

Hay Station No. 3, Skirmish at

aka: Skirmish at Brownsville (July 30, 1864)
This brief Civil War engagement took place during the summer of 1864 in eastern Arkansas. This area saw much action during this period, most notably by Joseph O. Shelby and his Confederate cavalry. This engagement, however, was not part of that action. Hay stations were important Federal outposts along the railroad line in eastern Arkansas. The army needed vast quantities of hay on a daily basis to feed the thousands of animals it required. Union commanders in Little Rock (Pulaski County) established small fortified outposts along the railroad to meet several needs. These outposts were tasked with protecting the nearby railroad and disrupting Confederate operations in the area. The outposts were also responsible for growing large amounts of hay to …

Helena Expedition (March 5–12, 1863)

aka: St. Francis River Expedition
aka: Little River Expedition
Traveling up the St. Francis River from Helena (Phillips County) on March 5, 1863, Colonel Powell Clayton’s command moved into the Little River in Poinsett County, dispersing Confederates along the way and seeking the steamer Miller. The Union forces engaged the Confederates traveling upriver at Madison (St. Francis County), found the sunken Miller, and engaged Confederates north of, and again in, Madison while traveling back downriver. Overall, Clayton’s expedition took a number of prisoners and supplies that Confederates could not afford to lose in this region. With a firm hold on Helena, state-level Union leadership focused on the wearing down of Confederate resistance in Arkansas, but commanders in occupied cities like Helena had to remain aware of the immediate area. …

Helena, Affairs at

A pair of brief engagements near the Federal outpost of Helena (Phillips County), these actions demonstrate just how dangerous serving in Arkansas was for Union troops. After the Battle of Pea Ridge in March 1862, the Federal Army of the Southwest moved across southern Missouri and northern Arkansas in an effort to take Little Rock (Pulaski County). Unable to do so, the Union troops eventually took Helena on the Mississippi River and held the town for the remainder of the war. Deep in enemy territory, the Federals in Helena worked hard to establish defensive positions and regularly launched patrols into the surrounding countryside to gather intelligence on Confederate troops in the area. On December 13, 1862, twenty-six men of Company …

Helena, Battle of

The Confederate attack on the Mississippi River town of Helena (Phillips County) was, for the size of the forces engaged (nearly 12,000), as desperate a fight as any in the Civil War, with repeated assaults on heavily fortified positions similar to the fighting that was to be seen in 1864 in General Ulysses Grant’s overland campaign in Virginia and General William T. Sherman’s Atlanta, Georgia, campaign. It was the Confederates’ last major offensive in Arkansas (besides cavalry raids and the repulse of the Camden Expedition) and the last Confederate attempt to seize a potential choke point on the Mississippi. But the Battle of Helena has been little noted and not long remembered because it was fought the day the Confederate …

Helena, Expedition from (November 14–17, 1863)

  On November 14–17, 1863, Union forces sent a small expedition along the Mississippi River to gauge Confederate strength around Helena (Phillips County). The fighting that ensued is typical of the combat that both sides engaged in during this period. On the evening of November 14, 1863, a detachment of the Tenth Illinois Cavalry under the command of Major Eagleton Carmichael departed Helena on the steamer Hamilton Belle. The steamer first patrolled along the Mississippi side of the river, before halting for the night. The next morning, the steamer continued to patrol and troops disembarked at the house of a man named Gillen. There, the Federals captured a member of the Third Arkansas Cavalry and a commissary sergeant, as well as …

Helena, Skirmish at (September 19–20, 1862)

A small and inconsequential action, the September 19–20, 1862, Skirmish at Helena is typical of the war fought around Helena (Phillips County) after that city’s capture by Federal troops. Following the capture of Helena by the Federal Army of the Southwest in July 1862, Confederate leaders in Little Rock (Pulaski County) continued to fear that an attack on the capital would be launched from the Mississippi River port town of Helena. With few troops available to defend Little Rock, Texas cavalry units were tasked with harassing the Union troops in Helena and gathering information about the enemy. A brigade under the command of Colonel William Henry Parsons was the only unit available to perform these tasks and soon began attacking …

Helena, Skirmishes near (October 11, 1862)

aka: Battle of Jones's Lane
aka: Battle of Lick Creek
aka: Battle of Shell Creek
As Confederate cavalry harassed the Federal forces occupying Helena (Phillips County), the Union troops slowly began to learn how to fight back effectively. The October 11, 1862, Skirmish at Helena saw an initial Confederate success but ended with an overwhelming Federal victory. Confederate cavalry were tasked with patrolling around Helena and observing the enemy after the Union Army of the Southwest captured the city in July 1862. The Confederates were part of a brigade of Texas cavalry under the command of Colonel William Henry Parsons. As part of the brigade, the Twenty-first Texas Cavalry under the command of Lieutenant Colonel DeWitt Clinton Giddings was tasked with scouting near the city in October 1862. Giddings decided to lead the scout on …

Hickory Plains, Skirmish at

This skirmish was part of a larger expedition launched to gather information and destroy Confederate supplies north of the Arkansas River. Several Confederate forces, including troops under Brigadier General Joseph Shelby, operated in this area during the summer of 1864. Federal forces used expeditions like this one to gather intelligence. In August 1864, Federal commanders in Little Rock learned about Confederate cavalry operating near the Little Red River in north-central Arkansas. Brigadier General Joseph West received orders to lead a force of Union cavalry to capture or disperse these troops. Divided into two provisional brigades, the force was stationed at both Little Rock (Pulaski County) and DeValls Bluff (Prairie County). West departed the capital city with one brigade, while a …

Hickory Station, Skirmish at

This brief engagement occurred on the Little Rock and DeVall’s Bluff section of the Memphis and Little Rock Railroad and was one of the final Civil War engagements in Arkansas. On the morning of April 2, 1865, Captain Michael F. Mayberry led twenty-six men from Company D of Colonel Charles H. Carlton’s Regiment of Arkansas Cavalry in an attack against the railroad approximately four miles from Hickory Station, located in what is now Lonoke County. Mayberry’s men removed two rails, as well as the spikes from eight or nine additional rails, all of which caused the morning train to derail, except for the passenger car. Captain Richard C. Custard (who served previously in Arkansas as a sergeant with the Third …

Hill’s Plantation, Action at

aka: Action at Cache River
aka: Action at Cotton Plant
aka: Action at Round Hill
The major Confederate attempt to halt General Samuel Curtis’s march across northeast Arkansas and destroy his army took place near the Cache River in July 1862. The Confederates were decisively defeated, allowing Curtis to proceed on to Clarendon (Monroe County) and ultimately to Helena (Phillips County), where he resupplied his army. The Federals turned Helena into an important river base and held the town for the rest of the war. Troops from Helena captured Little Rock (Pulaski County) the following year. In the summer of 1862, Union Major General Samuel R. Curtis led the Army of the Southwest through northeast Arkansas in an attempt to capture Little Rock. Facing shortages and a supply line stretching to Rolla, Missouri, Curtis decided …

Hopefield, Burning of

This punitive expedition relates to Union army 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 war. The decision to burn the village of Hopefield (Crittenden County), directly across the Mississippi River from Memphis, had roots in events initiated in January 1863, including a similar expedition conducted against Mound City (Crittenden County). In early January, under orders from Trans-Mississippi Department commander Lieutenant General Theophilus H. Holmes, Captain James H. McGehee led his unattached company of Arkansas cavalry on an extended raid through Crittenden County with orders to scout the …

Huntersville, Skirmish at

A brief and unimportant clash between small units, this skirmish is a great example of the majority of fighting that took place in the state in the latter half of 1864 and afterward. With the conclusion of the Camden Expedition in the spring of 1864, Union forces under the command of Major General Frederick Steele returned to the Little Rock (Pulaski County) area. Camping in numerous forts and other fortifications constructed in the area, the Federal troops rarely launched major offensive operations in Arkansas for the remainder of the war. However, in an effort to keep Confederate forces off balance, Federals did patrol regularly. These patrols engaged enemy forces when they encountered them and prevented the Confederates from launching major …

Huntsville Massacre

In the midst of the Civil War, on January 10, 1863, nine men were taken from a guardhouse and led to a field on the Samuel P. Vaughn farm about one mile northeast of Huntsville (Madison County), where they were shot by Union soldiers on the bank of Vaughn’s Branch near the road that led to Carrollton (Carroll County). One survived. Although the reason for the execution may never be known, it may have been in response to the ambush of a Union army escort and the mistreatment of the daughters of Isaac Murphy by locals. Isaac Murphy was elected in 1861 to the Secession Convention from Madison County on the Unionist platform, receiving eighty-five percent of the vote and …

Hurricane Creek, Skirmish at

aka: Skirmish at Hunter's Crossing
The Skirmish at Hurricane Creek was a Civil War battle fought on October 23, 1864, at Hunter’s Crossing, two miles south of present-day Bryant in Saline County. Confederate forces ambushed a Union cavalry force on its return to Little Rock (Pulaski County) from a raid on Princeton (Dallas County). On October 19, Major George Avery’s Union cavalry command left Little Rock and proceeded to Princeton in order to capture and destroy weapons reportedly stored there. On October 21, they were met near Tulip (Dallas County) by the advance pickets of Colonel John L. Logan’s cavalry, resulting in constant skirmishing until reaching Princeton. Here, the Confederates were pushed south of town approximately two miles. The Union forces returned to Princeton, where …