Events

Entries - Entry Category: Events - Starting with R

Red River Campaign

The Red River Campaign involved a multipronged Union attack in southwest Arkansas and northwest Louisiana. The objectives—the capture of Texas to prevent Mexican Emperor Maximilian from threatening the region, the crippling of Confederate resistance west of the Mississippi, and the seizure of cotton land—failed as outnumbered Confederates maximized positions to repel the invasion. Afterwards, Confederate morale improved, bolstering further resistance in the Trans-Mississippi and prolonging the war. Under Union General-in-Chief Henry Halleck’s plan, Major General Nathaniel P. Banks would march from west of New Orleans, link with Rear Admiral David Porter’s Mississippi Squadron on the Red River and infantry troops from east of the Mississippi River, and coordinate their movement into northwest Louisiana while Brigadier General Frederick Steele pushed south …

Reed’s Mountain, Skirmish at

The series of maneuvers and skirmishes that took place on Reed’s Mountain on December 4–7, 1862, with the primary skirmish on December 6, relate directly to the aftermath of the Engagement at Cane Hill and serve as a prelude to the Battle of Prairie Grove. After his tactical victory at Cane Hill (Washington County) on November 28, Major General Thomas C. Hindman hoped to rely on Reed’s Mountain to slow a persistent Federal pursuit and conceal his planned attack against the separated portions of the Army of the Frontier. Therefore, on December 3, Hindman ordered Brigadier General John S. Marmaduke to prepare a defensive stand, anchored at the approaches to the Cove Creek and Wire roads. Information gathered through reconnaissance …

Remount Camp, Skirmish at

Brigadier General Joseph O. Shelby assumed command of all Confederate forces north of the Arkansas River beginning in late May 1864. Union control of the Arkansas River and the capital at Little Rock (Pulaski County) effectively isolated Shelby from the secessionist state government and most Confederate fighting forces in the southwest corner of the state. Three years of warfare had taken its toll; poverty and devastation were rampant in Arkansas’s northern counties, and the area was full of deserters from both armies. Civilians who did not or could not flee their homes teetered on the verge of starvation, as passing Union and Confederate forces pressed the common citizens for supply and forage, while roving guerrilla bands freely plundered whatever was …

Richland Creek, Skirmish at (August 16, 1864)

A running battle in northwestern Arkansas, this skirmish was typical of Federal efforts to keep guerrillas from establishing a foothold in the area. On August 15, 1864, Colonel Marcus LaRue Harrison of the First Arkansas Cavalry (US) ordered Lieutenant Colonel Albert Bishop to lead an expedition against a band of bushwhackers operating near Fayetteville (Washington County) under the command of Tuck Smith. Departing at 1:00 a.m. the next morning, the Federals moved eastward and found signs of enemy activity about thirteen miles outside Fayetteville. Around 7:00 a.m., the unit approached a home on Richland Creek. Between ten and fifteen horses were tied up there. The guerrilla riders were inside eating breakfast, and the Union troops surprised the entire group, causing …

Richland Creek, Skirmishes at (April 13–14, 1864)

These separate Civil War skirmishes over two days in northern Arkansas were part of a Federal effort to keep Confederate forces from organizing in the area. By attacking guerrilla bands, Union troops were able to disrupt enemy efforts severely. Captain Samuel Turner of the Sixth Missouri State Militia (US) led a patrol along Richland Creek in April 1864. Finding evidence of enemy activity in the area, he located a guerrilla camp under the command of a Captain Watkins. Attacking the camp, which numbered about sixty-three people, the Federals completely surprised the enemy, killing five, including Watkins. Several others were wounded, and one Confederate was captured. The next day, several guerrilla bands numbering more than 100 joined forces. These groups were …

Richland Creek, Skirmishes at (May 3 and 5, 1864)

 In March 1864, six companies and the headquarters of the Federal Second Arkansas Cavalry commanded by Colonel John E. Phelps were transferred from Cassville, Missouri, to Yellville (Marion County) to suppress Confederate guerrillas who were raiding southern Missouri. Other companies of the regiment were left at Berryville (Carroll County) in Arkansas, and Cassville and Springfield in Missouri. In addition to protecting Missouri, the Federals hoped that troops stationed in the northern tier of Arkansas counties would encourage Arkansas Unionists in the area to organize home-guard companies for protection. Immediately after being assigned to Yellville, however, headquarters were moved to Rolling Prairie (Boone County) in order to provide better forage for the horses. The camp was moved from time to time to …

Richland, Skirmish at

Providing enough food to the men assigned to them was difficult for the numerous Federal outposts spread across the Arkansas countryside late in the war. Gathering supplies could be dangerous work, as Union troops were vulnerable to enemy action while outside their heavily fortified outposts. This skirmish took place when Federal troops moved from Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) as an escort to a beef contractor. On December 24, 1864, Lieutenant Thomas Stevenson received orders to escort a beef contractor to the post commissary. Departing at 5:00 a.m., the escort consisted of nineteen men of the Fifth Kansas Cavalry and twenty men from the Thirteenth Illinois Cavalry. Leaving Pine Bluff, the Union troops moved toward Richland. Finding a bayou too deep …

Rodger’s Crossing, Skirmish at

aka: Skirmish at White River (September 14, 1864)
aka: Skirmish at Huntsville
On September 12, 1864, Colonel Marcus LaRue Harrison of the First Arkansas Cavalry (US), stationed in Fayetteville (Washington County), heard rumors that a Confederate group under Captain James Cooper intended to attack Union general John B. Sanborn’s train. Harrison ordered that Captain John I. Worthington escort the train to Little Sugar Creek and then move up the White River in the direction of Richland Creek and Huntsville (Madison County). Capt. Worthington attacked Capt. Cooper’s approximately eighty Confederate troops close to Jennings’ Ferry on the White River. The skirmishes that ensued toward Richland Creek and Huntsville saw nine Confederate deaths, with five suffered at the Skirmish at Rodger’s Crossing. On the same day as Worthington’s attack, a Confederate lieutenant called Rogers …

Rolling Prairie, Skirmish at

In early 1864, the northern tier of Arkansas counties of Carroll, Searcy, Newton, and Izard had been decimated by the war. This area had become a haven for jayhawkers and bushwhackers from both armies. Union general John B. Sanborn wrote to General W. S. Rosecrans in early February 1864 that 1,200 to 2,000 Confederate soldiers and bushwhackers had gathered in the aforementioned counties and were contemplating a raid into Missouri, with a view of capturing Federal trains and supplies. Sanborn then ordered 200 men of the First Arkansas Cavalry, 200 men of the Second Arkansas Cavalry, and 200 men of the Eighth Missouri State Militia Cavalry into Newton County, then to march so that they would arrive at Rolling Prairie …

Roseville, Skirmishes at

In late March 1864, Companies D and E of the Second Kansas Cavalry, led by Captain John Gardner of Company E, were dispatched from their post at Jenny Lind (Sebastian County) to protect Union supplies and a cache of cotton at Roseville (Logan County). Roseville, which was at that time in Franklin County, was an important port on the Arkansas River, forty-five miles southeast of Fort Smith (Sebastian County). The companies either joined or were joined by Company D of the Sixth Kansas Cavalry, making a force of about 200 men. At about the same time, Confederate brigadier general Samuel Bell Maxey ordered Colonel Nicholas Battle to take a detachment of 400 to 500 men of his Thirtieth Texas Cavalry …

Ross’ Landing, Skirmish at

  Early in 1864, Chicot County witnessed an event that characterized the increasingly brutal nature of warfare in the Trans-Mississippi Department during the last full year of the Civil War. On February 14, 1864, twenty-two self-described “half bushwhackers” from Captain W. N. “Tuck” Thorp’s Company E of the Ninth Missouri Cavalry (Elliott’s Scouts, serving as the advance of Brigadier General Joseph O. Shelby’s brigade and sometimes called the First Missouri Cavalry Battalion) surprised and attacked a detachment of the First Mississippi Infantry (African Descent) under First Lieutenant Thaddeus K. Cock on the Johnson family’s Tecumseh plantation near Grand Lake. While patrolling near Lake Village (Chicot County), Capt. Thorp’s men learned from an unidentified citizen that a detachment of black Union soldiers from …