October 21, 1861
Howell A. “Doc” Rayburn joined the Confederate army when he enlisted in Company C, Twelfth Texas Cavalry. The regiment moved to Des Arc (Prairie County) in March 1862 and prepared to board steamers that were to carry them to Mississippi. When the regiment departed, they left Rayburn behind with a fever. In 1863, after a long recovery from his illness, he began recruiting local youths to form a guerrilla band. For the next two years, Rayburn and his band were a nuisance to Union military authorities, attacking scouting and foraging parties. In at least one such attack near West Point, Rayburn’s men donned Union uniforms and took their enemy by surprise. Numerous expeditions were mounted to capture Rayburn, but none were successful.