My loss was one taken prisoner by the enemy and twelve wounded, all of them of company
K., 9th Illinois cavalry.
I am very respectfully,
ALBERT G. BRACKETT, Col. 9th Ills. Cav., Com'd'g.
Although the army had fallen back from Little Red River to the vicinity of Batesville, the
intention to capture Little Rock was not abandoned. At first it was hoped that supplies and
reinforcements would be received overland from Missouri, and that, as soon as the roads became
passable, the army might advance. But the difficulties of the Searcy route were made evident,
and it was not likely that the army would be able to move on the rebel capital over the ground
they had already occupied on Little Red River.
But at this time the city of Memphis had been captured and was occupied by a large Union
force. The national gunboats controlled the Mississippi from Cairo to Vicksburg, and it was
hoped that they would soon be able to penetrate the White and Arkansas Rivers, and ascend to
Jacksonport and Little Rock. The Mississippi, which, upon the arrival of the army at Batesville,
had spread itself for miles over the low alluvial country east of Jacksonport, had resumed its
ordinary channels, and with a view to changing his base of operations either to Memphis, on the
Mississippi, or to Jacksonport, Augusta, Des Arc, Duvall's Bluff, or some other point on White
River, Curtis had directed reconnaissances down the latter stream soon after the return from
Little Red River he hoped, if possible, to make Duvall's Bluff a base of operations. Halleck, and
the chief quartermaster in St. Louis had telegraphed information to Curtis, that five light draught
steamboats, loaded with supplies and convoyed by gunboats and a large force under command of Col. Graham N. Fitch had left Memphis and would ascend White River to Jacksonport. Curtis
was directed to telegraph immediately of their arrival, to which he replied, that he would be very
happy to do so when that event occurred. But intelligence was received of the failure of the
expedition. A terrible land and naval engagement had occurred at St. Charles, on White River,
resulting in a federal victory and the capture of the rebel fort. But the gunboats had been injured,
and the steam drum of the Mound City had been penetrated by a shot and the crew, terribly
scalded by the escaping steam, had either died on the boat or leaped into the water, where many
of them were shot by the merciless rebel marksmen. In consequence of these injuries, the
expedition had returned to Memphis. But it was proposed to renew the attempt to reach
Jacksonport with the fleet, and the expedition was refitted under Col. Fitch, and again advanced
up White River.
It became necessary for the army of Curtis to advance and meet the expedition. Jacksonport
was re-occupied by the Union troops, and the pontoon bridge was laid over Black River,
affording means for the entire army to cross. General Cadwallader C. Washburn's command,
Col. Bell's 13th regiment of Illinois cavalry, Col. Clayton's 5th Kansas cavalry, and all other
troops belonging to the army, and which had hitherto been in Missouri, were ordered to the front.
The troops were rapidly transferred from Batesville to Jacksonport. On June 25th, Curtis,
with most of the remaining troops, moved from the former and arrived at the latter place. A
small garrison, under Lieut. Col. W. D. Washburn, was left for a few days at Batesville, but it
was immediately menaced by a superior rebel force, and the Union picket at Heath's Perry was
attacked and one man was killed. Col. Washburn fortified himself in the court house and jail and
prepared to defend his position. Meanwhile most of the sick of the army were placed in
ambulances, on beds of cotton, and removed to Jacksonport, and those who were too sick to be
moved in this manner were placed upon flat boats and floated in safety down White River to the
same point. When the removal of the sick had been accomplished, Col. Washburn was ordered
with his command to join the army. On June 30th he evacuated Batesville, and on the 2d of July
the 15th regiment of rebel Texans occupied the town and destroyed the Union telegraphic
communication with St. Louis, which had been maintained until the last moment by our army.
Curtis had now become satisfied that he would be compelled to move down White River as
far as Augusta or Clarendon to meet the gunboat expedition, of which he could learn nothing. In
case he did not meet the gunboats he would endeavor to reach Helena. Halleck had hitherto
directed the army to await the arrival of the gunboats. At the last moment, having learned the
inability of Fitch to reach the army, he sanctioned the plan of Curtis and directed the latter to
move down White River until he should meet the fleet from below.
With the evacuation of Batesville and the removal of the army to Jacksonport, terminated the
second grand movement of the army of the South-West. It had hitherto occupied positions far
advanced into the enemy's country, first at Pea Ridge, and afterwards at Batesville, but resting
upon the distant and insecure bases of Rolla and Pilot Knob. It was now to revolutionize its lines
of communication, and after a long march receive its supplies from almost directly in front. It
must pass through the enemy's country, and cease to communicate by land with loyal territory. It
had advanced so far into Arkansas, that its most available assistance must come from the
Mississippi River. The last overland supplies enough it was hoped, for subsistence until a
meeting with the fleet of Fitch, were received at Jacksonport. For a time all communication with
loyal territory would cease. The army of the South-West would have no base of operations. It
was attempting a new and dangerous movement, and one which had not hitherto been
undertaken during the war. Surrounded by hostile territory, it must live entirely on its own
resources and the country through which it might pass, until it should reach the gunboats on the
White or the Mississippi Rivers.
The first object of the army of the South-West had been the expulsion of the rebel armies
from Missouri, and this object had been attained. The secondary object, the capture of Little
Rock and the restoration of Arkansas to the Union had not thus far been accomplished. That it
had not been done was due to the removal of the greater portion of the best troops to the army at
Corinth, to impassable roads swollen streams, and to the great difficulties which must at any
time attend an overland campaign from Missouri over a long road and through a primitive
country, without the aids of railroads or navigable rivers, and which difficulties had been greatly
increased by the hot and sickly season which had now arrived. It was hoped that a change of
base to some point on lower White River, or on the Mississippi, might result in easier movement,
by river and railroad, greater safety to the army, and the earlier capture of the rebel State capital.
But other important objects had been attained. By standing in the enemy's country in advance
of Missouri, the army of the South-West had long protected that State from invasion, and
assisted in more firmly riveting the ties which bound it to the Union. At the same time, by
occupying the attention of the enemy west of the Mississippi, forcing him to ceaseless vigilance
and the holding of forces in Arkansas to protect his country from further invasion, valuable
co-operation and assistance was rendered to Halleck, then conducting the important operations in the vicinity of Corinth. A large number of organized troops that would otherwise have reinforced Beauregard, were detained in Arkansas to operate against the army of the South-West, while the presence of a hostile force prevented the conscription of a vast number of men into the rebel army. The enemy was thus disabled from rallying and concentrating so overwhelming a force east of the Mississippi, as he might otherwise have done. The army of Halleck was possibly saved from the slaughter of a second Shiloh, while the paralysis of rebellion in Arkansas materially weakened its power in other quarters.
MARCH OF THE ARMY FROM JACKSONPORT TO HELENA—ENGAGEMENTS—
ROUND HILL—TERMINATION OF THE CAMPAIGN.
The army had now arrived at Jacksonport. Composed almost entirely of raw and
inexperienced troops, it had left Rolla and Otterville in mid-winter, traveled through a wild,
desolate and mountainous country, in snow, mud, rain and frost over swollen streams and rough
roads, through all inclement exposure, to Pea Ridge and Cross Timbers. With the advent of
spring, crossing the Ozark to the east, and turning south, it had penetrated the interior of
Arkansas. It had become an army of veterans. Now, in mid-summer, it was to commence its two
weeks tiresome march through a country widely different from any previously traversed. A low,
alluvial country, mainly in the vicinity of large streams, with huge, rank forests, cavernous
cypress swamps, vast fields of cotton and corn, canebrakes and plantations. Water would be
often difficult to obtain. The weary soldier, thirsty and footsore, would now encounter the
withering heat of a sun almost tropical in intensity. He would contend perhaps at the same time
with hunger, thirst, and the diseases incident to a southern latitude and malarious country, and
with a powerful rebel soldiery, inured to the climate, fighting on their own soil and in a region
with which they were well acquainted, and struggling for imaginary rights and delusive
prospects of victory, with all the ardor of real patriots defending a just cause from wrongful
Eastward of Batesville the road soon left the region of rolling, wooded hills, and entered the
low, alluvial valley of White River. From Jacksonport to Helena, the country traversed was in all
its essential features the same. A rich, rank soil existed throughout the region of bottom lands
between White River and the Mississippi; a soil which was capable of the finest cultivation, and
which constituted the best cotton region of Arkansas. The evergreen and "black jack" or scrub
oak woods of the Ozark, were followed by the cypress swamp and canebrake; the hardier
vegetation of the hills by the thicker and richer luxuriance of southern low-land forests The
Virginia creeper, the wild passion flower, "Hercules club," prickly pear, cyprus, cane, pecan,
China, white mulberry, live oak, chincapin, and magnolia trees marked the approach to a warmer
On arriving in Jacksonport, Curtis established his headquarters in a large frame dwelling
formerly the headquarters of Van Dorn. Jacksonport, situated at the junction of White and Black
rivers, was an in-looking village of strong rebel proclivities. In former times, as the virtual head
of navigation on White River, it had been a place of considerable commercial importance. But it
was now nearly deserted save by the spiteful and malignant rebel women. All commerce was
dead, while the wreck of a large steamboat, sunk in the channel opposite the town, seemed a
monument of bygone prosperity under the old Union.
During the five days of occupancy by our army, the rebels made repeated attempts to burn
the town, all the time asserting it to be the work of the vandal "feds." They so far succeeded as to
destroy a large frame livery stable and several adjoining buildings.
On June 27th a foraging party from the 3d Iowa cavalry, with a train of wagons, was attacked
by a large force of rebels at " Stewart's Plantation," in Jackson County. Colonel Brackett, with
one battalion of his regiment, was sent as a reinforcement. His report of the engagement is as
HEADQUARTERS 9TH REG. ILLS CAV., CAMP, ON VILLAGE CREEK,
JACKSON COUNTY, ARK., June 28, 1862
Yesterday afternoon I received orders from Gen. Steele to send a force down White River to
re-inforce the 3d battalion of my regiment, which I had sent out under Maj. Wallis on a foraging
expedition, the train of the post quartermaster having been attacked by the enemy. Accordingly I
started with the 2d battalion of my regiment, and shortly after overtook my train, which was
returning without corn. I caused the train to go back, and joined both of my battalions together.
At Stewart's plantation I learned that the enemy was near by, and I determined to attack him.
When a mile beyond Stewart's plantation, which is about six miles from this place, my
advance guard, under Capt. Knight, came suddenly upon the enemy, and the fight commenced in
earnest. I sent my company forward, one after another, amid a continuous blaze of fire from the
enemy, who were strongly posted among the trees and on the edge of a swamp I tried several
times to charge them, but they were so well posted, and the underbrush was so thick, that I was
unable to do so, notwithstanding my men were close upon them. some of them being within fifty
I fought them in this way for at least half an hour, when seeing that I could not force them
from their position, as they outnumbered me greatly, and it being dark, I gave orders to move
back to a large cornfield, where I knew if they followed me I could cripple them, as they would
not there have the advantage of their cover.
I got my men out in the order, and upon reaching the turn in the main road halted, but the
enemy had been so severely handled that they made no attempt to follow It was now quite dark,
when seeing nothing further could be done, I returned to this camp. As I left the woods the
enemy retreated, leaving their dead men lying on the road, and to-day they have sent in a flag of
truce to obtain permission to bury them.
On my way in, I met an artillery and infantry force going out under Brig. Gen. Benton, but it
was too dark for him to travel, and he halted.
My officers and men are entitled to great praise, and fought with the most perfect coolness
and determination. I had with me Majs. Humphrey and Wallis, (wounded,) Capts. Gifford,
Chidister, Knight, (wounded,) Cameron, Blakemore, and Booth; Adj. Stevenson; Battalion Adj.
Blackburn, (wounded,) Lieuts. Harrington, Shear, Ellsworth, Bayley and Shattuck, all of the 9th
My guide, William McCulloch, Sergeant Maj. Price, Bat. Sergt. Majs. Knight and Roberts,
and chief bugler Fritson, also behaved admirably.
I was struck with a rifle ball in the breast, which sickened me for a time, but I soon recovered
from its effects sufficiently to give orders.
My wounded men were well cared for by Surgeon James W. Brackett and Asst. Surg.
Charles Brackett, for which they have my thanks.
My loss was thirty-three officers and men killed and wounded. Seven horses killed and
twenty-four wounded The loss to the enemy, under Col. Matlock, was severe.
I am sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
ALBERT G. BRACKETT, Col. 9th Ills. Cav.
To Capt. J. W. Paddock, Asst. Adj. Gen. Steele's Div., Curtis' Army.
In the 3d Iowa cavalry foraging party, one officer and three men were killed and four men
wounded. Five dead rebels were seen on the field.
In consequence of the attack upon this foraging party, and to prevent future mishaps the
General issued the following order, which also compliments Lieut. Col. Cramer, and which was
intended to prevent rapine and useless devastation on the line of march soon after followed by
the army. But in the hurried movements of our troops through a hostile region, it was impossible
always to prevent the destruction of property. Houses and cotton gins would inflame and be
consumed apparently by spontaneous combustion, and the incendiaries were never discovered.
Pressed by vigilant enemies and hurried by the necessity of reaching some point communicating
with supply depots, commanders found little time to devote to police regulations.
The rebels themselves burned all cotton on the line of march. At every plantation a
smouldering heap or the remains of blackened bales, attested how well they obeyed their
instructions to permit none of it to fall into the hands of the Union forces. It would have been of
no use to an army with the march before it which the army of the South-West had undertaken.
The responsibility for burned houses, by common report among soldiers, seemed principally to
attach to the German Division of Osterhaus, but it is probable that other troops were equally if
not more culpable.
HEADQUARTERS, ARMY OF THE SOUTH-WEST
JACKSONPORT, ARK., June 28, 1862.
1. The official reports having been but recently received of the skirmish near Searcey, on the
14th of May, utlimo, the General Commanding is thus late in calling attention to the gallant
conduct exhibited on that occasion by Lieut. Col. F. Cramer, of the 17th Missouri infantry. Col
Cramer had command of the reinforcements, which he conducted in a military and successful
manner, driving the enemy and relieving our friends.
II. Officers sending foraging expeditions beyond the outer pickets, will see that they are
accompanied by strong escorts, if possible with howitzers or other artillery, properly commanded
and instructed. The commander of the escort will in all cases exercise great precaution against
surprise, keeping out advance, rear, and where possible, flank guards while on the march, posting
videttes while loading the train, and at all times keeping the main body of the escort together and
on the alert.
III It is reiterated that any officer or soldier of this army, detecting a citizen or a soldier in the
act of setting fire to any building, or out-building, or cotton in bales or in the gin, or destroying
record books, or personal property of value of any sort, is hereby authorized and commanded to
fire upon him at once.
By command of Maj. Gen. Curtis.
H. Z. CURTIS, Asst. Adjt. Gen.
It was the plan of Curtis to move rapidly down the east bank of White River and, if possible,
to effect a junction with the gunboat flotilla on lower White River. The stream had fallen so low
that steamboats could not reach Jacksonport. It was hoped that they might be found at Augusta,
thirty-five miles below. If not found at this point, it was contemplated to continue the march
down the river, and possibly to Helena on the Mississippi. Succeeding events directed the army
to the latter point.
The Mississippi being now in possession of the federal fleet as far down as Vicksburg, the
route by the east bank of White River offered considerable advantages. It had been reported as a
difficult if not impracticable route. The Cache River bottom which would necessarily be crossed,
was said to be impassable for heavy trains and artillery. But the advance on the west bank had
already been tested and was liable to similar objections. The enemy could receive no
considerable reinforcements from the east. Their force east of the river above Des Arc and in
front of Curtis, numbered about two regiments. On the west bank they could command a much
larger force, but the stream could not readily be crossed by any considerable number of troops
without boats or pontoons and these the rebels did not possess. The stream which had once
already served as a similar protection on the north to the rebels occupying the greater part of
Arkansas, would now constitute a defensive ditch on the west to the army of the South-West,
very difficult for the enemy to cross in large force, and behind which the army could in
comparative safety attain a position much nearer Little Rock, and open water communication
with Memphis and St. Louis.
Hindman issued a flaming proclamation setting forth that the Yankees under Curtis, no
longer able to maintain their position in Arkansas, were "in full retreat" to join their gunboats on
the Mississippi. "This might be prevented if every man would but do his duty; turn out with
every and all possible weapons, attack the invader in front and on the flank, hover upon his rear,
cut off his foraging parties and his stragglers, give him no rest and 'no quarter'! Let every tree
conceal a Confederate soldier, every canebrake prove a deadly ambush." The spiteful venom of
the proclamation was its distinguishing feature. The impotence and inability of Hindman to
execute his threats were well-known, and his words were devoid of terror to the veterans of Pea
Ridge The rapid movements of the army prevented any formidable concentration of the enemy
even had his force been sufficient to venture upon a general engagement.
The division of Steele had been encamped at the front south of Jacksonport. On the march
which ensued to Clarendon, Steele's division took the advance, and the division of Carr brought
up the rear, the division of Osterhaus occupying the centre. Headquarters of the Commanding
General, Quartermaster and Commissary trains, the Provost Marshal General's command and
troops attached to headquarters moving on the centre.
Two rebel regiments had been reported in the front. On July 2d, a Union force under Col.
Hovey and Lieut. Col. Wood, of the 1st Indiana cavalry, attacked and defeated a rebel force six
hundred strong, at "Pickets's farm." There was no Union loss. The enemy lost twelve killed.
On July 2d, Curtis left Jacksonport, and the army commenced its march. Many of the sick
were placed in the boats which had been brought down White River from Batesville. These
boats were guarded by a detachment of the 13th Illinois infantry, commanded by Capt.
Wadsworth. Three miles above Grand Glaze, on July 4th, the enemy fired on them from the
west bank of White River. The hospital flag was displayed, and the sick were exposed to view.
The enemy were told the nature of the craft, and as a last resort a surrender was proposed. But
the enemy paid no attention to these demonstrations, and continued firing volley after volley
into the boat. The vessel was run ashore and all that were able, escaped, but five or six of the
invalids were unable to leave their cots. These remained on the boat, which finally floated
beyond the range of rebel bullets. Several of the sick were wounded and one died of his
wounds. Such were the legitimate results of the barbarous system of warfare adopted by the
chivalric rebel Hindman.
After three days hot, dusty marching through huge forests and cypress swamps, past cotton
and corn-fields, and large plantations, Curtis arrived in Augusta on July 4th. A salute was fired in
honor of the day, and the Commanding General encamped in a grove on the river bank below the
town. The face of the country traversed, indicated the obedience shown by the population to the
laws of the so-styled Confederacy in relation to the cultivation of land. Cotton fields were
generally devoted to the cultivation of corn, and the usual ratio of the production of these staples
was probably reversed. Perhaps five acres of corn were being cultivated to one of cotton. The
rebels were endeavoring to make themselves independent in matters of subsistence.
At nearly every plantation on the line of march, there was to be seen, either a
smouldering pile of half-burned cotton, or the blackened traces of its conflagration, and
on the banks of White River were scattered the burnt fragments of bales destroyed by the
rebel gunboat Maurepas.
On the last day's march to Augusta, the army encountered two extensive barricades of
fallen timber, recently prepared by the rebels to obstruct the march of the Union army. A
way was, however, soon made through them, and a large number of slaves, who had been
compelled by their masters to aid in preparing these obstructions, were, by order of
General Curtis, confiscated as property, and set free. These "contrabands" followed the
army to Helena.
Thus far the line of march had been along, or near, White River. Hopes had been
entertained that the gunboats and transport fleet would reach Augusta, but on the arrival
at this town, no trace of them was apparent; they had not arrived, and no one knew
anything about them. To add to the feeling of disappointment, scouts from Pocahontas
brought late St. Louis papers containing the first discouraging news of McClellan's seven
days' fighting before Richmond. Fears were entertained that the army of McClellan was
either defeated or had been compelled to surrender.
The army remained at Augusta three days, but as nothing could be learned concerning
the gunboats, it became necessary to move still lower down White River to Clarendon,
where it was confidently expected the fleet would be found. The army was passing down
the east bank of White River. Cache River, running into White, below Augusta, caused an
immense cypress swamp, covering a large tract near its mouth. To avoid this swamp, a
detour to the east was necessary, leaving White River, and not again touching it before
reaching Clarendon. Des Arc and Duvall's Bluff, two towns on the west bank, garrisoned
by the rebels, would thus necessarily be avoided. The former, until recently, was in
telegraphic communication with Memphis. The latter was the terminus of the railroad to
Little Rock, and was garrisoned by a rebel force consisting of five regiments of Texan
Rangers one regiment of Arkansas cavalry, one regiment of Texas infantry, one battery of
six pieces, and two 42 pound guns.
On July 7th, Curtis left Augusta before daybreak, a conflagration in the town lighting
the road. Such things were of frequent occurrence during the remainder of the march to
Helena. After sixteen miles march the army bivouacked for the night in a thick forest near
the crossing of Cache. The rebels had here constructed the most formidable barricade and
abattis of fallen timber, encountered on the march, but after considerable labor, a way
was found around it, and the army crossed the Cache in safety.
In the latter part of this same day occurred the brilliant engagement of "Round Hill"
or "Bayou DeCache," a few miles beyond the crossing of Cache River.
The official reports furnish a correct history.
HEADQUARTERS SECOND BRIGADE,
GENERAL STEELE DIVISION, A. S. W., July 7, 1832.
Pursuant to orders, I directed Col. Harris, with parts of four companies of his
regiment, the eleventh Wisconsin infantry, and parts of four companies of the 33d Illinois
infantry, and one small steel gun of the 1st Indiana cavalry, in all a little less than four
hundred men, to make a reconnaissance in advance of our lines. He fell in with the rebel
pickets at Hill's plantation, and fired upon them. Passing the forks of the road at this place
towards Bayou De View, he had proceeded but a short distance, when I overtook him and
turned him back, with instructions to hasten down the Des Arc road, and, if possible,
rescue a prisoner just captured .He marched rapidly for half a mile, and fell into an
ambush. The woods swarmed with rebels, and the firing was terrific. I have since learned
that over two thousand Texas troops were here drawn up in line of battle. Capt. Miller led
our advance, and was immediately followed by 1st Lieut. Chesebro, both of whose
companies were deployed as skirmishers. These companies began the fight. The little
cannon was planted a short distance to the left of the road, and opened fire. The rebel
advance fell back on the main line, which was concealed by thick underbrush from our
men. Col. Harris pushed on his advance until they came within range, when suddenly the
enemy began a murderous fire. Our force, thus fiercely and unexpectedly assaulted, was
ordered to full back, and in executing this order fell into some little confusion. The
Rangers charged. Here Col. Harris was severely wounded, but still kept his horse, and
though fainting, fought. I had now reached the field. The rebels, a full regiment strong,
were charging at a gallop on the little steel gun which was left with Lieut. Denneman and
one man. All others were gone. Capt. Potter with his company here came to the rescue,
aided in limbering up, and withstood the charge of cavalry till the gun had fairly gained
the road, when it was taken in charge by Lieut. Partridge. Capt. Potter was seriously
I now ordered the gun up the road in haste, and the infantry into the corn-field. As the
rebels, confident of victory, came charging up the road at full speed, and in great force in
pursuit, the infantry fired. The rebel column hesitated, but moved on. Another volley, and
the ground was covered with their dead. Riderless horses rushed wildly in all directions.
The Rangers wavered and halted. The third fire completed their demoralization and
overthrow. They left as suddenly as they came, and in great disorder.
It was now certain that we had engaged a large force of well-armed men; how large it
was impossible to tell, nor did I know their strategy, or have any but the moat imperfect
idea of the topography of the adjacent grounds. It seemed prudent, therefore, to hold the
position already chosen, and which had proved to be a good one, and wait events. I soon
discovered a large cavalry free firing past in front of my position, but just beyond musket
range. When fully in front they halted, and ordered a charge. I could distinctly hear the
order: "Charge, charge on the corn field!" but for acme reason no charge was made. The
column was again put in motion, with the intent, as I supposed, to gain my rear and cut
off communication and reinforcements. Fortunately, the force which had been ordered
back from the first onset, was now in position to check this movement, and again the
rebels were forced to retreat.
Hardly had this movement failed, when I was apprised of an attempt to turn my left,
and immediately despatched Capt. Elliott and his company to thwart it. During these
shiftings of positions I could plainly see them caring for their dead and wounded, and
removing them, but to what extent, I have no means of telling. They now formed on their
original line of battle, and I moved upon them, extending my line till it became merely a
line of skirmishers, to prevent being flanked, so great was the disproportion of the forces.
No men could behave more handsomely than did the Wisconsin 11th, on my right, and
the Illinois 33d on my left, while Lieut. Denneman, with his gun, supported by as large an
infantry force as I could spare, held the centre. The rebels gave way, and, while driving
them from the field, I heard a shout in the rear, and before fully comprehending what it
meant, Lieut. Col. Wood, of the 1st Indiana cavalry, with one battalion and two more
steel guns, came cantering up. It was the work of a moment for Lieut. Baker to unlimber
his pieces and get in position. The woods were soon alive with shot and shell. The retreat
became a rout. Our cavalry, led by Maj. Glendenning, charged vigorously, and the day
Already one hundred and ten (110) of the enemy's dead have been found, while their
prisoners and the officer in charge of the flag of truce speak of the "terrible carnage," and
estimate their dead at more than two hundred, and their wounded at a still greater
number. Their loss in dead was, undoubtedly, much greater than the one hundred and ten
whose bodies were found. I have been unable to ascertain the number of their wounded,
or to make a reliable estimate; nor have I a report of the prisoners taken. A large number
of horses were captured, and many left dead on the field. Sixty-six were counted within
an area of half a mile square.
Our loss was seven killed and fifty-seven wounded.
The rebel force—Texas troops—engaged in the fight, could not have been far from
two thousand (2,000) men, and was supported by a still larger reserve force, all under the
command of Gen. Rust.
The loyal force was less than four hundred (400), increased just at the close by a
cavalry force of about two hundred (200).
Where officers and men so uniformly behaved well, I can almost say heroically, it is,
perhaps, invidious to particularize; and yet I may be pardoned for calling attention to the
gallant conduct of Col. Harris and Capt. Miller, of the 11th Wisconsin; Ma;.
Clendenning, of the 1st Indiana cavalry, and Capt. L. H. Potter, of the 83d Illinois. Surg.
H. P. Strong was on the field throughout the action, and his services deserve recognition.
Later in the afternoon, reinforcements came up, and Gen. Benton pursued the fleeing
foe five or six miles towards Des Arc, killing several and taking prisoners. All along the
route, he found the houses filled with the dead and wounded; curbstones were wet with
blood, and in one case, even the water of the well was crimson with gore. Gen. Benton's
force consisted of the 8th Indiana, Col. Shunk; a section of Manter's battery, 1st Missouri
light artillery, Lieut. Schofleld; part of the 11th Wisconsin, Major Platt; one howitzer
from Bowen's battalion; the 13th Illinois cavalry, Col. Bell and a battalion of the 5th
Illinois cavalry, under Major Apperson.
After the battle, and while the wounded were being collected and cared for, another
body of rebels appeared on the Bayou De View road and drove in our pickets. I
immediately sent Lieut. Col. Wood, of the 11th Wisconsin, with a force of infantry, and
the 1st Indiana cavalry to pursue and capture them. He proceeded to Bayou De View,
shelled the rebels from their camp, and prevented the burning of the bridge, on which
fagots had already been piled. By this time it was dark, and the forces rested.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
C. E. HOVEY, Colonel Commanding.
To Capt. J. W. Paddock, Ass't Adj't General
LIEUT. COL. WOOD.
HEADQUARTERS FIRST INDIANA CAVALRY,
HELENA, ARK., July 15, 1862.
COL. CONRAD BAKER, COM'D'G. 4TH BRIGADE:
Sir In obedience to your order, on the 7th inst., I proceeded with the 2d battalion, 1st
regiment Indiana cavalry, and two steel rifled guns to the bridge across Bayou De View,
which we fortunately succeeded in saving from destruction, the rebels having built a fire
at the north end ready to burn it. This we prevented by cautiously approaching their
pickets, who fired upon us and fled We returned their fire and shelled their camp, killing
three. The rest, supposed to be five hundred, fled in the utmost confusion.
In carrying out your order, we incidentally engaged a large force of the enemy
composed of the 12th and 14th Texas cavalry, with several battalions of conscripts at
Round Hill, eight miles north of Bayou De View. When within a mile of the place known
as Round Hill, we met a messenger from Col. Hovey, who said that the Colonel had been
attacked by a large force and had three companies killed. We afterward met a squad of
infantry hurrying toward our camp on Cacho River, who informed us that they had been
"badly used up; Col. Hovey, 33d Illinois volunteers, with about four hundred infantry and
one gun under the command of Lieut. Denneman, 1st regiment Indiana cavalry, had been
fighting with the rebels and had retreated before a very large force, having a great number
of men killed and wounded." Increasing our speed, we arrived at Round Hill, and the first
squad of infantry we saw ran from us, supposing us to be the enemy. The principal part of
the infantry were standing in groups in the edge of the woods adjoining the road. These
received us with demonstrations of joy, cheering us enthusiastically. Here we met Col.
Hovey and the gun belonging to the 1st Indiana cavalry. Col. Hovey told me that the
enemy was down the road, and "plenty of them," at the aamc time saying to us " pitch
into them." And we did "pitch into them," at full speed. The three guns, closely followed
by the battalion of cavalry, galloped down the lane in the woods where we first
discovered the enemy approaching in the form of a V. Instantly forming our line of battle,
with guns in battery in the centre, and with one squadron on the left and the other on the
right, we poured canister into their front and shell in their rear. As the enemy gave way
before this terrible fire, we followed them closely, giving no respite, for about two miles,
sometimes running up our guns within one hundred yards of their lines. When the enemy
began to waver, by my direction Maj. R. M. Glendenning, with companies E and G,
made a furious charge upon their right flank, engaging them in a most gallant style for
about twenty minutes, coolly receiving the enemy's fire. These two companies poured
volley after volley from their carbines and pistols, cutting up the enemy's ranks in a
dreadful manner. These two companies deserve special notice. They fought like veteran
soldiers. At one time all the officers of company E were dismounted. Capt. Wm. W.
Sloan, killed; 1st Lieut. Wm. V. Weathers, thrown from his horse; 2d Lieut. Chas. L.
Lamb (my Adjutant), having his horse shot from under him. Notwithstanding these
casualties, the men fought as only brave men can fight; riding into the enemy's ranks they
delivered their fire with telling effect. Unable to stand before these determined men, the
enemy broke and fled in great confusion, the cavalry breaking through the infantry,
panic-stricken at the intrepid daring of our men. As the enemy fled we poured canister at
them and shell over them, following them until further pursuit was useless, and we
remained masters of the field During the fight, Col. Hovey directed the movements of the
skirmishers on our flanks. The infantry, with the exception of these skirmishers, was not
engaged, but followed in the rear ready should any contingency arise requiring their
assistance. The rebels suffered very severely. We have since ascertained their loss to be
over two hundred killed and many wounded. We captured one prisoner. Capt. Wm. W.
Sloan, company E, 1st Indiana cavalry, was killed while gallantly leading his men in the
hottest of the fight. Maj. R. M. Glendenning was very severely wounded, a shot passing
through the right lung, and one lodging in his arm. The conduct of Major Glendenning
merits the highest commendation. He is a brave man. Corporal Nathan Collins and
private James J. Clark were severely wounded. These deserve special notice. Eight others
were slightly wounded. My thanks are due to Lieuts. William B. Baker and G.
Denneman, of the battery, and my Adjutant, Charles L. Lamb, for their cool and gallant
conduct while exposed to the enemy's fire; also, to all the officers and men engaged.
After a short rest, we proceeded, with seven additional companies of infantry, under
the command of Lieut. Col. Wood, of the 11th Wisconsin regiment, to the bridge across
Bayou De View, as before mentioned
I have the honor to be your obedient servant,
WILLIAM F. WOOD,
Lieut. Colonel 1st Reg Indiana Cavalry.
This brilliant engagement compares well with any action of similar proportions during
the war. The small number of national soldiers, scarce six hundred men, mingled
fragments of different infantry, artillery and cavalry commands, not even numbering in
all a regiment, defeating and driving before them two thousand Texan rangers, with a loss
trifling when compared with the enemy's loss of over two hundred, again affords an
example of the superiority of disciplined soldiers to raw troops. In justice to the rebels, it
must be admitted that in the quality of our arms, we were much their superiors. They may
also have been apprehensive of the approach of the main army, which, however, could
not have been brought into immediate action against them. Yet the act of their complete
rout by the small force engaged against them, still remains as a brilliant Union victory.
The army continued the march, and on the 9th reached Clarendon, on the east bank of
White River, below Duvall's Bluff and Des Arc, and by the circuitous route over which
the army had traveled, fifty-five miles from Augusta.
Before reaching Clarendon, news was received that the gunboats, with a land force
commanded by Col. Fitch, were at the town, but it now appeared that the boats and troops
had gone down the river the day before the arrival of the army of Curtis the reason was
unknown, and nothing of a more definite nature could be learned of their movements
Some anticipated their return, and it was even reported that The smoke of their chimneys
had been seen down the river. But they came not, and it was rumored that they had been
ordered into the Mississippi to assist in a demonstration on Vicksburg. To add to the
bitterness of disappointment, the report, coming through rebel sources of information,
that McClellan's army had been certainly defeated before Richmond, was circulated
through camp, and cast a gloom over the spirits of the soldiers.
It was necessary that some decisive course be immediately adopted. Provisions were
nearly exhausted, and the supplies on hand would last for but a few more days. All
communication with loyal territory had terminated at Jacksonport. To await at Clarendon
the arrival of the gunboats, or to go still lower down White River, in the absence of all
information as to their movements, was useless. The surrounding country would not
furnish subsistence to the army, and a delay might involve the perils of starvation. All
present plans for the capture of Little Rock must succumb to the more pressing
necessities of the troops. The only practicable course to pursue, was to advance with as
much rapidity as possible to some point on the Mississippi, and open communication by
water with Memphis. Helena, a town of some importance before the war, distant sixty
miles, south of east from Clarendon, and about one hundred miles by river below
Memphis, was selected as the point where the army of the South-West should find rest,
and, as afterwards appeared, terminate its long and arduous campaign.
The following order arranged the details, and the order of march on the remainder of
the route to Helena:
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE SOUTH-WEST
CAMP AT CLARENDON, ARK. JULY 10, 1862.
II. Brig. Gen. C. C. Washburn will proceed at 4 o'clock A. M., tomorrow, the 11th
inst., with the most efficient portion of his command, and such other forces as may report
to him from the 1st and 3d divisions, all to be provided with five days cooked rations, by
forced marches to Helena, Ark., where he will assume command, preserve good order
and property on the part of the soldiers and citizens, and await further orders from those
III. Capt. F. S. Winslow, A. Q. M. and Chief Q. M. of this army, and Lieut. J. W.
Noble, Aid-de-Camp of the General Commanding, will accompany Brig. Gen. C. C.
Washburn, on the expedition to Helena, and use all means in their power to open
communication with the steamboats, and secure the necessary supplies for this army.
IV. Order of March.—Lieut. B. O. Carr, A. A. Q. M. and A. D. C., will regulate
trains. Head of column will move at 4 1/2 o'clock, July 11, 1862, in rear of the command
of Brig. Gen. Washburn, otherwise ordered from these headquarters.
1st. General Commanding and Escort, Bowen's Battalion.
2d. 8d Division forces, Brig. Gen. Osterhaus.
3d. Train of General Commanding
4th. Train of 3d Division.
5th Maj. E. W. Weston's Command.
6th Train of Maj. Weston's Command.
7th. Gen. Washburn's Train Guards.
8th Gen. Washburn's Train.
9th. 1st Arkansas Infantry, and Commissary and Quartermaster's General Trains and Stock.
10th. Train of 1st Division.
11th. 1st Division forces, Brig. Gen. F. Steele.
The 2d Division, Brig. Gen. E. A. Carr, will bring up the rear as soon as his troops are
sufficiently rested, with a strong rear guard.
Unless otherwise directed this order of march will be continued to the Mississippi
By command of Maj. Gen. Curtis
H. Z. CURTIS, Asst. Adjt. Gentl.
On the 11th and 12th of July, Clarendon was evacuated, Carr's troops, which had
brought up the rear of the army, and were the last to arrive, being the last to depart. For
four days the march continued over hot, dusty roads, through a rich cotton-growing
country, with fine plantations, now principally devoted to the cultivation of corn.
At nearly every plantation, the slaves had learned of the march of the "Yankees"
through the land, and hundreds lined the road, well supplied with provisions, and
prepared to follow the army to any place it might move. These slaves, together with those
that had been previously " confiscated," formed the nucleus of the large camps of
"contrabands" afterwards established at Helena.
General Curtis arrived in Helena July 14th, establishing his headquarters in the fine
residence of the rebel General Hindman. Washburn had arrived two days before, and
Captain Winslow and Lieut. Noble had proceeded at once to Memphis and made
arrangements to have supplies sent to Helena. Upon the arrival of Curtis, steamboats
were laying at the wharf with an abundance of commissary stores.
Here ended the long and arduous march, averaging seven hundred and fifty miles, of
the " Army of the South West."
The first campaign of an army in Arkansas (and with it this narrative) properly
terminates in the capture of Helena, then, and for a long, time afterwards, as a strongly
garrisoned town, the advanced Union post on the line of the Mississippi. Changes were
made in the organization of the army, but it never again took the field as an independent
command. Some regiments were ordered away, and others supplied the vacancy. The
brigade of Col. Fitch became embodied in the army, which was re-organized in four
divisions, the first three divisions being commanded by their former Generals, Steele,
Carr, and Osterhaus, and the 4th division being commanded by Brig. Gen. A. P. Hovey.
Curtis still intended to move on Little Rock, and the re-organization of the army was
made partly for that object. But the delays encountered, and the inability to secure the
cooperation of the gunboats on the White and Arkansas rivers, prevented the execution of
this plan. The accompanying reports of the White River expedition, show that the failure
of Fitch to connect with Curtis, at Clarendon, was mainly due to a similar cause. The
gunboats, which until lately had been under the control of Halleck, were placed under the
direct control of the Secretary of the Navy, and applications from the Department
Commander for their assistance in opening White River, were met with tedious delay and
inefficiency. Halleck asserted that the original object in seizing Helena was to furnish a
base of operations on Little Rock, operating from the Mississippi. It was, indeed, the
object to change the base to the Mississippi or Lower White River, and Halleck had
originally directed Steele to move from Pilot knob to Helena. This order was suspended
by the merging of Steele's command with the Army of the South West, and Helena was
rather seized as the last resort of an army in danger of destruction from want of supplies,
and not properly supported by a gunboat flotilla, at a point much nearer, and
communicating directly by railroad with the rebel State capital.
Numerous expeditions were thrown out into the surrounding country from Helena. It
is impossible to mention more than a few. The division of Hovey moved back and
reoccupied Clarendon for a time, and reconnoissances by gunboats and troops on
steamboats were made down the Mississippi and in the Arkansas Rivers. On July 17th,
General Curtis, with a considerable force, moved down the Mississippi and twenty-five
miles up the Arkansas. A large amount of small arms and ammunition, and some
twenty-five pieces of artillery, had been smuggled across the river and into Arkansas,
during the previous week, near Gaines' Landing. Gen. Curtis destroyed between seventy
and eighty rebel flatboats and one small steamboat, his advance driving a rebel picket
from Gaines' Landing, and killing one rebel. He sent scouts south of the Arkansas River
in the hope of intercepting the artillery. On July 20th he returned to Helena. Majors T. I.
McKenny and Wm. D. Bowen, with a detachment of the 46th Indiana Infantry and
Bowen's battalion, while detached from General Curtis, destroyed a steam ferry and
twenty or thirty flat boats. At Eunice, where a railroad had been commenced leading west
to the Washita, they destroyed a locomotive and some rolling stock. At Prentiss, Miss.,
they captured over one hundred muskets, and at Napoleon, some fifteen or twenty casks
of sugar and molasses.
In the latter part of August, a naval and military expedition, consisting of one brigade,
commanded by Colonel C. R. Woods, the gunboats under acting flag officer Phelps, and
the rams under Colonel Ellet, moved down the river from Helena. Near Milliken's Bend
they captured the rebel transport steamer "Fair Play," with a large and valuable cargo of
arms and ammunition. A rebel force was pursued inland, on the west bank, to Monroe,
Louisiana, the terminus of a railroad and telegraph line. The depot buildings were burned,
and the telegraph line was destroyed, thereby cutting off the rebel communication with
Little Rock and Providence, La. Eleven hogsheads of sugar, three baggage wagons, and
considerable baggage were also destroyed. Thirty-five prisoners were captured, and a
large number of negroes were brought to Helena. A portion of the command, with
Colonel Ellet's rams, entered the Yazoo River and captured a battery of four 42-pound
guns and two field pieces, the enemy flying without an attempt at resistance. The heavy
pieces were disabled, and the field pieces were brought away. This was among the first
attacks on Vicksburg. The expedition returned, reconnoitering the banks, and clearing out
the guerrillas, to Helena.
About the last of August, Curtis obtained a leave of absence to attend the Pacific
Railroad Convention in Chicago. Before the expiration of his leave, he was appointed to
the command of the Department of the Missouri. The immediate command of the Army
of the South West, was assumed by Steele, but the army was soon afterwards absorbed in
other organizations, a portion being retained under Steele in the operations against
No other army had thus far, in the history of the war, performed a like march of seven
hundred and fifty miles, the average distance traveled from Rolla to Cross Hollows,
Bentonville and Fayetteville, and thence to Batesville, Little Red River and Helena,
through as wild, as mountainous, and as varied a region, over a tract as remote from the
sources of supply, and subjected to as many vicissitudes of climate. No other army had
thus far swung loose from its base, abandoned its communication with all loyal territory
and surrounded by a watchful and dangerous enemy, performed a long and arduous
march of over one hundred and fifty miles, patiently enduring every hardship, and finally
arriving at a new base of operations in safety, and after the loyal people of the land had
almost become assured of its capture or annihilation.
Without detracting from the glory which is elsewhere due, it may well be said that no
other army had thus far surpassed, in usefulness, the army of the South West. The battle
of Pea Ridge, shining one of the brightest in the long list of Union victories; the
numerous lesser but successful skirmishes, culminating in the brilliant engagement of
Round Hill; the protection which had for many months been afforded to St. Louis the
great centre of military operations in the West; the restoration of Missouri to the Union;
the paralysis of the rebellion west of the Mississippi; the capture of Helena, the advance
post on the line of national occupation of the Mississippi; the injury, havoc and waste that
had been created in the enemy's country, and which had crippled his power and abated
his spirit, with the assistance and co-operation thus afforded the national army east of the
Mississippi, were the military good work it had performed.
The future historian of the great rebellion, may award to all, the glory which is due,
but while the soldiers who fought the later contests of the war, may perhaps boast of
more hard fought fields and bloodier battles, profounder strategy, and greater campaigns,
attended with more brilliant results, their glory will not be greater than that which
belongs to the earlier patriots who set the example of the first great victories, and made
the first successful campaigns of the war.
And of these he will record no more successful or more difficult campaign than that
of Curtis, no nobler corps than the "Army of the South West."
REPORTS AND CORRESPONDENCE OF THE WHITE RIVER EXPEDITION
UNDER COL. GRAHAM N. FITCH, TO BELIEVE GEN. CURTIS.
ST. CHARLES (WHITE RIVER), ARK, June 17, 1862.
BRIG. GEN. QUAY, Commanding Dist. of Miss:
Sir:—On arriving eight miles below here, last evening, we ascertained that the enemy
had two batteries here, supported by a force (numbers unknown) of infantry. A combined
attack was made at 7 A. M. today. The regiment under my command (46th Ind.) landed 2
1/2 miles below the batteries. Skirmishers were thrown out, who drove in the enemy's
pickets. The gunboats then moved up and opened on their batteries. A rilfled shot from
one of the latter penetrated the "steam drum" of the "Mound City," disabling, by scalding,
most of her crew.
Apprehensive some similar accident might happen other of the gunboats, and thus
leave my small command without their support, I signaled the gunboats to cease firing,
and we would storm the batteries They ceased at exactly the right moment, and my men
carried the batteries gallantly. The infantry were driven from the support of the guns and
the gunners shot at their posts. Their commanding officer, "Fry," formerly of the United
States Navy, wounded and captured, and eight brass and iron guns with ammunition
taken the enemy's loss unknown; we have buried seven or eight of their dead, and others
of their dead and wounded are being brought in; the casualties among my own command
few and simple, the only real loss being from the escaping steam on the "Mound City."
She will probably be repaired ready to proceed with us up the river tomorrow. A full
report will be made as early as possible.
(Signed) G. N. FITCH, Col. Com'd'g.
ON STEAMER "WHITE CLOUD,"
ASCENDING WHITE RIVER, ARK, June 19, 1862.
BRIG. GEN. QUIMBY, Com'd'g Dist. Miss:
Sir:—Current events have hitherto prevented the detailed report of the affair at St.
Charles, in this state, promised in my hasty despatch of the 17th inst.
The vicinity of the enemy having been ascertained on the evening previous, a
combined movement was arranged, with a view to an attack, between Capt. Kelty, senior
officer of the gunboats, for 6 o'clock A. M. of that day (17th inst). At that hour the flotilla
moved up to about 2 1/2 miles below the town. The land troops (46th Ind.) disembarked
and skirmishers wore thrown out, who quickly drove in the enemy's pickets and pushed
forward to the foot of the bluff, upon which the village is built, and the batteries were
placed. Beyond the foot of the bluff the skirmishers could not advance without being
exposed to the fire of our gunboats. Their fire (gunboats) had, up to this time, been in the
supposed direction of the batteries, but their precise location was not known, as they were
concealed by thick timber on the brow of the hill. The position of the lower batteries was
first discovered by its firing upon the officers of the 46th Indiana while fortifying the
regiment for an anticipated advance. Capt. Kelty was informed that the pickets were
driven in and the troops ready to storm the batteries unless he desired to silence them by
moving up with his gunboats. He preferred the latter alternative, and his fire was severe
and well directed, and briskly returned by the enemy. After its continuance some thirty
minutes, a 64 pound rifled shot, from one of the guns of their upper battery, entered the
larboard fore-quarter of the "Mound City," killing a gunner and passing through the
steam drum. The crew were seen from the shore to spring through the port-holes into the
river. Scarcely had they done so before a party of the enemy's sharp-shooters descended
the bluff from the batteries, and under cover of fallen timber on the river bank,
commenced firing upon those who were struggling in the water, and also, firing upon
those in oar-boats sent to pick them up. At the same time another party of the enemy,
concealed in the timber of the opposite side of the river, pursued the some barbarous
course So strongly marked was the contrast between the conduct on their part and that of
our sailors and soldiers at Memphis, who risked their lives to save those of the enemy
who had been driven into the river by steam or flames, as to excite an intense desire upon
the part of the land forces to end the scene and punish their barbarity. And aside from this
desire, well-grounded fears were entertained that other of the gunboats—"St. Louis,"
"Conestoga," and " Lexington" (the two latter wooden)—might be disabled, and the
expedition thus deprived of its main support. The gunboats were therefore signaled to
cease firing that the troops might storm the batteries. The skirmishers were again
advanced and ordered to pay particular attention to such of the enemy as had been
shooting our men in the river. The main body of the regiment followed in line at 300
yards. On reaching the top of the bluff, the line right-half wheeled to take the batteries
flank and rear, and were put upon double quick. The enemy had stationed one piece to the
right of their lower battery in the direction of our approach but finding the piece and its
supporters flanked, they attempted to with. draw it to cover the rear of the battery It was
overtaken and captured near what was to have been its new position, and the capture of
the battery quickly followed. The loss of the enemy is not accurately known. We have
buried eight or nine of their dead, others, skirmishers, are known to have been killed and
wounded by our skirmishers in a cornfield and the edge of the timber, but the necessity of
moving on up the river soon as possible, and the fatigue of the men (weather very warm),
compelled us to leave them to the care of citizens and surgeons of the vicinity, who
promised, and doubtless will bestow, every attention. Among the dead buried was an
officer who failed to identify. Their commander, Col. Fry an old officer of the United
States Navy, was wounded and captured, and about thirty prisoners taken. Four of the
guns captured have been sent to Memphis; the others, for want of transportation, were
thrown in the river, or otherwise rendered useless. The land troops lost none killed, and
the injuries were few and simple. The loss from steam on the "Mound City " is great;
nearly all her crew, of more than a hundred, being disabled, among them Capt. Kelty, and
half or more of them are dead. The injury to the ship is slight. I placed on board of her a
new crew of infantry and mortar boatmen, all of whom had been serving with my
command as gunners. The ship is under charge of a Master. One of the wounded of the
enemy, since died, stated that Col. Fry ordered the firing upon the crew of the "Mound
City," while in the water. It is but just to him, however, to say that he denies the charge.
Opposite the upper battery the enemy had sunk their gunboat "Maurepas " and two
transports to obstruct the channel, but failed to accomplish their object. Every officer and
man of the 46th did his duty.
Very respectfully, yours,
G. N. FITCH, Col. Com'd'g 46th Ind. Vol's.
U. S. GUNBOAT "ST. Louis, June 19,1862.
COL. G. N. FITCH:
Colonel:—Yours of this evening has been received, and in reply I have to say, that
upon the advice of the pilots of both this ship and the "Lexington," and the White River
pilot I have on board, in connection with the fact that I have already, to-day, stirred up the
bottom with the "St. Louis," as seen from the "Lexington" by Lieut. Com'd'g Shirk and
the officers of that gunboat, and that as the river is falling quite rapidly, I have concluded
not to subject the gunboats to the risk which appears to be imminent of loss or detention
all summer by low water by proceeding any farther up the river.
You cannot regret more than I the necessity which prevents our communicating with
Gen. Curtis, but, under the circumstances, I shall not feel justified in risking my
I will start down the river at 4 o'clock to-morrow morning.
I am very respectfully your obedient servant,
W. McGUNNEGLE, Lieut. Com'd'g.
ST. CHARLES, ARK., June 21, 1862.
MAJ. GEN. L. WALLACE, Com'd'g, Memphis, Tenn:
Dear Sir:—Yours of 10th received. Although advised that you was near I did not
know you was in Memphis, and therefore made my report as heretofore directed, to Gen.
Quimby. The reports for yesterday and day before having been made out before receipt of
yours, were given the same direction, but are enclosed to you. Hereafter I will report to
You will perceive by accompanying reports that we ascended the river eighty miles above
this point and found the water too shallow to permit the heavier gunboats to proceed further with
safety. We have therefore returned here to wait orders. Nothing was said about reinforcements in
my report of 17th inst., as information obtained here on that day rendered it quite certain that the
principal dependence of the enemy for closing the river against us was upon the batteries, troops
and sunken boats at this place. These obstacles being overcome it was thought our combined
force would be sufficient to repel any guerrilla attacks from the river bank, and take or silence a
battery, it was deemed not improbable might be found at Duvall's Bluff (95 miles above here),
the terminus of a railroad from Little Rock, and only 40 miles distant from that place.
As it is undoubtedly known to the enemy that low water prevents our iron-clad boats from
reaching there, they will probably fortify the point, an important one to either belligerent; hence
if an expedition proceeds up the river it will now be necessary to have land force sufficient to
carry any work which may be there erected. You are in communication with Gen. Halleck and
understand his views and expectations relative to this river. If, as is probably the case, he wishes
it opened and kept open to communicate with Gen. Curtis, or for capture of Little Rock, I beg
leave, with no confidence, however, in my own judgment of military matters, to suggest that this
place, distant 90 miles, Clarendon. distant 60 miles, and Duvall's Bluff, distant 40 miles from
Little Rock, the last by railroad, should be held. A regiment to each place with a few guns and
cavalry would perhaps be sufficient.
I need scarce add that at this stage of water, light transports will be necessary, especially
above this point, and they should be barricaded against small arms. The river is narrow, tortuous,
and its banks most of the way covered with dense timber. Any expedition to be sent up the river
should be started at the earliest possible moment, as the river will soon fall so as to preclude
even the wooden gunboats from ascending. The number of the accompanying troops it is for
your judgment to suggest. I should think five or seven thousand none too many, as that number
could, if necessary, in cooperation with Gen. Curtis, move on Little Rock and end all organized
opposition in this state.
For the accompanying " telegrams " designed for Gen. Halleck, please substitute in your own
name whatever you may deem proper.
I remain yours respectfully,
G. N. FITCH, Colonel.
TO THE INHABITANTS OF MONROE COUNTY, ARKANSAS:
Guerrilla bands, raised in your vicinity, have fired from the woods upon the United States
gunboats and transports in White River. This mode of warfare is that of savages. It is in your
power to prevent it in your vicinity. You will, therefore, if it is repeated. be held responsible in
person and property. Upon a renewal of such attacks an expedition will be sent against you to
seize and destroy your personal property.
It is our wish that no occasion for such a course shall arise, but that every man shall remain at
home in pursuit of his peaceful avocation, in which he will not be molested unless a continuance
of such barbarous guerrilla warfare renders vigorous measures on our part necessary.
Given at headquarters, on steamboat " White Cloud " at St. Charles, Ark., this 23d day of
By order of G. N. Fitch, Colonel Commanding U. S. forces.
(Signed) JNO. D. CARODIN, Act. Adj't.
HEADQUARTERS U. S. FORCES,
ST. CHARLES, ARK., June 24, 1862.
MAJ. GEN. WALLACE:
Sir:—Subsequent to my report of 21st inst. guerrilla bands have twice fired into the gunboats
and transports from the woods opposite St. Charles, and once upon the pickets above the town,
killing one of the mortar boatmen, who was detailed at Memphis as a part of a gun squad to act
with this regiment, and a seaman on the gunboat Lexington. To put a stop to such barbarous
warfare, Maj. Bringhurst was sent with four companies, escorted by the gunboats "Cincinnati"
and "Lexington," up Indian Bay into the county of Monroe, where these bands were said to have
been raised, with orders to post conspicuously copies of the accompanying notice. The
expedition was successful, seizing some ammunition that was about to be used by the bands, and
bringing in three prisoners who were charged with aiding and abetting them. One of the
prisoners, Moore, appears to be a surgeon of the Confederate army on furlough obtained upon
tender of his resignation, which has not been finally acted upon. As surgeon, he claims
exemption from captivity under an agreement between belligerents. He was not taken as such,
but as a member or aiding in the formation of guerrilla bands. An investigation of the case is
now being made. An expedition was planned for this morning at 6 1/2, up the river to Crochet's
Bluff, where considerable cotton was said to be concealed, and one or two mounted guerrilla
bands stationed. At that hour a note was received from Capt. Winsler, requesting the expedition
might be deferred until the next day. The request was complied with and preparations made to
clear the under-brush opposite this place to deprive the guerrillas of cover. These preparations
were suspended by notice from Capt. Winsler of his intention to immediately take the gunboats
out of the river, under an apprehension that a fall in the water might render it inconvenient to do
so if he longer delayed. Conscious that the small force under my command could not be able,
unsupported by gunboats, to hold the place and insure the safety of the transports, orders were
reluctantly given to call in the pickets and embark the troops for the purpose of accompanying
the gunboats to the mouth of the river.
Very respectfully yours,
(Signed) G. N. FITCH, Col Com'd'g 46th Ind. Vols.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE
MEMPHIS, June 26, 1862.
Con. G. N. FlTCH, Com'd'g Expedition on White River:
Sir:—I send five steamers loaded with supplies for Gen. Curtis' army. As they necessarily
pass through a hostile country, great caution will have to be exercised to prevent these supplies
from falling into the hands of the enemy, or from being destroyed.
I have selected you as commander of the expedition, and reinforce yon with two additional
regiments, as you will perceive from special orders accompanying this.
It would be impossible to give full special instructions for the management of this expedition.
Much must necessarily be left to the discretion of the officer in command. I would suggest,
however, that two pieces of artillery be placed on the bow of the boat intended to lead. That all
of them be kept well together. When you tie up for the night, strong guards be thrown out upon
the shore, and that troops be landed and required to march and clear out all points suspected of
concealing the foe.
It is desirable those supplies should reach Gen. Curtis as early as possible. As soon as the
boats can possibly be discharged, return them, bringing your entire command to St. Charles, or
to where you now are.
It is not intended that you shall reach Gen. Curtis against all obstacles, but it is highly
desirable that he should be reached.
I am Colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
(Signed) U. S. GRANT, Maj. Gen. Com'd'g.
HEADQUARTERS INDIANA BRIGADE,
MONTGOMERY'S POINT, ARK., 27th June, 1862.
MAJOR-GENERAL U. S. GRANT, COMM'D'G DIST. WEST TENN., MEMPHIS:
Sir:—You are probably aware by this time that owing to the rapid fall of White River, the
iron-clad gun boats, considering it unsafe to remain longer as high up as St. Charles, descended
to the Mississippi. Having but one regiment with me, which was entirely insufficient to protect
both sides from the attack of guerrillas, and hold the town and ensure safety to the transport
"White Cloud," laden with stores for Gen. Curtis' command, the regiment and transports
accompanied the gunboats to the mouth of White River to await further orders. At this place
your letter of instructions, of the 26th inst., was handed me, and in obedience thereto, and to
former instructions, this command wild proceed again up White River, and I beg that you will
send without delay, another transport with 200 or 300 cavalry, which are indispensable in
scouring the country and protecting the infantry from the annoyance of guerrillas. They can join
this command at St. Charles or above. The excessive heat and character of the country, render
the assistance of cavalry highly necessary indeed almost indispensable.
The route from St. Charles, a few miles back of the town, is through a prairie country,
through which rove mounted rangers, in addition to foot guerrillas. In my dispatch to Major Gen.
Wallace, which you may have seen, I stated that he undoubtedly could have passed " Duvall's
Bluff," which was then only partially fortified, without much difficulty, if the gun boats could
have been prevailed upon to proceed up the river, but that the bluff would be strengthened as
soon as the enemy discovered we had returned down the river. I am now advised that there are
two or three heavy guns mounted there, with a considerable force of infantry.
It will be necessary to successfully attack that place, for an additional force of infantry,
besides the cavalry, to be sent, as I fully stated to Gen. Wallace, and if it is absolutely necessary
to open communication with Gen. Curtis I would respectfully ask that you send the
reinforcements of infantry and cavalry as soon as possible, in light transports, with rations for the
troops; the transports can be used, if necessary, to lighter the boats now freighted for Gen.
Curtis. Upon a consultation just had with the commanders of the gunboat fleet, I fear they will
refuse to escort the troops and transports any farther than St. Charles, and thus, for the third time,
compel the expedition to return. Above Duvall's Bluff we could proceed without the aid of gun
boats, as we could, indeed, from St. Charles, with a force of 4,000 infantry and a corresponding
number of cavalry and guns.
Very respectfully, your ob't serv't,
(Signed) G. N. FITCH
Col. 46th Ind. Vols., White River Expedition.
HEADQUARTERS, TRANS. MISS. DISTRICT,
LITTLE ROCK, ARK, June 25th, 1862.
COL. G. N. FITCH, COM'D U. S. FORCES AT ST. CHARLES:
COLONEL: A copy of your proclamation of 23d inst., addressed to the citizens of Monroe
county, has come into my hands. I have the honor to enclose you a copy of an order recently
issued by me, authorizing the formation of companies to operate at wild, in the absence of
specific instructions, against the forces of the United States Government, and accepting all such
into the service and pay of the Confederate States. They are recognized by me, as the
commander of this Department, as Confederate troops, and I assert it my indisputable right to
dispose and use those troops along the banks of the White River, or wherever else I may deem
proper, even should it prove annoying to you in your operations.
I have thought it but just that I should furnish you with a copy of my order, that you may act
advisedly, and I respectfully forewarn you, that should your threat be executed against any
citizens of this district, I shall retaliate, man for man upon the Federal officers and soldiers who
now are and hereafter may be in my custody as prisoners of war.
I have the honor to be, Colonel,
Very respectfully, your ob't servant,
(Signed) T. C. HINDMAN, Major General Commanding.
HEADQUARTERS UNITED STATES FORCES,
ST. CHARLES, ARK., 28th June, 1862.
MAJ. GEN. T. C. HINDMAN, Com'd'g C. S. A. Forces, Little Rock, Ark.:
Sir—Yours of 25th inst. was placed in my hands, under flag of truce, this P M., together with
a copy of your General Order, No. 17, dated 17th inst. You advise me that you have been placed
in possession of a copy of my proclamation of 23d inst. to the citizens of Monroe County, Ark.,
notifying them that they will be held responsible in person and property for any injury they
themselves or those raised in their midst might thereafter inflict in the name or under the guise of
that savage warfare, outlawed by the civilized world, known as guerrilla warfare. You will
permit me to suggest that your objections to any proclamation, comes with ill grace from you,
when accompanied with your own above referred to, which order is but an encouragement to
rapine and murder upon the part of those of this state if there be such so lost to all sense of honor
as to avail themselves of your permission to commit such depredations. You must be aware that
your Captains of Tens will soon become little else than highway banditti, more terrible to