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Re: 14th Arkansas Regiment, No. 2

The date of organization for the regiment is rather interesting as that really leaves open the question of whether this regiment ever really existed.

You're right, that’s why I jokingly referred to McCarver’s outfit as “the regiment that barely was.”

October 22, 1861, is used as the date of the organization of the regiment because that’s when the ninth company joined the outfit, and the company muster rolls were submitted to the War Department along with official notification of the organization of the regiment (initially designated by Borland as the 9th Arkansas).

The first eight companies were mustered into service between August 31 and September 23, and field and staff officers were appointed on September 23, 1861. So this date can be considered as the “actual” date of organization, as opposed to October 22, 1861, which is considered the “effective” or official date of organization. The regiment was described as “indifferently armed.”

It was Hardee’s intention to take everyone with him except for Borland’s own regiment, but, as you know, Hardee didn’t want to fool with poorly armed and untrained troops. I suspect that there were sufficient arms to equip four of McCarver’s companies, so these companies were attached to his command, with the balance of the regiment to follow when they were properly armed and equipped. Clearly, McCarver considered the detachment of those companies to be temporary, because when the “official” notice of organization was sent to the War Department, he assigned them company designations (Cos. A-B-E-H) and noted that they were detached with Hardee. This arrangement caused some confusion at Richmond, which wrote back to Borland, “Does Col. J. S. McCarver’s command consist of only five companies, or a full regiment? If less than a regiment, it will be known as the Eighth Battalion; if ten companies, the Fourteenth Regiment Arkansas Volunteers. Please inform the Department at your earliest convenience the exact state and condition of his command. Maj. F. W. Desha’s command will be known as the Seventh Battalion Arkansas Volunteers.” McCarver certainly considered that he had a full regiment (the tenth company had arrived on December 18), because as late as February 1862 he was signing correspondence as “colonel commanding 14th Arkansas Regiment.”

It’s likely that the balance of McCarver’s regiment never joined Hardee because Borland, commanding post, was in a state of panic over reports that a large Union force was planning to attack Pocahontas. Borland stopped further troops movements to Kentucky, including an artillery company intended for Hardee, and sent out a frantic call for emergency volunteers—over two dozen of these poorly armed thirty-day companies converged on Pocahontas for an attack that never came.

I’ve found quartermaster receipts from October and November 1861 which show the remaining companies of McCarver’s command furiously requisitioning large amounts of supplies and camp equipment. I am sure that there was similar activity with the ordnance department, requisitioning arms and ammunition, but I haven’t found any receipts. But this paints a picture for me that McCarver intended to get the balance of his command sufficiently armed and equipped to join Hardee. But, as we know, that never happened, and McCarver’s detached companies became a separate command as the 9th Battalion Arkansas Infantry.

BTW, you're absolutely correct that quite a number of McCarver's men were from that part of Lawrence County that later became southern Sharp County—which has been my family's home since Territorial times.

David, as you do further research on this subject, how about posting some of it? I've only just scratched the surface.

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14th Arkansas Regiment, No. 2
Re: 14th Arkansas Regiment, No. 2
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