The Arkansas in the Civil War Message Board

Pt 1 Natl. Archives Material

Head-Quarters District of Arkansas,
Camden, 2nd of Augt, 1864.
Special Orders, )
No. 240. )
II II II. Under instructions from Head Quarters Trans Miss Dept. Colonel Triston Polk is relieved from duty with the Military Court of the District of Arkansas, and will report to the Major General Commanding for duty in the field.
By command of
Major Genl. Price
J Maclean
Lieut Col & A. A. Genl.

Hdqrs. Trans-Mississippi Department,
Shreveport, La August 4, 1864.
Smith to Price
Maj-Gen. S. Price, Cmdg. Dist. Ark.
General: You will make immediate arrangements for a movement into Missouri, with the entire cavalry force of your district.
General Shelby should be instructed to have his command in North-east Arkansas ready to move by the 20th instant. You can instruct him to await your arrival with the column immediately under your command. A brigade of Louisiana troops under Col. Harrison has been ordered to report to you.
They should be added to General Marmaduke’s command, and with his old brigade, constitute his division. General Clark should be transferred to the command of Marmaduke’s old brigade. Colonel Green should be left in Arkansas together with the other regimental commanders whose mutinous conduct has already proved them unfitted for command.
General Shelby’s old brigade increased by the one raised in East Arkansas can be organized into a division under his immediate command. General Fagan will command the division composed of Cabell’s and Crawford’s brigades.
These skeleton organizations are best adapted for an expedition in which a large addition to your force is expected. The weak brigades should be filled by the regiments raised in Missouri and you should scrupulously avoid the organization of any new brigades. You will carry a supply of ammunition for General Shelby’s command in Northeast Arkansas and should yourself be provided with ammunition sufficient for the expedition.
You will scrupulously avoid all wanton acts of destruction and devastation; restrain your men and impress upon them that their aim should be to secure success in a just and holy cause, and not to gratify personal feeling and revenge.
Rally the loyal men of Mississippi Missouri and remember that our great want is men and that your object should be, if you cannot maintain your self in that country to bring as large an accession as possible to our force.
Your recruits will in all probability, be mounted; deal frankly with them and let them understand that mounted organizations made there through necessity, are liable to be dismounted on their arrival in our lines where forage and subsistence will not admit the maintenance of so large a cavalry force.
Make St Louis the objective point of your movement, which if rapidly made, will put you in possession of that place, its supplies and military stores and which will do more towards rallying Missouri to your standard that the possession of any other point.
Should you be compelled to withdraw from the State, make your retreat through Kansas and the Indian Territory, sweeping that country of its mules, horses, cattle and military supplies of all kinds. The division of General Fagan, the senior officer of your command, should be increased as soon as practicable.
By command of Gen. E. Kirby Smith,
W. R. Boggs, Brig-Gen. & Chief of Staff.
Hdqrs. Trans-Mississippi Department,
Shreveport, August 11, 1864.
Bryan to Price.
Major-General Sterling Price:
General: I am directed by General E. Kirby Smith, to say to you that he has ordered a division of Texas cavalry under Brig-Gen. Bagby from this district to Arkansas to replace the cavalry that will leave your district. General Bagby is or soon will be in motion. He also says that he cordially wishes you success in your movement northward. If practicable on your return, he wishes you to bring back with you all the woolen goods and other articles that may be needed by our army that you can obtain.
He further says that he understands that a large amount of stores are near Washington which you had better cover with a brigade of infantry.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
George M. Bryan,
Major & A. A. A. Gen.
Hd. Qtr. Confed. Forces. North Ark.
Camp Dobbyns August 15th 1864.
Shelby to Dobbins.
Col. A. S. Dobbyns, Com’d’g. Brigd
I am looking for a courier from Camden every day, and I think he will be here by the 18th at farthest. This messenger will bring the explicit information whether I shall move North or South, and when my orders are received, the rapidity with which I shall march will only be equaled by the desire to go forward.
I wrote to you sometime ago stating that you could cross White River below Clarendon, and report to Gen’ l Price in that direction. I now suggest that you form a connection with me, and if I should be ordered South, you can take the same route. I mention this because the country through which I shall pass will afford you some recruits; there will be also some unattached companies which I can assign to you, and because I shall halt at Washington long enough for you to concentrate all your men. You had better have your entire command on the West side of Black River by the evening of the 20th of August, as I shall concentrate my whole force in the neighborhood lying between Batesville and Hookram – and anywhere there you will be in communication with me. One thing is certain, we will have to leave this country either North or South, in a very few days for the wheat-crop is entirely consumed, the growing corn taxed heavily both by drouth and foraging, and the necessities of the citizens demand that they should be left before starvation is upon them. The Federals have left Searcey, and gone West towards the Military road leading from Little Rock to Batesville. I shall know to-night to what point they intend marching. Captain Redd, my aid-de-camp, will deliver this communication. Please write fully by him your intentions. I have high hopes of going to Missouri, but in the event of a failure, I will leave the country immediately after the 20th. I have no other news worth your attention. The longer I remain here now, the greater difficulty I will have in keeping the recruits together, and it is a matter of military necessity to leave for the regular army immediately, or else march on a heavy expedition where they will be too far away from home to return when the desire to see "Sarah and the children."
Let me know by Cap’t Redd whether you intend going with me or by the other route, so that, in case you do not go with me, I can send you orders, dependent upon those I receive – at what time you shall report. If anything transpires to change the programme I will report it to you immediately. Hoping to hear from you immediately
I am, very truly, yours,
Jo. O. Shelby, Brig Gen’l Com’d’g
Head Quarters Cavalry Division
On Saline River Aug 19th 1864
I send you a late Little Rock paper which you will see has a report from the officer commending the expedition sent out against Genl Shelby. I will reach Princeton tomorrow. No news from this way. They report however at both Pine Bluff and Little Rock that Grant has been relieved from the command of the army of the Potomac. The roads are very bad. Streams rising slowly.
Respectfully, Your obt Svt
Wm Cabell, Brig Genl
To Mg Gen Price
Shreveport, August 26, 1864
Vancourt to Price.
Major-General Price: I left St Louis August 2, was detained by low water several days; arrived at mouth of White River day after Empress was fired into, detained there until two other boats arrived. Then we were convoyed by a monitor and two gunboats 50 miles below Gaines Landing. I then concluded to go to New Orleans and get off on way up. Left New Orleans August 16, 2 a.m., was left in middle of Mississippi River on two planks and a paddle above Lake Providence. I joined secret society in St Louis. I do not think you can rely on much aid from Ill. & c., in case you march into Mo., yet the Order in Missouri will aid you and fully post you up. Should you go to Missouri; many of the militia companies are entirely under the control of said order and I am fully satisfied there never has been or will be a better time to redeem Missouri than the present. The militia are armed and I am fully satisfied thousands of them will join your army as soon as you come within any reasonable distance of them. There are several thousands that may join you from Ill. and Iowa, yet full dependence cannot be placed. It is not known how many members the order has in Missouri; I do not believe they exceeded when I left over 15 or 20 thousands, yet they all have their influence and control the militia as far as possible. I would say it seems to be the opinion of all parties that with a respectable force from 15 to 20,000 men that you could take or redeem the State. I never knew public opinion to change as fast as it has for the past year in favor of peace.
Editor of N.O. Picayune, said he saw a dispatch from Yankees at Mobile Bay to naval department N.O. in which they state they attacked Fort Morgan and that our guns reserved fire until land force got within 300 0 yards of fort, when we opened fire and killed 3800 besides the wounded. I believe the above to be true; if not true, then little dependence can be placed in positive assertions. The boat I came on was so watched or guarded that I could fetch nothing from off the boat with me. I was detained two days by sickness since I left the river; would have come via Camden, but was informed at river you had certainly started for Mo.
Yours truly, &c.,
R. P. Vancourt,
P.S. If I think of anything new will write on Monday.
Hdqrs. District Arkansas, Camden, August 27, 1864.
General Orders No.40.
Under orders from Dept. Hdqrs., Major-General J. B. Magruder will assume command of this district.
The major general commanding congratulates the people, and the army of the district on the assignment of this distinguished officer to its command. The troops he is about to control, have won unfading laurels on many well fought fields; under this able, gallant and active leader, they will gather still more.
The major general commanding cordially thanks the officers and privates of the Confederate army, and of the Arkansas State troops, for the eminent courage, skill and fidelity with which they have sustained him in the discharge of his arduous duties. His connection with them will remain one of his proudest recollections. He will ever hold in grateful remembrance, the patriotism and zeal with which the State authorities and people of the district have aided his efforts to promote the success of our cause.
The major general commanding especially thanks the officers of the district staff for the ability and energy exhibited in the performance of their duties and for their kindness and courtesy towards himself personally, some of them his proud to be able to take with him in a new sphere of duty.
The others he parts from with lively regret, and commends to the full confidence of their future commander, and of the government.
[Sterling Price] (signature), Major-General Commanding.
CAMDEN, 16th September, 1864. }
The Major General commanding this District announces with pride to the troops one of the most gallant exploits and successful expeditions of the war. The capture of five forts by the heroic Shelby and his brave officers and men in the face of superior numbers, and the destruction of a large portion of the rail-road between Little Rock and Duvall’s Bluff. The eloquent report of Shelby will best inform his comrades how this was done. The following is his language:
My forlorn hope of our advance under the brave and intrepid Williams immediately charged the retreating enemy, and a wave of steel overlapped and swallowed up the flying blue coats. The fort was surrounded, the artillery opened at point-blank range, and high over the white bursts of the powder cloud, that drifted and floated away before the battle breeze, a white flag waved out as a token of surrender. The results of this capture were 150 prisoners, 200 small arms, besides large quantities of supplies.
Station No. 2 was next attacked, captured and destroyed, and 100 more prisoners added to the first.
Station No. 3 shared the same fate, while 50 more prisoners swelled the (______).
Station No.’s 4 and 5 were stubborn and defiant, and held on for awhile (______) cannon and artillery fire. Veteran Illinois and Indiana in- (________) in these (_____) and had a hatred of surrendering, although we had never asked them to do so. Time pressed. Five hours had been spent in these operations, and I could not wait. Col. Shanks commanding my old Brigade, than whom a braver nor a better man never set a squadron in the field, was ordered to dismount his command. Col. Jackman also dismounted a portion of his Brigade, and these forming as infantry with Col. Shanks, dashed forward under their intrepid leader as the pas de charge, while a strong body of cavalry were held well in hand for any emergency. The garrison grew uneasy, but over the sea of dark green prairie, over the white puffs of the bursting bombs, and the rippling shots of the skirmishers, a long blue line of Federal cavalry and infantry cam looming up, and as they grew nearer and nearer, out from the doomed forts the garrison rushed with frantic speed for help and hope. Too late! As the dismounted men gained the ditches and the palisades, the reserved cavalry, whose steeds had all the long forenoon been champing impatient bits, dashed away after them in a long fierce gallop. Sharp and brief the chase. When within five hundred yards of their friends, the Federals were overtaken, surrounded, ridden over, and Col. Mitchell and four hundred and fifty of his officers and men surrendered unconditionally. They were immediately countermarched and double-quicked to the rear, the bullets of their friends all the while ringing a fierce discordant metre.
The immediate and tangible fruits of my expedition are 577 prisoners, including one field officer and eleven line officers, over 250 Federals killed and wounded, ten miles of railroad track completely destroyed, bridges and trestle-work ruined, 3000 bales of hay consumed by fire, 20 hay machines chopped to pieces, five forts razed to the ground, 500 stand of small arms distributed to my unarmed men, many fine horses captured, 12 barrels of salt bought off and given to a command suffering for it, besides supply my needy soldiers with blankets, shoes, boots, hats and clothing.
(_________________________________________) Duvall’s Bluff, and my detail (_____________________________________________________) fired at the cover (___________) were throwing the splinters from the (__________) my face (______) thanks are due to Cols. Shank, Gordon, (____________________________) McDaniel, Captains Williams, Langhorn, (___________________________) Lieut. Col. Blackwell for their eminent and devoted service (____________________).
In fact, every officer of my command and the men as a body deserves great praise for the (___________) which they stormed fortifications and met and defeated (_______) numbers of the enemy.
My loss in the entire fighting is 173 killed and wounded. Among this number there fell mortally wounded, Lieut. Stone of Shanks’ Regiment, and Lieut. Dickey of Smith’s Regiment, two as gallant spirits as ever laid down their lives a willing sacrifice for their country beneath the banner of the bars.
Col. A.S. Dobbins, left at Austin to cover my rear on account of Big Cypress being swimming, performed his duty ably and perfectly.
The Maj-Gen. commanding returns his warmest thanks to Gen. Shelby and his officers and men for the eminent services they have rendered their country in their late operations, and particularly in the signal victory which they gained on the 30th of August.
This bright example cannot but stimulate their victorious comrades of other fields to still greater exertions, and proves how much can be gained by enterprise and unhesitating devotion, even under circumstances the most unfavorable.
This order will be read at parade to each Regiment, Battalion, &c., in this District.
By command
(___________) TURNER
A. A. Gen.
I have the honor to protest in the most solemn manner against the assignment of the officers and men belonging to my Brigade to the Brigade commanded by Col Dobbins as a violation of every principal of law of the Rules & Articles of War of Regulations, of existing orders and the instructions of the General commanding the Trans-Miss-Department. I made a legal and a proper application for these men as the officers had been sent to the North side of the Arkansas River by direction of General Smith to collect their men and to rejoin their companies. All their officers had their orders when they were illegally detained both by Col Dobbins & Genl McRea. Col. Dobbins had no authority whatever to detain their officers & their men as he himself was sent, after being assigned to his command, to collect the absentees of his command. (which was simply a Regiment, as no Colonel has a right to claim any other as his command) and absentees from any other command and report with them to General McRea. The order does not say that he will have the command of the men after they are collected or does it say that he will form them into a Brigade; but implies as the very face of the order shows that he is to return with General McRea with those men to rejoin this legal and proper Regiment. Had it been the intention of the President or General Smith that Col. Dobbins should raise a Brigade of his own command from absentees from other commands, it would have been so expressed in the order, as from a conversation with General Smith in the early part of May I learned that Dobbins would rejoin me with what men he could collect and get together on the North side of the Ark River. Non other than a forced contraction of his order can give him the least shadow of a claim to command the men he has. Now positively when it is a very doubtful matter whether he holds the rank of Colonel, as from his own nobel statement to the commanding General he stated that he was simply elected by his Battalion and assigned to command the Regiment after it was organized. I do not wish to deprive Col Dobbins or any other officer of this command, or of a single man. I have only asked for what I am legally, justly & properly entitled to as a Brigadier General, appointed by the President and confirmed by (these words were off the copier plate when the copy was made.) by this illegal & unjust decision to (dark spot on the copy-cannot read) than any Brigade Commander on this expedition, and for less than men who have no legal rank and not even shadow of an appointment to show. General Shelby (my Junior) commands a Division. Cols McCray, Jackson & Freeman each command a Brigade longer than me and each command my men illegally. My rank as Brigadier General gives me a right to command my men. The laws of the Confederate States gives me the right. The Rules and Articles of War gives me the right and positively prohibits officers from enlisting men and detaining men who belong to other commands. For the above reasons I earnestly protest against the order allowing Col Dobbins to command men other than his own Regiment belonging to my Brigade and I therefore under the 22nd Article of War demand that the Off. And men belonging to my Brigade serving with other commands be returned to me. The Major General commanding this expedition promised to have my men returned to me when the commands joined forces and therefore I had every right to expect them.
To I am Sir
Col Maclean Very Respectfully, A A Genl Your Obt Servt
Army of Mo M S Cabell
Headquarters Shelby’s Division,
Reeves’ Mill, September 20th, 1864.
L. A. Maclean, Asst. Adjt. Gen., Army of Missouri
I arrived here about 12 o’clock to-day, and could have gone much further, but was afraid it would be too much in advance of the main line. Roads very rough, very broken, and very destitute of forage, although I will have plenty for night and morning.
Nothing new to report. The scout sent out last night has not been heard from yet, and there is nothing additional from the enemy.
Let me know where you will encamp to-morrow night.
Very Respectfully,
Jo. O. Shelby, Brig. Gen. Comm’dg Div.
Head Quarters Cabells Brigade
September the 25 1864
A man who lives near Searcy came to my camp this afternoon direct from that place. He reports Little Rock captured and that the Federals were in (8) eight miles of his house coming this way. I give this to you as it came to me. The man is now in Colemans Regiment McReys Brigade. Col Hill arrived this afternoon.
W S Cabell, Brig Gnl
Mag Gnl Logan, Comdg AA
Hd Qt Marmadukes Div (?)
(Miss Gregory’s)Sept 27 9PM
I am so entirely exhausted as to be unable to report in person to Gen Price tonight. My troops are all encamped in the plain & below Ironton with the exception of a force of 4 or 500 men under Col Freeman & Slaybark & Capt Jacobs which are stationed on the RR about a mile north of the fort attacked today with instruction to watch & fwd me information immediately of any movement of the enemy or of the arrivals of reinforcements & then they are also informed of Genl Shelby’s expected arrival and instructed to await any collision with his force
Yrs Resfly
J Marmaduke, Maj Genl
Sr Col Mclean, AA Genl
My Hdqts are at Mrs Gregorys about 200 yards to the left of the main street running thru Ironton & 200 yards below the foot of the mountain on the left of Ironton.
(Other Side)
Hd Qrs Marmaduke’s Divn
Sept 27th 1864
Oct 10th 1864
Col Maclane
The federals are two miles below Rockeport on the north side of the River. The federals have reinforced one boat, three in all.
Will keep posted & give you all the news. If I send my forces we would like for you to renew Jackmans Brigade.
S. S. Jackman

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