Carroll County, Arkansas

Goodspeed's History of ... Carroll County, Arkansas

Military Record, p. 395.

Mexican War. -- At the opening of the war with Mexico the President called for one regiment from Arkansas, and the governor of the State issued a call for ten companies of mounted riflemen, to be accepted in the order in which their services were offered to the State. In due course of time the governor's proclamation reached Carroll County, and with characteristic promptness a company was organized, equipped and mounted at Carrollton. One Gregory was then dispatched post-haste to Little Rock with the muster-roll of the company, to secure it a place in the regiment. He was just too late; the regiment was full, and the Carroll County company was obliged to satisfy its military aspirations by the maneuvers necessary to disbanding.

The Old Militia. -- In ante bellum days there were two battalion and four company musters every year, the former at Carrollton and Crooked Creek (Stroud's store, now in Boone County), the latter in the respective townships. These occasions were largely attended, the battalion musters particularly. The only instance in which the militia of this county was called out occurred early in "the fifties." Marion County became involved in a fight between the Tutt and Everitt factions, and the militia of the adjoining counties was called out to quell the disturbance. Carroll furnished two companies, under Cols. Tilford Denton and William C. Mitchell, the former from Carrollton. It was in the autumn that this occurred, and the companies were gone about six weeks.

The Civil War.

Public sentiment at the opening of the Civil War was almost unanimously opposed to secession. The number of slaves and of slave-holders in the county was not large; the people were almost entirely of Eastern Tennessee descent, and inherited the ardent patriotism that has distinguished that section. When the time came to elect representatives to the seccession convention, Dr. Dijon and E. G. Mitchell appeared as secession candidates, and W. W. Watkins and B. H. Hobbs as Union candidates. The former received by thirty-six votes in a total poll of 1,500. The convention was earnestly desirous of taking a neutral position, and uniting with the other border States in an effort to effect a compromise. It soon became apparent, however, that this was impossible, and the call of President Lincoln for troops from Arkansas forced the issue. The delegates from Carroll met their constituents in mass-meetings, and, finding that there was but little disposition to take up arms against the section which they naturally belonged, cast their votes for the secession ordinance, which passed with but a single dissenting voice.

Home Guards. -- Four companies of home guards were organized in what is now Carroll County, to repel the threatened invasion of the State by Gen. Lyon. H. B. Fancher was captain of the company recruited "Up Osage;" Capt. J. M. Pittman's company was formed at Carrollton; Capt. John Denny's and Leander Hayhurst's companies at Berryville. The four companies proceeded individually to Camp Walker, Benton County, and with seven others from different parts of the State were organized into the Fourth Arkansas Infantry Regiment, under the command of Col. J. D. Walker, forming part of Gen. Pierce's brigade. Maj.-Gen. Ben. McCulloch was in command. The enemy was met at Wilson's Creek, near Springfield, Mo., August 10, 1861, and defeated with severe loss. The Fourth Arkansas Infantry was stationed upon a hill across the creek from the principal fighting, supporting Capt. Reed's battery, and took no active part in the battle. It suffered no loss. Within a few days the regiment returned to Benton County and was disbanded, after a term of service of less than two months.

Regular Confederate Troops. -- Company E, Sixteenth Arkansas Infantry, was the first company of regular Confederate troops formed in Carroll County. It was organized in October, 1861, at the militia muster at Green Forest, and numbered ninety-three men. The officers were Captain, W. S. Poynor; first lieutenant, A. S. McKennon; second lieutenant, W. W. Wilson; junior second lieutenant, James H. Berry. This company, with one each from Searcy, Conway and (at present) Boone, rendezvoused at Carrollton, and were there organized as a battalion, under Lieut.-Col. Moore, ignorant of the fact that they lacked one company of having the required number for this. The "battalion" proceeded to Fayetteville, and reported to Gen. McCulloch, who declined to recognize their organization. They were detailed to Trott's store, Benton County, and there organized, with three companies from Johnson, one from Washington, one from Madison and one from Pike, into the Sixteenth Regiment of Arkansas Infantry, under Col. John F. Hill.

The regiment was in winter quarters at Elm Springs, Benton County. It was actively engaged at the battle of Pea Ridge or Elk Horn Tavern, March 7, 1862, and was stationed on the extreme left, opposed to Sigel's command. It was the charge of this regiment that recovered the body of Gen. McCulloch, which was carried off the field by several men from Company E, with others. The army moved east of the Mississippi via Van Buren and Memphis within a short time afterward. Company E participated in the battles of Farmington and Iuka, Miss. At Corinth the Sixteenth Arkansas formed part of the First Brigade of the First Divisiion of Price's corps, and was stationed on the left wing, which stormed the breastworks to the north of Corinth. In three hours Company E lost one-third of its men. Among the wounded was James H. Berry, afterward governor, and at present a member of the United States Senate.

The Sixteenth Arkansas was reorganized in 1862, when J. M. Pittman, formerly a private in Company E, became lieutenant-colonel.

In November, 1862, as part of Gen. Beall's brigade, the Sixteenth was detailed to fortify Port Hudson. July 9, 1863, this post surrendered to Gen. Banks, when the privates were paroled. Capt. Poynor and Second Lieut. Wilson escaped in a commissary wagon, returned to Carroll County, and reorganized the company, which subsequently participated in the battles of Poison Springs, Mark's Mills and Jenkins' Ferry, and finally surrendered, as part of Dockery's brigade, at Shreveport, in 1865.

Capt. Goodnight's company, recruited principally in Conway County, included about twenty-five Carroll County men. It was also in the Sixteenth Arkansas, and participated in the engagements above noted, to the fall of Port Hudson.

Company E, First Arkansas Cavalry, originally numbered 178 men, and was mustered at Carrollton with the following officers: Captain, J. W. Bishop; first lieutenant, William Gregory; second lieutenant, S. G. Sneed; third lieutenant, Robert Clark. The term of enlistment was three years, or until the close of the war. The company marched to King's River, where it encamped for the night. Here seventy-eight men withdrew, and elected ------- Dawson as captain. Capt. Bishop reported to Col. Adams at Prairie Grove, and his company became part of the Third Arkansas Infantry, which was stationed on the extreme left, near the church, during the battle here, December 7, 1863, and bore the brunt of the battle. Capt. Bishop's company lost fourteen men at one charge. After the retreat to Van Buren, Gen. Hindman directed Capt. Bishop to return to Carroll County and mount his company. It then became Company E, First Arkansas Cavalry, Harrell's battalion of Cabell's brigade, and took part in the battle of Poison Springs. Capt. Bishop was promoted to a majority on that battle-field, and John Rosson succeeded him as captain. The company was stationed at Camden and Washington, and passed the winter of 1864-65 at Marshall, Tex., where it was disbanded.

There were other companies formed in the county at various periods during the war; but the frequent reorganization of the Confederate forces renders it impossible to give an account of their services.

Regular Federal Troops. -- March 29, 1862, while the "Army of the Southwest" was lying at Cross Timbers, Mo., M. La Rue Harrison, of the Thirty-sixth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, was given authority to recruit a company for the Sixth Missouri Cavalry, and proposed to enlist citizens of Arkansas, many of whom had escaped the Confederate conscription and fled into Missouri. The facility with which this was accomplished prompted the organization of the First Regiment Arkansas Cavalry Volunteers, which was effected August 7, 1862. Company G of this regiment was made up almost entirely of Carroll County men. Rowan E. M. Mack was captain; Joshua S. Dudley, first lieutenant. Hiram S. Shahan, of Carroll County, was quartermaster-sergeant. Nearly all the men were enlisted in July and August, 1862. Company K, Theodore Youngblood, captain, Dr. F. Youngblood, first lieutenant, was also largely made up of Carroll County men. The regiment constituted the advance guard of Gen. Schofield's command, the Army of the Frontier, during the campaign of 1862. It was stationed for a time at Elk Horn Tavern and Cassville, under Lieut.-Col. A. W. Bishop. Col. Harrison assumed command December 5, and under him the regiment participated in the battle of Prairie Grove. January 8, 1863, a detachment under Lieuts. Thompson and Vaughan participated in the defeat of Marmaduke at Springfield; and later in the same month another detachment was actively engaged in the vicinity of Van Buren. The regiment, with others, constituted the post of Fayetteville, and successfully withstood an attack from the Confederate Gen. Cabell April 18, 1863. October 3, 1864, a similar attack from greatly superior numbers was also repelled. Throughout the remainder of the war the regiment was engaged in suppressing the guerrilla bands that infested the northwestern part of the State. It was mustered out August 23, 1865. The Second Arkansas Cavalry, in which were many Carroll County men, was originally organized as the First Arkansas Mounted Rangers, and was formed at Helena by Col. W. James Morgan, in 1862. In August, 1863, the regiment not having yet been filled, it was transferred to Col. John E. Phelps, who rendezvoused at Springfield and Cassville, "recruiting with such energy and success that, on the 18th of March, 1864, he was mustered in as colonel, twelve full companies having been formed." The regiment was afterward in active service in Mississippi and Tennessee. It was mustered out August 20, 1865.

In various Missouri regiments and several regiments of Arkansas infantry Carroll County was also represented. It is not possible, however, to go into detail in this matter.

Operations in the County -- The first armed force that appeared in Carroll County was that of Brig.-Gen. McBride, Confederate, en route from Batesville to Elm Springs, Benton County, with his command, numbering 4,000 or 5,000 men. Passing through in June, 1861, they encamped for the night at Green Forest. Their progress was not marked by any violence. After the battle of Wilson's Creek numerous small bodies passed through the county frequently.

A strong Federal force was thrown into Southwestern Missouri in the spring of 1862, and, aware that a decisive battle was approaching, an effort was made to prevent the enemy from concentrating his forces, and to divert his attention from the actual point of attack. A movement of this character, executed by Col. C. A. Ellis, is thus described by him in reporting to his superior officer:

Headquarters First Missouri Cavalry. )
Camp on Sugar Creek, Ark., March 9, 1862. )

General: In obedience to your order of the 2nd instant, to proceed to Keetsville and send forward a commissary train reported to be there, and then to make a reconnaissance of the country east of the position occupied by our forces, I marched with 140 men on the morning of the 3rd, accompanied by Col. Pease, of your staff, to Keetsville, and forwarded the train as directed. I then proceeded east to the Roaring River, and north eight miles northeast of Cassville, Mo., and finding no appearance of the enemy, bivouacked for the night. At daylight of the morning of the 4th I again moved forward in the direction of Morris' Mill, on the White River, where a camp of the rebels was reported to be in that vicinity. I reached the mills about 4 P.M. Finding no enemy there, I at once moved forward in the direction of Berryville, over the most broken country it is possible to conceive, crossing the White River six times in traveling eight miles. At 10 P.M. having found forage for our horses. I camped for the night, and again, at daylight of the 5th, moved forward on the road to Berryville. When about two miles, I arrested two men of suspicious appearance, and from them obtained information that a company was organizing at Berryville to leave on the following morning.

Moving forward as rapidly as the nature of the ground would admit, I soon came to the suburbs of the town, and observed a body of horsemen moving north on the road leading in that direction. Taking two companies, I went in pursuit: Col. Pease, with the balance of the command, in the meantime surrounded the town, taking some fifty prisoners, twenty-two horses and fifty stand of arms.

My horses being much worn, I was unable to undertake those that had left, and after destroying three wagons partially loaded with stores belonging to the enemy, I returned to King's River and bivouacked.

At early dawn the next morning the command was ordered to saddle, and, as men and horses were exhausted, and a snow-storm prevailing, I concluded on returning to camp, which I reached at 2 A.M. on the morning of the 7th. I found forage exceedingly scarce, failing to secure sufficient over the whole region I scoured in that direction to supply the immediate wants of my command.

C. A. Ellis, Colonel, Commanding First Missouri Cavalry.
Brig.-Gen. Jeff. C. Davis, Commanding Third Division.

E. B. Brown, brigadier-general commanding Southwestern division of Missouri (Federals), states in his dispatches that six squadrons of cavalry left Cassville June 12, 1862, to break up a camp of 400 near Berryville. It is extremely improbable that there was any such camp there at the time. The result of the expedition is not known.

Gen. Herron, with his command, numbering about 20,000 men, marched through the county in December, 1863, after the battle of Prairie Grove en route for Forsythe, Mo. This army encamped at Carrollton about a week. Gen. Blount, in command of 3,000 Kansas troops, encamped there the previous spring. It cannot be said that this visitation is remembered with gratitude by the people of the vicinity.

The only skirmish in which any considerable body of men was involved occurred April 16, 1863, on a farm now owned by Martin Trantham, a quarter of a mile from Yokum Creek. Companies G. and K, First Arkansas Cavalry (Federal), under Capts. Roan Mack and Theodore Youngblood, with a number of non-combatants whom they were conducting from the State into Missouri, with personal property of some value, were pursued by about 700 Confederates under Capts. Bailey, Dillon and others. Seven of the latter were killed, includng the gallant Capt. Dillon. The federal loss was one killed and nine wounded, of whom seven died. The advantage was with the Confederates.

In April, 1864, Capt. George E. Gaddy, Federal, encountered Capt. McFarland on Race Track hollow. Lieut. Jesse Patty, Federal, was killed.

A skirmish occurred at Carrollton August 14, 1864, in which several were killed.

It would be futile to attempt an enumeration of all the various encounters that occurred through the war. Warfare became predatory. Armed bands of robbers infested the country, the terror of those they pretended to befriend no less than those they openly attacked.

The following hitherto unpublished account of the manner in which a company of guerrillas was disposed is presented through the courtesy of A. H. Foote, Esq.; it was prepared by S. C. Mills, Esq.:

"In the early part of the winter of 1863, while the First Regiment of Arkansas Cavalry was quartered at Lebanon, Mo., word was brought to headquarters that a band of bushwhackers were robbing the Union people in Stone County, Mo., and all along the Missouri line in that vicinity. Company F, Second Arkansas Cavalry, having been recruited in Stone County, Mo., and Carroll County, Ark., was selected to drive out Capt. Railey and his band of thirty-five bushwhackers. After reaching Stone County, Company F, Captain Berry in command, was not long in finding out where Capt. Railey and his band were, and were soon in hot pursuit. Railey, finding himself pursued, started for Leatherwood ford, on White River, at the mouth of Leatherwood Creek. Upon his arrival at the river, he found it rising rapidly, and crossed with his command and their plunder as rapidly as possible, starting up Leatherwood Creek to find shelter for the night. Thinking that the river would be impassable by the time his pursuers reached the ford, he had no further fears of pursuit. They went about three miles up the creek to Skelton farm, and went into quarters for the night, occupying the two farm houses. When Company F reached the ford it was found that Railey and his band had crossed, and that the river was past fording. Night coming on, the commanding officer did not think it safe to attempt to cross that night. First Lieut. John Williams, with Privates Samuel Gaskins and James Hobbs, were detailed to cross the river and keep the trail, these three men having been brought up on the creek, and get all the information possible. Swimming their horses across the river above the ford they followed the trail. Before reaching the Skelton farm they found that Railey and his band had taken possession of the houses and were then eating supper. It was nearly dark and they had not been discovered. They concluded to charge Railey and his men at once, which was done in splendid style. With a revolver in each hand, firing as they came, they completely surprised Railey and his men, who jumped out of the windows and took to the brush, bare-headed and unarmed. Railey and four of his men were wounded and one killed. This was doubtless one of the boldest and most successful charges against the greatest odds during the war. The next morning, while in pursuit of Railey and his scattered band, they overtook the notorious guerrilla, Calvin Dunaway, killing him in a hand-to-hand fight, and shooting him eighteen times before he gave up; he lived but a few minutes after doing so. His wildcat fur cap was sent to headquarters at Lebanon, Mo. After the death of Dunaway Railey discharged his men, and all was quiet in this vicinity during the raminder of the winter.

Col. John E. Phelps, of the First Arkansas Cavalry (Federal), occupied Berryville with his regiment in 186--. Companies A, E and G, Second Arkansas Cavalry (Federal), under the command of Capt. A. Roberts, took possession of Berryville in February, 1864. Capt. George E. Gaddy was organizing a company of home guards on Long Creek at this time; it was mustered in at Fayetteville, February 28, 1864. A similar company, recruited by Capt. Joseph G. Walker, was attached to the Federal force at Berryville. In April, 1864, Company G was ordered to Easley's Ferry on the White River. June 8, 1864, Capt. Gaddy reported at Berryville with his company; Capt. Walker's company disbanded and re-enlisted in Companies A and E, and Capt. Gaddy's company, evacuated Berryville, the former to proceed to Cassville, the latter to re-enforce Company G at Easley's Ferry, and thus ended the Federal occupation of Carroll County.

The population of the county in 1860 was about 10,000, of whom it is reasonable to suppose the 3,000 were capable of bearing arms. Few able-bodied men remained at home. Such as were not received as regular soldiers, from old age or other causes, followed the different armies as sutlers, commissaries, etc. The exact number of men furnished each side cannot be definitely ascertained, but the general impression seems to be that the total number of soldiers furnished during the war from what is now Carroll County was about 2,000.

Pensioners. -- The report of the commissioner of pensions for November, 1886, shows that in Carroll County there were 121 invalids, receiving $1,344.25; twenty-three widows, receiving $280; one minor, receiving $16; four dependents, receiving $36; one survivor of the War of 1812, receiving $8; six widows of the War of 1812, receiving $48; total number of pensioners, 156; amount dispensed per month, $1,732.25. There were more pensioners than in any other county in the State.

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