Red River Campaign

Michael has a BA in History & American Studies and an MSc in American History from the University of Edinburgh. He comes from a proud military family and has spent most of his career as an educator in the Middle East and Asia. His passion is travel, and he seizes any opportunity to share his experiences in the most immersive way possible, whether at sea or on the land.

Red River Sections
1 (pages 1-13) | 2 (pages 14-21) | 3 (pages 22-30) | 4 (pages 31-39) | 5 (pages 40-50) | 6 (pages 51-59) | 7 (pages 60-69) | 8 (pages 70-76)

Lt. Carr returned, 29 rebels of Shelby's command appeared on river seven miles below. By time scout got over they were gone. Maj. Lovejoy is in Perry County with 80 dismounted men on a four days scout.

A.H. RYAN, Commanding
3rd Ark. Cav.

It would appear Major Lovejoy was now leading dismounted patrols. He was evidently still in the doghouse with the higher command.

There was also the problem of running into friendly troops being sent out from other commands. On June 19th Col. Ryan inquired if there were other scouting parties in the vicinity of Quitman, and was informed that there was a detachment of the 22nd Ohio Infantry there. On the 19th there was another dispatch:

Lewisburg, June 19, 1864

Capt. C.H. Dyer, Asst. Adj. Gen.

Dispatch just received from Captain. Napier (I Company), Boston Mountains. He reports Jackman, Newton, and others having passed through there on the 9th inst. with 300 to 400 men, and when last heard from were at Brownsville. He reports the country infested with small bands of rebels, mostly deserters from both armies. He captured 2 from this regiment, 1 of whom was shot trying to escape guard. The other will be sent down under charges. He also sent in 4 men of the 2nd Arkansas Cavalry, who had been cut off from their command and were living out in the mountains.


Colonel, Commanding Post.

The treatment of deserters in this case should be noted, as it would seem to me to be difficult to determine who had deserted, and who had simply been cut off from their units. Later Major Lovejoy returned and the following dispatch was sent:

Lewisburg, June 22, 1864

Capt. C.H. Dyer, Asst. Adj. Gen.

Major Lovejoy has returned from scout in Perry County. There was to have been a meeting at Dr. Hill's plantation on Saturday last for the purpose of organizing the citizens in that vicinity, and after the harvest to join Connelly's company, who is now in the vicinity of Danville with about 50 men. They are the only organized force over there at the present time. Major Lovejoy went over last Thursday night and Friday morning with 80 dismounted men, marching 25 miles the first day over the Petit Jean Mountains, in order to surprise the enemy, but news


of their coming was carried to Hill by a man named Burroughs, a,citizen who has taken the oath. The Major captured two prisoners; the rest of the gang escaped. The men marched 80 miles of mountain country and returned completely worn out.


Commanding Post.

If Jim Nunnally and F Company were still with Maj. Lovejoy, they had had a hard scout on foot. I doubt that this is the case, as F Company now would appear to be in Maj. Van Houten's battalion.

Two dispatches were sent on the 23rd:

Lewisburg, June 23, 1864

Capt. C.H. Dyer, Asst. Adj. Gen.:

Scouts in from Norristown and Galla Rock. All quiet on the river. Small squads of rebels seen opposite Galla Rock. None in Dardanelle. Lt. Carr(G Company) is on scout to Dover; will return by Glass Village and Point Remove Creek.

Col. Commanding, 3rd Ark. Cav.

In his monthly repost of operations he expanded on this report:

Lt. Carr (Co. G) returned at noon from a scout to Norristown, Dover, Glass Village etc. After leaving Dover he detached Sergeant and 10 men and sent them back to that place. They ran onto 20 of Jackaway's gang, and chased them to the hills where they escaped. Lt. Carr reports the country he passed through comparatively quiet. A scout of 4 men of Company D killed two of Hill's gang, who have been burning our boats between Galley Rock and Norristown. They captured a so-called Union man who has been in the habit of feeding bushwackers; also captured 5 horses.

Col., Commanding Post.

His last dispatch for the month concerned Shelby, who was still north of the Arkansas, and capable of causing all sorts of problems:

Lewisburg, June 23, 1864

Capt. C.H. Dyer
Asst. Adj. Gen.

Jackman is 8 miles west of Grand Glaize conscripting, to raise a regiment to report to Shelby. He is reported to have about 300 men, half of them armed. Jocelyn is near Red River


Mills with 25 or 30 men cutting wheat. An escaped prisoner states that there is a rumor on Red River that Shelby is west of the White River again. Is there any truth in it ?

A. H. RYAN, COL. Commanding Post

And so June, 1864, drew to a close. Summer was now here, and weather conditions were improving. It would be easier for cavalry to operate. But still the initiative was with the Confederate forces. Shelby was in the White River valley conscripting and recruiting men to the Southern cause. South was the large Confederate army of Gen. Kirby Smith (CSA). The Union forces held the Valley of the Arkansas River, and the Third Arkansas Cavalry, at Lewisburg, continued patrolling and scouting in it's operational area.

A Muster-Roll was made June 30, 1864, at Lewisburg for F Company. 61 men and officers were available for duty, with 79 being the full strength. Several were sick, including Captain Herring. 3 men had died in hospital since the las muster on April 30, 1864, and 2 men had deserted. Private James Scott Nunnally was present and available for duty.



As the heat of summer came on the Federal army continued to hold the Valley of the Arkansas River, and little else in the state. Jo Shelby (CSA) was operating in the White River Valley, and south of the Arkansas were large Confederate forces under the command of Gen. Kirby Smith (CSA). Guerrillas and small Confederate units continued to harass Union families and commerce on the river. Bushwackers became bolder every day.

The 3rd Arkansas Cavalry, now at Lewisburg, tried to keep the enemy off balance, by striking at them in a series of scouts and patrols. They were also trying to learn the enemy's plans.

On July 4, 1864, Captain Hamilton took 55 men of K Company on a raid into Searcy, Ark., and killed 7 rebels, capturing 3 officers and 53 men.

On July 6th, Lt. Mason made a scout north into Norristown and returned with 3 deserters, and destroyed several skiffs that rebels had been using to cross the river.

Clarkson, now in command at Lewisburg sent the following dispatch the next day:

Lewisburg, July 7, 1864, 12.00 noon.

Capt C.H. Dyer:

My scouting party, just in from up the river, report seeing 300 men on island three miles below Dardanelle. They are in force on the other side of the river, generally reported to be Cabell. They are building flat-boats there, undoubtedly to cross Shelby, whom they are daily expecting. I have no way to dislodge them unless I had a steamboat with artillery on it, when I think a very important capture could readily be made, as there is but one way to get off the island. Lt. Wishard, in charge of the scout, saw them water 200 horses there. I am watching there movements closely, although the island they are on prevents my interference, as they work behind the island.

T.S. CLARKSON, Major, Commanding

I assume that this scout was made by F Company as Lt. Wishard was it's second in command. Nunnally was probably with them as they observed the enemy below Dardanelle.

The next day General CARR, at Little Rock inquired about the island below Dardanelle, and the best course to take it.

The following reply was sent:

Lewisburg, July 8, 1864

Capt. C.H. Dyer, Asst. Adj. Gen.

From the latest news I judge the enemy on the island to be some


400 men, who were collected on opposite side of the river and are to join Shelby when he goes out. Cabell is not here, although some of them told a union woman he was to be there on the 5th. The best way to dislodge them is to send a boat of troops and a piece of artillery there. Let the troops debark below and march up in the rear while the artillery shells them in front. My scouts are lying opposite them watching their movements.

Major, Commanding Post.

There are no further dispatches concerning this matter.

On July 11th Lt. Treadway took Company B and made a scout near Devil's Fork, killing rebel Capt. Christopher and 1 man.

On the 12th Capt. Gill and C Company returned from a scout up the Arkansas to Petit Jean , where he engaged Capt. Adam's company, killed 3 and wounded several of the enemy.

On the 17th Lt. Williams and L Company returned to Lewisburg from a scout to Norristown and Dover, having killed 3 bushwackers and 2 horses on the river below Norristown.

On the 22nd, Capt. Taylor and M Company, returned to Lewisburg from a scout to the Red River, killing 4 of the enemy.

On the 24th, Lt. Reynolds and G Company, returned to Lewisburg from a scout 8 miles beyond Camp Myrick, having killed 10 of Jackman's (CSA) and Shelby's (CSA) men, and bringing in 3 prisoners.

On the 26th the following dispatch was sent to Col. Ryan, now back in command at Lewisburg:

Little Rock
July 26, 1864

Commanding, Lewisburg.

It is reported that there is a large quantity of stores at your post, which have been taken off from boats going up the river to lighten them. It is proposed in that case to send reinforcements to you. Report what amount of stores there is and at what point, and immediately commence your preparations for defense.

Brig. Gen., Commanding


This would seem to indicate that there were already rumors of activity by the Confederates to the South, and that Col. Ryan had asked for reinforcements. Col. Ryan recieved another dispatch the same day:

Little Rock, Ark., July 26, 1864

Colonel RYAN, Lewisburg

Reinforcements for you left to-day. You will probably receive definite instructions, but in our opinion you will be strong enough to act offensively or defensively as you may desire. Your reputation as a soldier depends on your vigilance. Hang upon the rear and rest your men often.


P.S. Wheeler and the rest of your staff friends have an eye tight upon you. We must do something.


From this dispatch I conclude that the rumors in the South were being taken seriously. Col. Ryan and the 3'rd Arkansas were in a crucial position, as an army would ford the Arkansas somewhere in his operational area. He was also informed that the 29th Iowa and the 10th Illinois Cavalry and Marr's artillery battery were being sent to him. The 3rd Arkansas was evidently still in the doghouse, as per Clarkson's addition of "We must do something".

On the 25th Col. Ryan had sent Captain Herring and F Company into Yell County on a 18 day scout. As July draws to an end Jim Nunnally is with his company in Yell County, and one wonders did he get to Bluffton and see his youg wife and 4 year old daughter.?

To the south a storm is building. General Kirby Smith (CSA) has now decided on a major operation. He will send all his cavalry on an invasion of Missouri, capture St. Louis, recruit many men, and persuade Missouri to secede and join the Confederacy. It was an ambitious plan to say in the least this late in the war. To command it he chose an infantry officer, General Sterling Price. He probably chose him because he was the highest ranking man from Missouri in the Army, and was very popular in his home state. He was a good infantry officer, and had won some success in the Red River Campaign, but was completely unsuited for a cavalry command. And this was to be a all-ca valry operation.

On the 4th of August, 1864, Kirby Smith issued Price his orders:

"General: You will make immediate arrangements for a movement into Missouri, with the entire cavalry force in your district. Gen. Shelby should be instructed to have his command in Northeast


Arkansas ready to move by the 20th instant. You can instruct him to await your arrival with the column .... General Shelby's old brigade, increased by the one raised in Northeast Arkansas can be organized into a division under his command ....... 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 Missouri, and remember our great want is men ...... Your recruits will probably be mounted; deal frankly with them ... Make St. Louis the objective point of your movement ...... Should you be compelled to withdraw from the State, make your retreat through Kansas and the Indian Territory, sweeping that country of it's mules, horses, cattle, and military
supplies of all kind ..... "

So this was the plan, a great Confederate army would pass through Arkansas on it's way to capture St. Louis and bring Missouri into the Confederacy. Price made his plans, he would cross the Arkansas at Dardanelle. Once again a large army would move through Yell County, requisitioning supplies and crops, stealing livestock, and causing all kinds of sorrows.

In the meantime The 3rd Arkansas Cavalry kept to it's work.

On August 11, 1864, Captain Herring returned from an 18 day scout in Yell county; killed the two Newsome brothers. Capt. Herring reported that the rebels are running conscripts, Africans and captured and stolen property south by way of Centre Point and Caddo Gap. Jim Nunnally would have been on this scout.

On August 12, 1864, Lt. Col. Fuller returned from a scout to Kinderhook, Richwoods and Wiley's Cove, and reported that he had killed 1 and captured 12 of the enemy.

On August 13th Captain Hinkle with L Company, sent in 10 prisoners captured near Quitman.

On August 14th Ryan reported that Capt. Boles (E Company) returned last night from a scout to Dardanell, Danville and Bluffton; had two skirmishes, 2 of his men wounded. Killed 3 wounded 4, and brought in 3 prisoners. Capt. Blansell,bushwacker, of Scott's company was killed. No enemy in Perry and Yell Counties except bushwackers.

In the meantime General Carr, begin to see the difficulty of Ryan's position at Lewisburg. He sent him a dispatch removing the 29th Iowa and Marr's battery, and warned him to have his command ready to move, with orders to even leave the sick there. He adds "We have no particular news of the enemy's movements. It is intended to make Lewisburg only an outpost for the present. Do not let anyone but commanders know of the proposed movement till it commences"


Col. Ryan replied with the following dispatch:

Lewisburg, August 20, 1864

Brig. Gen. E.A. CARR

General: I have on hand at this post 120,000 rations, about 250 tons. The only transportation here is that belonging to the regiments and not sufficient to haul the Government property in possession of the regiments. To abandon this post it would force me to destroy about 200 tons of government stores, unless transportation can be furnished from Little Rock. With what troops are here I think I can hold this place against Shelby, and if you can spare another infantry regiment I know I can. I trust, General, that you will permit the troops that are here to remain, and I am confident that they will not disappoint you. In a morale point of view, as far as this section of the country is concerned, I think it will have a bad effect on our cause, as the people here have been led to believe that we are firmly fixed at this post and they act accordingly. The mere appearance of a withdrawal of troops from this post will seem to them to be an acknowledgement that we are unable or afraid to cope with the forces under Shelby, and I should be sorry to have them believe either.Of course, General, I only speak of matters as I see them from here, not knowing the movements of the enemy in other parts of the State. I trust you will excuse them if my ideas seem to be limited ones, and pardon the liberty I have taken in expressing them.


A.H. RYAN, Colonel

If Shelby (CSA) had been Ryan's only problem, it may have been different, but a storm was building in the South. As August came to a close General Price (CSA) had assembled his force in the Camden-Princeton area. He has been delayed by the late arrival of stores. His exact strength is unknown to this day. General Price claimed to have 12,000 cavalrymen, but his Inspector- General gave a figure of 9,000. At any rate it was a large army, all mounted, although many of the men were unarmed.

Don't think of this army in terms of graycoated cavalrymen led by officers in beautiful uniforms, and mounted on fine horses. These men were veterans, and the war was 4 years old. Most had long ago worn out what uniforms they had. They were dressed in homespun, or whatever the had been able to get. They were armed with a variety of equipment, both Federal and personal. They may have looked rag-tag, but they were a potent force.

On August 30, General Price started his march toward the Arkansas River, planning to cross at Dardanelle. 10,000 Cavalrymen, horse


artillery, and a long wagon train. He moved much slower than Shelby moved a few weeks before. One reason was that there was a good deal of stopping and speech -making, trying to recruit men to the cause. For another thing Price was riding in a carriage driven by a servant, hardly the picture of a cavalry division commander.

On August 30th, Lt. King, with E Company of 40 men attacked Capt. Franc's rebel force from Dardanelle, and captured 30 stands of small arms, and 30 horses and saddles. They killed 1 mand and wounded one, the rebels escaping by swimming Beatty's Mill Creek.

On August 31, 1864, a Muster Roll was taken of F Company, which I have reproduced, as it is the last time the company will be at this strength. Nunnally is present,and company strength is some is some 69 officers and men. They are stationed at Lewisburg, with their regiment. Regimental strength at this time was probably less than 1,000 men. And moving north toward them was General Sterling Price (CSA) and some 10,000 cavalrymen.



Bright W. Herring, Capt.   John M. Wishard, 1st Lt.   Hiram Dacus, 2nd Lt.   Thomas M. Jones, 1st Sgt.   Erastus Foster, Sgt.   Thadius Haney, Sgt.   John Briggs, Duty Sgt.   Ripley Woodward, Sgt.   Elisha A. Johnson, Sgt   William Smith, Sgt.   James J. Crownover, Cpl.   Thomas Choate, Cpl.   Simion Pledger, Cpl.   William Crownover, Cpl. AWOL since Aug. 20th Nathaniel Page, Cpl.   William Lyon, Cpl.   Samuel Huckaby, Cpl.   Jesse McMillan, Cpl.   Hampton Taylor, Blacksmith AWOL William Dacus, Trumpter AWOL Daniel Trobaugh, Saddler   John A. Moore, Wagoner   Barrett, James M., Pvt.   Bomegarner, Thomas, Pvt. Sick at Hospital in Little Rock since May 29 Buchanan, John A., Pvt.   Barnett, Hugh M., Pvt.   Barnett, James M., Pvt.   Clanton, William, Pvt.   Crownover, John, Pvt.   Crabtree, Joseph, Pvt.   Campbell, Thomas J., Pvt.   Dees, Griffin, Pvt. Sick in Hospital at Camden since April, 1864 Dees, Alexander, Pvt.   Donald, Noah, Pvt.   Gray, William, Pvt.   Giger, George S., Pvt.   George, Hardin W., Pvt.   George, Robert, Pvt.   George, James D. AWOL since Aug. 26th Guinn, James S., Pvt.   Guinn, Joseph, Pvt.   Haines, William, Pvt.   Hill, William A., Pvt.   Hames, Lemuel L., Pvt.   Haney, John J., Pvt.   Huckaby, Kneland F., Pvt.   Haney, Clarence E., Pvt. reduced from Sgt. Ivey, John, Pvt.   Inman, Hesikiah J., Pvt.   Johnson, Burke, Pvt.   Ladd, Milton, Pvt.   Ladd, Joseph, Pvt.  
Morse, Henry, Pvt.   Morse, Jame A., Pvt.   Morris, William A., Pvt.   Miller, Lewis, Pvt. Absent on Furlough, since July 4, 64 McCurley, Milander F., Pvt.   Mills, Chas. D, Pvt.   Mills, John A., Pvt.   Mullinax, Isaac G., Pvt.   Mitchell, William, Pvt.   Marney, Samuel, Pvt. AWOL since Aug. 26th Nunnally, James S., Pvt.   Power, Lewis, Pvt.   Page, John R., Pvt.   Prewette, Wm. D., Pvt.   Rainey, Francis, Pvt.   Satterfield, Marcus L., Pvt.   Sloan, Thomas A, Pvt.   Sloan, James S., Pvt.   Satterfield, Peter L., Pvt.   Stinnet, Joseph, Pvt.   Taylor, Thomas J., Pvt.   Thomas, James K, Pvt. AWOL Williams, Lewis, Pvt.   Wysinger, James E., Pvt.  


Brewer, Joseph, Pvt.
Pickins, Samuel, Pvt.
Tate, James M., Pvt.


The above research, written by Paul P. Steed, Jr. is entitled Arkansas Fed.

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