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


After the war ended most of the men of F Company continued to live in Yell County. An examination of the Census of 1870, that 40 men on the Muster-Out roll were living in Yell County in 1870. This includes 24 men who were on the Master List of Deserters. Others applied for pensions throughout the years, indicating they were still living in the state, and a few had moved on to Oklahoma and Texas. SOme men have not been accounted for at all, Private Noah Dowell, Private James D. George and Private Lewis Powers. It may be that these men, on the deserter's list met the same fate as Jim Nunnally.

The old veterans of F Company kept in touch with each other over years, as we find them witnessing and attesting to Pension Appli­ cations and the like. One imagines that they also had reunions, and fought once more against Shelby, and discussed past campaigns, and scouts. I can't help but wonder if the events of September 7, 1864, was ever discussed.

45 Men of Company F, or their widows, applied for pensions, from Joseph Crabtree's widow in 1865 to Robert George's widow in 1933- a period of 68 years. The author has examined many, but not all of these pension applications, and they give an indication of life for the Union veteran in Confederate Arkansas.

Captain Bright W. Herring lived out his life in Yell County, dying May 7, 1887. He is buried in the Old Shark Cemetery about 8 miles West of Danville. His tombstone reads "Captain, Co. F, Third Arkansas Cavalry, USA. This is the nearest there is to a monument to the Third Arkansas Cavalry in Arkansas. He stated on his pension application, that he suffered from various illnesses contracted during the war. His application was attested to by James J. Crownover, a deserter, who never returned, And Francis White, also a deserter. He made no mention of his dismissal from the service, although the person handling the application certainly did. After Herring's death, his widow applied, and as proof of her marriage, stated that John Ivey, a member of F Company, who also so attested, attended her wedding.

Lt. John M. Wishard, who took over command of the Company after Captain Herring's dismissal, moved to the South. He applied for an invalid's Pension in 1875, and died in Comanche, Texas, May 14, 1914.

Lt. Hiram Dacus became a doctor after the war, after attending medical school in Cincinnati, Ohio. He also served as a Justice of the Peace in Dardanelle. He was also elected State Represenative.

Private Thomas D. Boemgarner, had quite a career. His father had to California during the gold rush of 1849, but returned to Arkansas, where he purchased some 500 acres near Danville. His son left school to join the 3rd. He was captured at Arkadelphia, and later paroled. After the war he attended Normal University at Normal, Illinois. He became sherriff of Yell County and county clerk.


Pvt. Hugh M. Barnett applied for a pension in 1902. He was a deserter of September 7, 1864, but returned. The pension states that the charge of desertion has been removed as "this soldier left his command... with verbal permission from his company commander" "He was prevented from joining his command until Nov. 18, 1864 by presence of the enemy." His application was attested to by Milton A. Hames of D Company and Peter L. Satterfield of F Company.

Private James J. Crownover applied for a pension in 1895. As he was a deserter of September 7, 1864, and did not return, the pension application was denied. He made the statement that "he served and left without discharge". In 1907 he again applied to have the charge of desertion removed, and this was denied.

Pvt. William A. Hill applied for a pension, stating he returned to duty February 19, 1865 from desertion on September 7, 1864. He was restored to duty with loss of pay only. His application was made in 1890 and he was living in Yell County. It was attested to by F Company members Ripley J. Woodward and Elisha P. Johnson.

Private William A. Morris made a pension application, but had moved from Yell County by the time in 1892. He received his pension and it continued until his death, and then to his widow until she remarried.

Private James Scott Nunnally, Jr, will be in the next chapter, on the aftermath of the family.

Pvt. Nathaniel Page was carried on the October 10, 1864 Muster Roll as having been killed in action September 7, 1864. However he later returned, ans served with the company until he died 1 April 1865. His widow applied for a pension and it was granted. Clarence Haney, of F Company, attested to it.

Simeon Pledger applied for a pension in 1890. He was one of the deserters of September 7, 1864, and did not return to duty until February 17, 1865, over 5 months later. He had been restored to duty. His pension application brings up the fact that "although the charge of desertion has been removed, his absence cannot be expunged". Alexander Dees, of F Company, and a deserter who did not return to the company, attested to the facts. The pension was continued to Pledger's widow after his death.

Francis White, a Private of F Company" left a biographical sketch He stated:

"He, like all of his patriotic countrymen, was a soldier in the late unpleasantness, operating with Company F, Third Arkansas Cavalry, Federal Army, Capt. Fuller, commanding, and from the date of his enlistment January 1, 1863, was in the following battles, Prairie de Anne, Saline River and , Princeton. At the latter place he was disabled by a fall from his horse ..... He was taken prisoner, and released on parole, and discharged at Danville in May, 1865."


Clarence E. Haney also left a biographical sketch in which he stated:

"he was conscripted into Company F of Col. Hawthorne's regiment serving two years, and participating in the Battle of Prairie Grove, then deserted the Confederate Side, and joined the Federal Army at Little Rock, and fought in a number of battles and skirmishes, and was wounded and taken prisoner; was exchanged and given a furlough, and received his final discha rge at Lewisburg (now Morrilton) July 18, 1865.

Haney returned to Yell County and resumed farming, raising mostly cotton and corn.

Although not of F Company, Thomas Boles, who commanded E Company also left a biographical sketch. In this statment he says he campaigned strongly against secession, and that it was due in part to his influence that 500 voted againt secession. He was active in the Union League. He formed a Company in 1863, and was captured at Arkadelphia. He says that a Confederate guard threw away a bucket of water when he found it was due for Federal prisoners. His family was robbed of everything by guerrillas. After the war he was elected a judge and later had a seat in Congress. After his term he practiced law at Dardanelle.

As to some of the other players in the Civil War drama in Arkansas.

General E. A. Carr, who commanded all the Union cavalry in Arkansas, was a West Point graduate of the Class of 1850. He made a great reputation after the Civil War as an Indian fighter on the plains, with the 5th and 6th Cavalry. Among the Sioux he was known as "War Eagle". He retired as a Brigadier General in 1893, and took and early interest in the National geographical Society. He died in 1910 and is buried at West Point.

General Frederick Steele, who commanded the Department of Arkansas for the Union, was a West Point graduate of the Class of 1843. After the war he remained in the service. He died in 1868 in a carrige accident in California. He had served in the Mexican, Civil and Indian Wars.

As to some of the Confederates:

General Kirby Smith, commander of all the Confederate Forces west of the Mississippi River, was a graduate of West Point in the Class of 1845. He commanded the last Southern army in the field. After the war he served as President of the University of Nashville, and taught at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, where he died in 1893.


The Third Arkansas Cavalry's old nemesis, General Joe Shelby, to his disgrace, vowed never to surrender, and led a mob of several hundred men into Mexico and offered his services to the Emperor Maxmillian. Maxmillian declined the use of Shelby as a soldier, but granted him land on which he lived until Maxmillian's fall. He buried his old battle flag in Mexico and returned to Missouri. He was very popular in his home state and resumed farming. He was later appointed a U.S. Marshal, and died in 1897.

General W. L. Cabell, whose brigade swept aside the Third Arkansas Cavalry, that fateful day of September 7, 1864, was a graduate of West Point of the Class of 1850. He was taken prisoner during the "Great Missouri Raid" and held until August, 1865. He became a lawyer in Ft. Smith, Arkansas, and later moved to Dallas, Texas. Here he served as mayor for four terms and served as Commander of the Trans-Mississippi Department of the United Confederate Veterans until his death in 1916. He established a well known Dallas family, and his Grandson, was the author's congressman for a number of years.

Time took it's toll of the men who rode with the Third Arkansas Cavalry, Company F, and one by one they passed away. On the 3rd of January 1933, Private Robert George died in Centerville, Ark. As far as I have been able to determine he was the surviving member of F Company. He had enlisted 20 January 1864 at age 16 in Yell County. He was 85 years old at his death. When the author was 10 years old there was still a man alive who had ridden with his great grandfather, James Scott Nunnally, Jr.

In a state where every county courthouse has it's statue of a Confederate soldier, there is no monument to the Third Arkansas Cavalry. However there is a larger monument - a Union of fifty states extending from the South Seas to the Polar Sea to the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico. I think the men of the Third would have asked for nothing more.



If she hadn't done so before, Melissa Plancina Pruitt Nunnally, and her daughter, Martha Jane, moved in with her mother Melissa Pruitt after Jim's death. She had kept in touch with Jim's family, and when James Scott N nnally, Sr. died in Tippah County, Mississippi in 1868, Plancina Nunnally, widow of James Nunnally, dec'd., and her child Martha Jane Nunnally, of Danville in Yell County, Arkansas, were among the heirs cited in a Petition for the Sale of Land by James Nunnally Sr.'s widow Parthenia, dated December 21, 1868. One hopes they received something.

When the first pension law was passed, Melissa Nunnally applied for a widow's pension on August 20, 1869. She was the first widow of a soldier of F Company, 3rd Arkansas Cavalry, to do so. She was living at Bluffton, and stated that James Nunley (sic) was killed in the line of duty 8 October 1864. Two sergeants of F Company, John T. Briggs and Ripley J. Woodward attested to the facts. The pension was turned down, as James S. Nunnally, Jr. was still carried as a deserter.

In the 1870 censes, taken in Bluffton, 11 May, 1870 we find:

Pruitt, Melissa J. 59 FW Keeping House 1800 KY

Andrew W.










Ann C.



School Teacher







Nunnelly, Plancina



Keeping House







Although fatherless, Martha Jane Nunnally grew up in the Pruitt household, with many aunts and uncles who were more like brothers and sisters to her. Her uncle John Pruitt had returned from the Confederate service, and set up a medical practice at Russellville, Arkansas, where he became a well known and successful physician. Martha Jane Nunnally (the author's grandmother) always spoke in the highest terms of the Pruitt family, and the families had visits and correspondence until her death. Melissa Pruitt Nunnally later married Alonzo Burris and had one child Osea Burris, According to a note left by my grandmother she died and is buried at Bluffton, although I have been unable to find the grave. She was one of the families most remarkable women, and I hope some female member of the family will collect the stories about her and do a biography.

On May 18, 1877, Martha Jane Nunnally married James Wesley White, at Russellville, Arkansas in Pope County. The Whites had come through the war destitute, but remained staunch unionists and republicans.

Over the next 27 years this union would produce 8 children 4 sons followed by 4 daughters.

Children of James Wesley and Martha Nunnally White
Earl White March 2, 1878   Garrie White Jan. 9, 1880   Married Willie Dyer Shradie White Feb. 13, 1882   James Halfrey White April 26, 1889   Anice Plancina White Dec. 12, 1894 Married Paul P. Steed Mary Eldridge White March 25, 1899 Married James Wood Metta Zelma White May 28, 1901 Married Tom Worthington Osea Burris White June 4, 1905 Married 1. John Saul       2. August Eppleur

James Wesley White was a merchant, and had a general store in Paris, Arkansas. The family moved to West Texas in the early 1900s settling first at Dunn, Texas, then to Post, Texas where Jim White was also a Justice of the Peace. He died there in 1916, and is buried in the Post Cemetery.

Martha Jane Nunnally Whitelived a long life. Some of my earliest memories are of my grandmother, visiting her at Lubbock and she staying with us at Wichita Falls. She had a stroke and was bed­ridden for the last 13 years of her life, but never complained. She died in a nursing home at age 91, and I was with her when she died. She is buried alongside her husband, who she outlived by 36 years, at Post, Texas.

Although James Scott Nunnally, Jr. had his life cut short by the Civil War, he has many descendants scattered throughout the Union he helped to preserve, and it is for them I have written this.



Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies
125 Volumes, U.S. Govt. Printing Office, 1880
44 Volumes, 1942 - 1985
Picture History of the Civil War
Banks, Wayne
Faust, Patricia, Editor
Harpers, 1991
Humphrey, Mary Vinson
9 Volumes
Starr, Stephen Z.
Louisiana University Press, 1985
Allen, Desmond Walls
Conway, Ark., 1987


Photocopies of Service Records and Pension Applications of Selected Men of the Third Arkansas Cavalry
Photocopies of the Muster Rolls of F Company, Third Arkansas Cavalry
Photocopies of the Regimental Papers of the Third Arkansas Cavalry


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

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