26th Arkansas Infantry Regiment

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26th Arkansas Infantry (Confederate)
Flag of Arkansas.svg
Arkansas state flag
Active 1862–May 26, 1865
Country Confederate States of America
Allegiance Dixie CSA
Branch Infantry
Size Regiment
Engagements

American Civil War

Disbanded May 26, 1865
Arkansas Confederate Infantry Regiments
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25th Arkansas Infantry Regiment 27th Arkansas Infantry Regiment

The 26th Arkansas Infantry (1862–1865) was a Confederate Army infantry regiment during the American Civil War. The regiment was also known as Morgan's Battalion and the 3rd Trans-Mississippi Rifle Regiment. The unit served entirely in the Department of the Trans-Mississippi and eventually surrendered at Marshall Texas at the end of the war.

Organization[edit]

The 26th Arkansas Infantry Regiment was among the first regiments organized in wake of the defeat of Confederate forces at the Battle of Pea Ridge in February 1862. General Earl Van Dorn had received orders to move his army from Arkansas to Corinth, Mississippi to support Confederate operations in that area. General Van Dorn took with him virtually every organized Confederate force and stripped the state of supplies. General Van Dorn left Brigadier General John S. Roane, in command in Arkansas. In a report in late May 1862, a month after General Van Dorn had left, General Roane stated that he had only eight companies of infantry and one regiment of cavalry available for the defense of Little Rock.[1] Many of the infantry companies mentioned in General Roan's report were those companies that would eventually become the 26th Arkansas Infantry which was being organized in Pine Bluff, in Jefferson County, Arkansas.[1]

General Roane moved his headquarters to Pine Bluff and enlisted the help of Major General James Yell, commander of the Arkansas State Militia and began recruiting for a new Army of the Southwest in the Department of Arkansas. General Yell was a "States Defense first" advocate and lent his power to aiding Roane along with Arkansas Confederate State Senator Colonel Robert Johnson, also of Pine Bluff. These three men were the backbone of the newly reconstituted Army of the Trans Mississippi Department. The companies which eventually became the 26th Arkansas Infantry Regiment had started the recruiting process before General Van Dorn left the state and had just been organized when General Roane moved his headquarters to Pine Bluff from Little Rock.[1] It appears that at least three companies of what would become the 26th Arkansas had been loosely organized as a battalion under the command of a Captain Tom McSwine. General Hindman sent a telegram to McSwine at Pine Bluff on June 1, 1862 directing him and Captains Fountain P. Yell, and Samuel Gibson to immediately move their companies to Little Rock.[2] Upon reaching Little Rock, the new battalion was temporarily placed under the command of a Major O. Platosz, but on June 14, 1862, Asa Stokely Morgan, formerly a First Lieutenant in the 1st Arkansas Infantry Regiment, was assigned as Lieutenant Colonel of the battalion.[3] At the same time, Captain F. P. Yell was appointed Major of the regiment.[2]

Morgan's Battalion was increased to a full regiment and reorganized as the 26th Arkansas Infantry on July 23, 1862, at DeValls Bluff, Arkansas. This unit served in McRae's, Cabell's, L. C. Gause's, and Roane's Brigade, Shoup’s Division, First Corps, Army of the Trans-Mississippi. The field officers were Colonels Asa Stokely Morgan, F. P. Yell, and Iverson L. Brooks:[4] Lieutenant Colonels James P. Stanley and John C. Wright; and Major Samuel Gibson.[5] The unit was composed of volunteer companies from the following counties:[6]

  • Company A – commanded by Captain Foutain P. Yell, organized in Drew County and enrolled in Confederate service at Monticello on May 3, 1862, for three years or the duration of the war.[7]
  • Company B – commanded by Captain Samuel Gibson was organized in Drew County and enrolled in Confederate service at Monticello on May 3, 1862, for three years or the duration of the war.[8]
  • Company C – commanded by Captain Thomas McSwine, was organized in Jefferson County and enrolled in Confederate service at Pine Bluff on May 12, 1862, for three years or the duration of the war.[9]
  • Company D – commanded by Captain A. H. Halliday was organized in Bradley County and enrolled in Confederate service at Centreville on May 12, 1862, for three years or the duration of the war.[10]
  • Company E – commanded by Captain James Philip Stanley, organized in Drew County and enrolled in Confederate service at Selma on May 12, 1862, for three years or the duration of the war.[11]
  • Company F – commanded by Captain Angus F. McNeil was organized at Tulip in Dallas County on June 4, 1862; enrolled in Confederate service at Tulip on June 16, 1862, for three years or the duration of the war; and mustered at Little Rock on June 24, 1862. On August 12, 1862, a total of 38 men in this company were assigned to the Lamar Artillery, Daniel’s Texas Battery.[12]
  • Company G – commanded by Captain J. H. Hamiter, was organized in Lafayette County and enrolled in Confederate service at Lewisville on May 22, 1862, for three years or the duration of the war.[13]
  • Company H – commanded by Captain J. W. May contained many men from the old 10th Arkansas Militia Regiment. The company was organized in Johnson County and enrolled in Confederate service at Clarksville on June 13, 1862, for three years or the duration of the war.[14][15]
  • Company I – commanded by Captain John R. Maxwell was organized at DeWitt, in Arkansas County, on June 16, 1862, and enrolled in Confederate service at Camp Texas, near Little Rock, on July 16, 1862, for three years or the duration of the war.[16]
  • Company K – commanded by William Albert Captain Bull, was organized in Jefferson County and enrolled in Confederate service at Pine Bluff on June 18, 1862, for three years or the duration of the war. A large number of men in this company deserted at Camp Rust, Arkansas, on July 29, 1862, and then returned to duty over the next couple of months. No explanation is given in the Compilied Service Records of the soldiers involved in this event, but it is suspected that there was dissatisfaction with the company officers. New officers were assigned from Company B in August and September 1862, and the men began returning to duty.[17][18]

Battles[edit]

The 26th spent the late summer to early fall of 1862 on outpost duty along the White River. The unit was stationed at Fort Hindman near DeVall’s Bluff, and at Camp Hope/Camp Nelson, which served as a forward base camp for the units manning the White River line.[19] They then marched north to Van Buren, where they were assigned (along with the 28th, 30th, and 32nd Arkansas) to form a brigade under Colonel Dandridge McRae in Shoup's Division in MG Thomas Hindman's 1st Corps of the Army of the Trans-Mississippi. McRae’s Brigade fought in the Battle of Prairie Grove on December 7–8, 1862. Regimental strength of the 26th Arkansas at Prairie Grove was 412 rifles.[20]

Following the Battle of Prairie Grove, the 26th spent the winter of 1863 in Little Rock, having arrived there in late January 1863, after the retreat from Van Buren.[21] The regiment moved to Camp Anderson, which was on the north side of the Arkansas River and about five miles from the city, on March 5, 1863. The regiment left Camp Anderson on May 20, 1863 and arrived at Camp Cabell, near Fort Smith, on June 1, 1863, where the regiment was assigned to a brigade commanded by Brigadier General William L. Cabell.[22][23]

The regiment was assigned as the provost guard for Fort Smith. Individual companies were detailed out at locations up and down the Arkansas River Valley, but the main force of the regiment remained at Fort Smith during the spring and summer of 1863. In addition to garrisoning this frontier post, their responsibilities including providing security and support for the post hospital, containing approximately 1,500 wounded and sick from the Prairie Grove campaign, who were described as being in "wretched condition".[24]

While the regiment was garrisoning Fort Smith, it was determined that the unit would be required to elect new regimental officers. When the Confederate Congress passed the first of its three conscription acts on April 16, 1862, the intent was to provide conscript replacements or fillers for those regiments already in Confederate service, not to raise new regiments. Major General Thomas C. Hindman had consciously ignored the letter of the April 1862 Conscription Act and his own orders from General Beauregard which prohibited the formation of new regiments. General Hindman had also assumed the power to appoint officers for the new regiments that he began forming to replace those units which had been transferred east of the Mississippi under General Van Dorn.[25] Later, the Confederate Congress retroactively authorized the acceptance of these somewhat illegally formed regiments and battalions, and in legislation which was announced by the Confederate Adjutant and Inspector General Office, Order Number 108 dated August 4, 1863 gave these conscripted regiments the right to elect their regimental officers.[23] Apparently Colonel Morgan, who had been appointed Colonel of the 26th at its formation,[2] had become dissatisfied with his command to the point that he tendered his resignation on August 19, 1863, but General Holmes, who had by then replaced General Hindman in command of the Department of the Trans-Mississippi, did not accept Morgan's resignation.[22] Word of Morgan’s dissatisfaction and subsequent resignation must have gotten around, however, as evidenced by attempts of many officers to curry favor with the men in hopes of advancing themselves via election.[22]

The regimental politics soon came to a standstill due to pressure from an advancing Federal Army, which resulted in the evacuation of Fort Smith by troops under Brigadier General Cabell and the subsequent Battle of Devil's Backbone on September 1, 1863. Colonel Morgan remained in command until December 1863 when the regiment underwent re-organization at Camp Bragg, near Camden in Ouachita County. Colonel Morgan did not stand for re-election. F. P. Yell was elected Colonel and accepted his commission on December 6, 1863, and Morgan was relieved as of that date. Colonel Morgan accepted an appointment as the transportation officer for the Trans-Mississippi Department staff.[19] Fountain Pitts Yell was elected to succeed Colonel Morgan in command of the 26th Arkansas and was commissioned Colonel on December 6, 1863.[26]

Following the evacuation of Fort Smith, the 26th was reassigned to its old brigade, now under the command of Lucian Gause and composed of the 26th, 32nd, and 36th Arkansas regiments.[20] Gause's Brigade spent the winter of 1863 camped southwest of Little Rock. Morale was sinking, not only because of the loss of Little Rock, but because many of the 26th’s soldiers’ families were destitute and starving. Many soldiers were granted furlough, or simply took "French leave" to go the short distance home to provide for their families that summer and fall, subject to recall for the upcoming campaign.[citation needed]

Upon the launch of the Federal’s Red River Campaign, seizing Alexandria, Louisiana and moving on Natchitoches and Shreveport, General Churchill's Arkansas Infantry Division, including Gause’s Brigade and the 26th Arkansas was sent south to Shreveport, Louisiana in early March, 1864 to assist General Kirby Smith's army in countering Union General Nathaniel Banks' advance along the Red River. Churchill’s division reached Keatchie, Louisiana in time to support General Richard Taylor’s main force who routed Banks’ army in the Battle of Mansfield (Sabine Crossroads) on April 8, 1864. The next day, the Confederate forces united to attack the Union rear guard at Pleasant Hill on the afternoon of April 9. The Confederates had endured a long forced march from south central Arkansas to Mansfield, and another of ten hours to Pleasant Hill that day with only two hours’ rest. The Union troops held a formidable position, and although the Arkansans and Missourians fought valiantly, they were repulsed and retreated six miles to the nearest water. Colonel Yell was killed in the 26th’s charge on the Union works at Pleasant Hill, and Lieutenant Colonel Brooks succeeded to command of the regiment.[27] After the battle of Pleasant Hill, Churchill's Division made a hasty return with General Kirby Smith back to Arkansas to assist General Price in dealing with the other half of the Red River campaign, Union General Frederick Steele's Camden Expedition moving southwest from Little Rock.[20] The Division and Gause’s Brigade arrived just in time to join the pursuit of Steele's army as it retreated from Camden, and join in the attack on Steele as he tried to cross the Saline River at Jenkins' Ferry on April 30, 1864. After an all-night march through a rainstorm and ankle-deep mud, Gause’s Brigade fell upon the federal rear guard and drove them for more than a mile, until the brigade on their flank began to give way. Reinforced by Tappan’s Brigade, and personally led by General Churchill, the Confederate line rallied and drove the federals from the field.[citation needed]

Gause's Brigade and the 26th Arkansas returned to the vicinity of Camden following Jenkins' Ferry, and saw no substantial combat for the remainder of the war. The unit was transferred to Brigadier General J. S. Roane's Brigade, Churchill's Arkansas Division, in September, 1864.[6][20] The regiment was involved in the following engagements:

Surrender[edit]

This regiment surrendered with the Department of the Trans-Mississippi, General E. Kirby Smith commanding, May 26, 1865.[28][29] With few exceptions, the Arkansas Infantry regiments in the Trans-Mississippi simply disbanded without formally surrendering. When the Trans-Mississippi Department surrendered, all of the Arkansas infantry regiments were encamped in and around Marshall, Texas (war-ravaged Arkansas no longer able to subsist the army). The regiments were ordered to report to Shreveport, Louisiana, to be paroled but none of them did so. Some individual soldiers went to Shreveport on their own to be paroled, others reported to Union garrisons at Fort Smith, Pine Bluff or Little Rock to receive their paroles, but for the most part, the men simply went home.[30]

Additional Reading[edit]

  • Banasik, Michael E. Embattled Arkansas: The Prairie Grove Campaign of 1862. Wilmington, NC: Broadfoot Publishing Company, 1996.
  • Baxter, William. Pea Ridge and Prairie Grove: Scenes and Incidents of the War in Arkansas. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 2000.
  • Bears, Edwin C. “The Battle of Helena, July 4, 1863.” Arkansas Historical Quarterly 20 (Autumn 1961): 256–297.
  • Christ, Mark K. Civil War Arkansas, 1863: The Battle for a State. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2010.
  • Christ, Mark K., ed. Rugged and Sublime: The Civil War in Arkansas. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 1994.
  • Christ, Mark K. “‘We Were Badly Whipped’: A Confederate Account of the Battle of Helena, July 4, 1863.” Arkansas Historical Quarterly 69 (Spring 2010): 44–53.
  • DeBlack, Thomas A. With Fire and Sword: Arkansas, 1861–1874. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 2003.
  • Hess. Earl J.; Shea, William L.; Piston, William G.; Hatcher, Richard W.: Wilson's Creek, Pea Ridge, and Prairie Grove: A Battlefield Guide, with a Section on Wire Road, Lincoln, Nebraska, U.S.A. Bison Books 2006, ISBN 978-0-8032-7366-5.
  • Montgomery, Don, ed. The Battle of Prairie Grove. Prairie Grove, AR: Prairie Grove Battlefield Historic State Park, 1996.
  • Sallee, Scott E. “The Battle of Prairie Grove: War in the Ozarks, April ’62–January ’63.” Blue & Gray Magazine 21 (Fall 2004): 6–23, 45–50.
  • Schieffler, George David. “Too Little, Too Late to Save Vicksburg: The Battle of Helena, Arkansas, July 4, 1863.” MA thesis, University of Arkansas, 2005.
  • Shea, William L. War in the West: Pea Ridge and Prairie Grove. Abilene, TX: McWhiney Foundation Press, 2001.
  • Shea, William L. Fields of Blood: The Prairie Grove Campaign. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009. ISBN 978-0-8078-3315-5

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Taylor, Doyle. "Re: Pea Ridge", Arkansas in the Civil War Message Board, Posted 15 March 2007, Accessed 17 May 2012, http://history-sites.com/cgi-bin/bbs53x/arcwmb/webbbs_config.pl?noframes;read=15136
  2. ^ a b c Odom, Danny. "Re: Pea Ridge", Arkansas in the Civil War Message Board, Posted 14 March 2007, Accessed 17 May 2012, http://history-sites.com/cgi-bin/bbs53x/arcwmb/webbbs_config.pl?noframes;read=15126
  3. ^ Hindman's Copybook of Telegraphs, May 31st to October 9th, 1862, Army of the Southwest, Dept. of the Trans Mississippi. Peter W. Alexander papers, Columbia University Library, New York.
  4. ^ United States. War Dept. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union And Confederate Armies. Series 1, Volume 41, In Four Parts. Part 4, Correspondence, Etc., Book, 1893; digital images, (http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth145061 : accessed February 14, 2012), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, http://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries, Denton, Texas.
  5. ^ "Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System, Confederate Arkansas Troops, 31st Regiment, Arkansas Infantry". National Park Service. Retrieved 26 January 2011. 
  6. ^ a b "26th Arkansas Infantry Regiment". Edward G. Gerdes Civil War Page. Retrieved 27 January 2011. 
  7. ^ GERDES, EDWARD G.: "26th Arkansas Infantry, Company A", Edward G. Gerdes Civil War Page, Accessed 6 December 2011, http://www.couchgenweb.com/civilwar/26thcoa.html
  8. ^ GERDES, EDWARD G.: "26th Arkansas Infantry, Company B", Edward G. Gerdes Civil War Page, Accessed 6 December 2011, http://www.couchgenweb.com/civilwar/26thcob.html
  9. ^ GERDES, EDWARD G.: "26th Arkansas Infantry, Company C", Edward G. Gerdes Civil War Page, Accessed 6 December 2011, http://www.couchgenweb.com/civilwar/26thcoc.html
  10. ^ GERDES, EDWARD G.: "26th Arkansas Infantry, Company D", Edward G. Gerdes Civil War Page, Accessed 6 December 2011, http://www.couchgenweb.com/civilwar/26thcod.html
  11. ^ GERDES, EDWARD G.: "26th Arkansas Infantry, Company E", Edward G. Gerdes Civil War Page, Accessed 6 December 2011, http://www.couchgenweb.com/civilwar/26thcoe.html
  12. ^ GERDES, EDWARD G.: "26th Arkansas Infantry, Company F", Edward G. Gerdes Civil War Page, Accessed 6 December 2011, http://www.couchgenweb.com/civilwar/26thcof.html
  13. ^ GERDES, EDWARD G.: "26th Arkansas Infantry, Company G", Edward G. Gerdes Civil War Page, Accessed 6 December 2011, http://www.couchgenweb.com/civilwar/26thcog.html
  14. ^ "10th Regiment Arkansas Militia (Johnson County)". Edward G. Gerdes Civil War Page. Retrieved 27 January 2011. 
  15. ^ GERDES, EDWARD G.: "26th Arkansas Infantry, Company H", Edward G. Gerdes Civil War Page, Accessed 6 December 2011, http://www.couchgenweb.com/civilwar/26thcoh.html
  16. ^ GERDES, EDWARD G.: "26th Arkansas Infantry, Company I", Edward G. Gerdes Civil War Page, Accessed 6 December 2011, http://www.couchgenweb.com/civilwar/26thcoi.html
  17. ^ GERDES, EDWARD G.: "26th Arkansas Infantry, Company K", Edward G. Gerdes Civil War Page, Accessed 6 December 2011, http://www.couchgenweb.com/civilwar/26thcok.html
  18. ^ Howerton, Bryan R. "Re: mass desertion?", Arkansas in the Civil War Message Board, Accessed 6 December 2011, http://history-sites.com/cgi-bin/bbs53x/arcwmb/webbbs_config.pl?noframes;read=14543
  19. ^ a b Odom, Danny "Re: Pvt. Edward M. Ballard- Bells Arkansas" Arkansas in the Civil War Message Board, Posted 11 March 2012, Accessed 11 March 2012, http://history-sites.com/cgi-bin/bbs53x/arcwmb/webbbs_config.pl?noframes;read=25840
  20. ^ a b c d "Arkansas Confederate Regimental Histories". Internet Archive Wayback Machine. Retrieved May 24, 2012. 
  21. ^ Meeks, Bob. "Re: Gen Order 108, A&IGO series of 1863, Dec 6, 18", Arkansas in the Civil War Message Board, Posted 16 May 2012, Accessed 17 May 2012, http://history-sites.com/cgi-bin/bbs53x/arcwmb/webbbs_config.pl?noframes;read=26297
  22. ^ a b c Meeks, Bob. "Re: Gen Order 108, A&IGO series of 1863, Dec 6, 18", Arkansas in the Civil War Message Board, Posted 16 May 2012, Accessed 17 May 2012, http://history-sites.com/cgi-bin/bbs53x/arcwmb/webbbs_config.pl?noframes;read=26289
  23. ^ a b Cluck, Damon N. "Re: Gen Order 108, A&IGO series of 1863, Dec 6, 18", Arkansas in the Civil War Message Board, Posted 16 May 2012, Accessed 17 May 2012, http://history-sites.com/cgi-bin/bbs53x/arcwmb/webbbs_config.pl?noframes;read=26292
  24. ^ Odom, Danny. "Re: Where was the 26th during the battle of Helena", Arkansas in the Civil War Message Board, Posted 13 May 2012, Accessed 14 May 2012, http://history-sites.com/cgi-bin/bbs53x/arcwmb/webbbs_config.pl?noframes;read=26267
  25. ^ Report of Major General Hindman of Operation in the Trans-Mississippi District, Published by order of Congress (Confederate), Richmond, R.M Smith, Public Printer, 1864, Page 8. Accessed 17 May 2012, http://archive.org/stream/reportofmajorgen00conf#page/8/mode/2up
  26. ^ Odom, Danny. "Re: Where was the 26th during the battle of Helena", Arkansas in the Civil War Message Board, Posted 13 May 2012, Accessed 14 May 2012, http://history-sites.com/cgi-bin/bbs53x/arcwmb/webbbs_config.pl?noframes;read=26272
  27. ^ Allardice, Bruce; "Re: Death of Col. F.P. Yell", Arkansas in the Civil War Message Board, Posted 23 October 2005, Accessed 11 March 2012,
  28. ^ Howerton, Bryan, "1st, 2nd & 3rd Consolidated Arkansas Infantry Regiments", Arkansas in the Civil War Message Board, Posted 26 July 2011, http://history-sites.com/cgi-bin/bbs53x/arcwmb/webbbs_config.pl?noframes;read=24472
  29. ^ Sikakis, Stewart, Compendium of the Confederate Armies, Florida and Arkansas, Facts on File, Inc., 1992, ISBN 0-8160-2288-7, page 69.
  30. ^ Howerton, Bryan, "Re: 17th/1st/35th/22nd Arkansas Infantry Regiment.", Arkansas in the Civil War Message Board, Posted 26 October 2011, Accessed 26 October 2011, http://history-sites.com/cgi-bin/bbs53x/arcwmb/webbbs_config.pl?noframes;read=24907

External links