2nd Arkansas Cavalry Regiment (Slemons')

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2nd Arkansas Cavalry (Confederate)
WFSlemons.jpg
William F. Slemons, commander
2nd Arkansas Cavalry Regiment
Active 1861–April 1865
Country Confederate States of America
Allegiance Dixie CSA
Branch Cavalry
Size Regiment
Engagements

American Civil War

The 2nd Arkansas Cavalry Regiment (Slemons') (1861–1865) was a Confederate Army cavalry regiment during the American Civil War. This regiment was also referred to in the Official Records as the 4th Arkansas Cavalry Regiment. Another regiment, commanded by Colonel Thomas J. Morgan, was also designated as the 2nd Arkansas Cavalry Regiment. Following Price's Raid in 1864, the survivors of the regiment were reorganized as the 18th Arkansas Cavalry Battalion, which was also referred to as McMurtrey's Arkansas Cavalry Battalion[1]

Organization[edit]

The 2nd Arkansas Cavalry Regiment was originally organized as the 2nd Arkansas Cavalry Battlion at Memphis, Tennessee, in early April 1862, just after the Battle of Shiloh, from five independent cavalry companies from southern Arkansas:.[2]

  • Company A — This cavalry company was organized by Captain Alexander Mason at Hampton, Calhoun county, Arkansas, on February 20, 1862. When the Second Arkansas Cavalry Battalion was formed at Memphis, Tennessee, in April 1862, Mason’s troop was designated as Company A. Captain Mason resigned on May 12, 1862, and was succeeded by Captain Philip Henry Echols. On May 15, 1862, the Second Arkansas Cavalry Battalion was combined with the Sixth Arkansas Cavalry Battalion to form the Second Arkansas Cavalry Regiment, with the Calhoun County Troop becoming Company H. During the regimental reorganization on August 18, 1862, the company’s designation was changed to Company G.[3]
  • Company B — This cavalry company was organized by Captain Elisha L. McMurtrey at Mount Elba, Bradley county, Arkansas, on February 22, 1862. When the Second Arkansas Cavalry Battalion was formed at Memphis, Tennessee, in April 1862, McMurtrey’s troop was designated as Company B. On May 15, 1862, the Second Arkansas Cavalry Battalion was combined with the Sixth Arkansas Cavalry Battalion to form the Second Arkansas Cavalry Regiment, with the Bradley County Troop becoming Company D.[4]
  • Company C — This cavalry company was organized by Captain William Jones Somervell, at Tulip, Dallas county, Arkansas, on March 1, 1862. When the Second Arkansas Cavalry Battalion was formed at Memphis, Tennessee, in April 1862, Somervell’s troop was designated as Company C. On May 15, 1862, the Second Arkansas Cavalry Battalion was combined with the Sixth Arkansas Cavalry Battalion to form the Second Arkansas Cavalry Regiment, with Somervell’s troop becoming Company E. During the regimental reorganization on August 18, 1862, the Ashley County Troop, Company F, always an understrength unit that was never able to recruit enough men to maintain a full company, was consolidated into this company.[5]
  • Company D — This cavalry company was organized by Captain J. N. Paine at Pine Bluff, Jefferson county, Arkansas, on March 1, 1862. When the Second Arkansas Cavalry Battalion was formed at Memphis, Tennessee, in April 1862, Paine’s troop was designated as Company D. On May 15, 1862, the Second Arkansas Cavalry Battalion was combined with the Sixth Arkansas Cavalry Battalion to form the Second Arkansas Cavalry Regiment, with the Jefferson County Troop becoming Company G. During the regimental reorganization on August 18, 1862, this company was redesignated as Company F.[6]
  • Company E—This cavalry company was organized by Captain Obediah B. Tebbs, a veteran of the famous Third Arkansas Infantry Regiment, at Hamburg, Ashley county, Arkansas, on March 24, 1862. When the Second Arkansas Cavalry Battalion was formed at Memphis, Tennessee, in April 1862, Tebbs’ troop was designated as Company E. On May 15, 1862, the Second Arkansas Cavalry Battalion was combined with the Sixth Arkansas Cavalry Battalion to form the Second Arkansas Cavalry Regiment, with Tebbs’ troop becoming Company F. During the regimental reorganization on August 18, 1862, Company F, always an understrength unit that was never able to recruit enough men to maintain a full company, was consolidated into the Dallas county troop, Company E.[7]

Some of these companies appear to been involved in the Battle of Shiloh as independent units, prior to being assigned to the Second Arkansas Cavalry Battalion, but few details are available.[2]

Upon the organization of the battalion, Major William D. Barnett, a 36-year-old physician from Bradley county, Arkansas, was assigned as the commanding officer. The only other member of the battalion field and staff who can be identified was Assistant Surgeon Thomas W. Hurley, a 26-year-old physician from Calhoun county, Arkansas. The organization of the battalion was apparently marred by an alleged mutiny. The following report appears in the official record:[citation needed]

“Head Quarters Army of the Miss., April 11th, 1862; to General Braxton Bragg, Comdg 2d Corps.—General: It is represented that there is a mutiny in the camp of Major Barnett’s Cavalry headed by a Captain Paine of that Battalion. This Battalion is near the encampment of Col. Fagan’s Arkansas Regiment of your Corps and Gibson’s Brigade. The General therefore orders you to take measures for the radical suppression of the mutiny. Capt. Paine refuses to obey the arrest of Major Barnett. Respectfully, Your obt svt, William Malone, A.A. Genl.”.[2]

It is unclear just what the circumstances of the alleged munity were, or how it was resolved, but on May 15, 1862, this battalion was consolidated with the 6th Arkansas Cavalry Battalion (Major Charles W. Phifer) at Corinth, Mississippi, to form the 2nd Arkansas Cavalry Regiment. The 6th Arkansas Cavalry Battalion (also sometimes known as the 1st, Phifer’s, White’s and McNeill’s Battalion) was organized in August 1861 at Pocahontas, Arkansas, originally composed of four Arkansas companies and two Louisiana companies, which were consolidated about April 20, 1862, into two Arkansas companies and one Louisiana company.[2]

The companies of the former 6th Battalion became Companies A-B-C and the companies of the former 2nd Battalion became Companies D-E-F-G-H of the 2nd Arkansas Cavalry Regiment. On August 18, 1862, the chronically-understrength Company F (formerly Co. E, Second Battalion) was consolidated into Company E (formerly C, Second Battalion), and Companies G and H were redesignated as Companies F and G, respectively.[2]

The new regiment was placed under the command of Colonel William F. Slemons. The other Field officers were:

  • Lt. Cols. H.R. Withers and Thomas M. Cochran, and
  • Majors Thomas J. Reid, Jr., and William J. Somervell.
  • Thomas Garrison was adjutant.
  • W. Leeper quartermaster, and
  • Wat Strong served as commissary.

Company commanders were:

  • Company A – Captain A.H. Christian.
  • Company B – "The Drew Light Horse" under the command of Captain Joseph Earle (later H.S. Hudspeth). This company was originally organized as a volunteer militia company in the 52nd Regiment, Arkansas Sate Militia, on August 13, 1861.[8]
  • Company C – Captain Thomas Cochran.
  • Company D – Captain James Portis (later Cpt. Watt Green).
  • Company E – Captain J.S. Somerville, (later Cpt. William Cooper).
  • Company F – Captain O.B. Tebbs. This company had served as Company E, Second Arkansas Cavalry Battalion
  • Company G – Captain E.L. Murtree (later Cpt. C. Stell).
  • Company H – Captain Phil Echols (later Cpt. James Oliver).
  • Company I – Captain M.L. Hawkins.

Battles[edit]

The 2nd Arkansas Cavalry Regiment, under Colonel William Ferguson Slemons, would establish an impressive record under General Nathan Bedford Forrest.[9] The unit served in the Army of the West and the Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana, and took an active part in the Battles of Iuka, Corinth, and Hatchie Bridge. On the retreat from Corinth to Tupelo, Mississippi the 2nd Arkansas Cavalry served as part of the rear guard of the army, under General John C. Breckinridge. On July 3, 1862 it was ordered with Clayton's 2nd Alabama Cavalry against the Federals at Booneville, MS, who were completely routed. Together with the 2nd Missouri Cavalry, it was ordered under Gen. Frank C. Armstrong to Tennessee, where it met at Middleburg, TN, the Federals under Colonel Leggett and defeated them, killing and wounding large numbers of the Federal force. About the last of July (1862) the 2nd Arkansas, under Col. Slemons, along with the 2nd Missouri and the 4th Mississippi engaged the escort of Federal cavalry and artillery guarding a train of supplies at Britton's Lane, TN, and after a stubborn fight of three hours captured the train, along with 300 prisoners and two pieces of artillery. The 2nd Arkansas lost 70 men killed or wounded in this engagement. In the campaigns of Price and Pemberton in early 1863 defending the approaches to Vicksburg, the 2nd Arkansas was in continuous active service, opposing Federal thrusts at Iuka, Colliersville, Salem, the Yazoo Pass, at Charleston, Austin, and near Commerce Mississippi and along the Coldwater River there. Under the command of Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest in late 1863, it participated in the masterly movements of that greatest of cavalry commanders, encircling armies, taking cities, capturing trains, and burning bridges. The 2nd Arkansas was transferred to the Trans-Mississippi in April, 1864, in time to fight with Cabell's, Gano's, and Dockery's brigades in the Camden Expedition including the battles of Poison Spring, Marks' Mills, and Jenkins' Ferry. It then served with Price's Army on the raid to the Missouri River in September and October 1864, and engaged in the battles of Pilot Knob, Independence, West Point, and Marais des Cygnes, in Kansas. At this last battle, Colonel Slemons' horse was killed and fell with him, the saddle catching the colonel's leg under him so that he could nor disengage himself. Col Slemons, a number of his officers, 100 of his men, and two artillery pieces were captured and sent as prisoners of war to Johnson Island, later to Rock Island, where they were imprisoned until after the end of the war.[10][11]

During the Battle of Marais des Cygnes, in Kansas. Colonel Slemons' horse was killed and fell with him, the saddle catching the colonel's leg under him so that he could nor disengage himself. Col Slemons, a number of his officers, 100 of his men, and two artillery pieces were captured and sent as prisoners of war to Johnson Island, later to Rock Island, where they were imprisoned until after the end of the war.[10][11] The remainder of the regiment was reduced to battalion size and reorganized and renamed as the 18th Arkansas Cavalry Battalion, which was also referred to as McMurtrey's Arkansas Cavalry Battalion, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Elisha Lawley McMurtrey.[1][10][11]

Surrender[edit]

This regiment surrendered with the Army of the Northern Sub District of Arkansas in April 1865.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Howerton, Bryan R.; "Re: McMurtrey's Cav Battalion-Bryan H.", Arkansas in the Civil War Message Board, Posted 19 April 2007, Accessed 23 December 2011,http://history-sites.com/cgi-bin/bbs53x/arcwmb/webbbs_config.pl?noframes;read=15434
  2. ^ a b c d e Howerton, Bryan R., "Second Arkansas Cavalry Battalion, CSA", Edward G. Gerdes Civil War Page, Accessed 30 January 2011, http://www.couchgenweb.com/civilwar/2batcavs.html
  3. ^ Howerton, Bryan R., "Second Arkansas Cavalry Battalion, CSA, Company A", Edward G. Gerdes Civil War Page, Accessed 30 January 2011, http://www.couchgenweb.com/civilwar/2batcava.html
  4. ^ Howerton, Bryan R., "Second Arkansas Cavalry Battalion, CSA, Company B", Edward G. Gerdes Civil War Page, Accessed 30 January 2011, http://www.couchgenweb.com/civilwar/2batcavb.html
  5. ^ Howerton, Bryan R., "Second Arkansas Cavalry Battalion, CSA, Company C", Edward G. Gerdes Civil War Page, Accessed 30 January 2011, http://www.couchgenweb.com/civilwar/2batcavc.html
  6. ^ Howerton, Bryan R., "Second Arkansas Cavalry Battalion, CSA, Company D", Edward G. Gerdes Civil War Page, Accessed 30 January 2011, http://www.couchgenweb.com/civilwar/2batcavd.html
  7. ^ Howerton, Bryan R., "Second Arkansas Cavalry Battalion, CSA, Company E", Edward G. Gerdes Civil War Page, Accessed 30 January 2011, http://www.couchgenweb.com/civilwar/2batcave.html
  8. ^ Arkansas Military Department Records, List of Commissioned Officers of the Militia 1827–1862, Arkansas History Commission, Microfilm Roll 00000038-8, Page 451
  9. ^ National Park Service, Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System, Confederate Arkansas Troops, 2nd Regiment, Arkansas Cavakrt, Accessed 27 January 2011
  10. ^ a b c "The Nancy L. Hamm Gibson Home Page", FamilyTreeMaker.com, Accessed 23 September 2011, http://familytreemaker.genealogy.com/users/h/a/m/Nancy-L-Hamm/BOOK-0001/0041-0001.html
  11. ^ a b c Sikakis, Stewart, Compendium of the Confederate Armies, Florida and Arkansas, Facts on File, Inc., 1992, ISBN 0-8160-2288-7, page 52.

External links[edit]

See also