1st Arkansas Infantry Regiment (Union)

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1st Regiment Arkansas Volunteer Infantry
Flag of the United States (1865–1867).svg
Flag of the United States, 1865–1867
ActiveMarch 25, 1863–August 10, 1865
DisbandedAugust 10, 1865
CountryFlag of the United States (1861-1863).svg United States
AllegianceUnion
BranchInfantry
SizeRegiment
EngagementsAmerican Civil War
Arkansas Union Regiments
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1st Battery, Arkansas Light Artillery (African Descent) 1st Battalion Arkansas Volunteer Infantry

The 1st Regiment Arkansas Volunteer Infantry (1863–1865) was an infantry regiment that served in the Union Army during the American Civil War. Although Arkansas joined the Confederate States of America in 1861, not all of its citizens supported secession. Arkansas formed some 48 infantry regiments to serve in the Confederate Army, but also formed another 11 regiments that served in the Union Army.[1]

Organization[edit]

Because it was utterly impossible to form a Union unit in Arkansas in the first two years of the war, most Union supporters traveled elsewhere to join. However, by 1863 Union forces were knocking at the door of Arkansas, and many Arkansans still loyal to the Union flocked to them to join. As early as the summer of 1862 bands of Union men similar to that relieved by Captain Parker had, in various portions of western Arkansas, consorted together, and, though compelled by oppression and violence to leave their homes, were accustomed to take refuge among the hills and in the woods, and no extent of persecution succeeded in driving them from the State. Commonly known as "Mountain Feds," they were true to the Union under the most discouraging circumstances, and from time to time gave valuable assistance to the organized forces operating in various portions of the State. Many of them entered various Arkansas regiments, including the 1st Arkansas Infantry.[2]

In November, 1862, Major General Schofield, then commanding the "Army of the Frontier," gave authority to Dr. James M. Johnson, of Huntsville, Madison County, Arkansas, to raise infantry troops from the State. This authority initially included only one regiment. Early in the war Dr. Johnson displayed Union sentiments, and by April, 1862 he was no longer able to remain at home in safety. He left Huntsville with future Arkansas Governor Isaac Murphy and traveled to the outpost of the Army of the Southwest at Keytesville, Missouri. He promptly reported to General Curtis, then in command and was placed on Curtis's staff as a volunteer aid. Subsequently, he rendered services to Generals Schofield, Totten, and Herron, and accompanied the "Army of the Frontier,' on its march into northwestern Arkansas, in October 1862, under the command of General Schofield. Returning with this army to Elkhorn Tavern, he received the authority to raise the 1st Arkansas and marched with the army in the campaign that terminated in the Battle of Prairie Grove. Following the battle, he opened a recruiting office at Fayetteville for the 1st Arkansas infantry volunteers. Recruiting proceeded and on the 25th day of March, 1863, the regiment was organized and Dr. Johnson was enlisted into the service as its colonel.[2] The 1st Arkansas Infantry was organized at Fayetteville, Ark., and mustered in March 25, 1863.[3]

At the time of the muster in this regiment, it numbered thirty-six commissioned officers and eight hundred enlisted men, recruited in the previous sixty days in Madison, Washington, Newton, Benton, Searcy, and Crawford counties.[2] The greatest aggregate was in November, 1863 totalling nine hundred and seventy-nine, (979) officers and men; the lowest strength was in March, 1865, when the regiment reported only seven hundred and seventy-four, (774) present aggregate, seven hundred and eighty-eight, (788,) thirty-one (31) commissioned officers and seven hundred amid fifty-seven (757) enlisted men.[2]

The 1st Arkansas Infantry was attached to District Southwest Missouri, Dept. Missouri to December, 1863. The 1st Arkansas was attached to 2nd Brigade, District of the Frontier, Dept. Missouri, to January, 1864. The regiment was attached to 2nd Brigade, District of the Frontier, 7th Army Corps, Dept. of Arkansas, to March, 1864. The regiment was attached to 1st Brigade, District of the Frontier, 7th Army Corps, to February, 1865. 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 7th Army Corps, to August, 1865.[3]

Service[edit]

The regiment participated in the Battle of Fayetteville, under the immediate command of Lieutenant Colonel E. J. Searle and Major E. D. Ham, on the 18th day of April, 1863.[4] The regiment marched to Springfield, Mo., April 25-May 4, and was on duty there till July. On the 6th day of July it was ordered to Cassville, Missouri, where it shortly afterwards arrived, and on the 17th day of August joined the Army of the Frontier, under command of Major General Blunt, Fort Gibson, Cherokee Nation, to pursue the rebels under Cooper and Stand Watie to Perryville, in the Choctaw Nation. The regiment was in the skirmish at Perryville August 26 and the Battle of Devil's Backbone, Back Bone Mountain, Fort Smith, September 1. The regiment participated in the capture of Fort Smith September 1, was the first regiment to enter the garrison, and remained on duty there till March, 1864.[2]

In September, 1863 it became known at Fort Smith that several hundred union men had gathered together from the surrounding country, upon and near the Magazine mountain, they were hiding for security, and though generally having arms of their own were in much need of ammunition. To relieve them, Captain William C. Parker of the 1st Arkansas infantry was directed to proceed, with sixty men, to their location which he did accomplishing the object for which he was sent. On his return, while crossing Haguewood prairie, in Franklin county, Captain Parker was suddenly confronted by Confederate General Shelby's command, then moving northward on a raid into Missouri. A stubborn fight ensued, Captain Parker slowly falling back until he reached the timber, where the unequal contest was still carried on until, finding himself nearly surrounded, Captain Parker directed his men to escape as best they could. In this encounter Captain Parker lost twenty-two men killed and taken prisoners, but killing and wounding nearly the same number of the enemy. Captain Parker himself succeeded with the rest of his men in arriving safely at Fort Smith, when measures being taken by Colonel Johnson to advise Colonel Harrison, then commanding at Fayetteville, of Shelby's march northward, the intelligence was quickly circulated through southwestern Missouri, and Shelby's movement was in a great measure frustrated.[2]

The regiment participated in the skirmish at Moffatt's Station, Franklin County, September 27, 1863. On the 30th of October, 1863, while this regiment was on duty at Fort Smith, a mass meeting of Union men was held at that place, for the purpose of inaugurating measures that should lead to the restoration of civil government in the State, at which Colonel Johnson was nominated to represent the people of western Arkansas in the Congress of the United States. In November he was elected, and again in October, 1865, for the third congressional district. Though thus a member-elect of the 38th and 39th Congresses, and necessarily called away from his regiment in his efforts to secure the recognition of the State government by Congress, he served with the regiment when not thus occupied.[2]

In November, 1863, while this regiment was stationed at Fort Smith, about three hundred of its men were vaccinated with spurious vaccine matter, a large number of whom were permanently disabled, and many others, whose disability unfitted them for duty, it became necessary to discharge.[2]

The regiment participated in the skirmish at Mt. Ida November 13. The regiment participated in the scout from Waldron to Mt. Ida, Caddo Gap and Dallas December 2–7.[2] Union supporters were never entirely driven from Newton county and through their resistance, which was specially organized and directed by James R. Vanderpool, of that county, captain of company C, 1st Arkansas infantry, rebel conscription therein was in a great measure defeated. In Yell county, William J. Heffington, well known in western Arkansas as “Wild Bill," maintained himself with a band of these men for months, when the surrounding country was held by the enemy, and repeated efforts were made by Confederate forces to capture him. Afterwards reporting to Colonel Johnson with a number of his men, who were organized into a company, with himself as captain, he again moved southward of the Boston mountains, and crossing the Arkansas river, was preparing to conduct other citizens to the federal lines, when he heard of the abandonment of northwestern Arkansas by the Union forces in April, 1863 and determined to remain in the State. This he did until the August 1863, when he was killed by guerillas, near the Arkansas river. Captain Heffington had been going northward to procure relief for a large number of the Union men who banded together in the vicinity of the Magazine, Short, and Petit Jean mountains. After the death of Heffington these men still held together, and on the occupation of Fort Smith and Little Rock by the Union forces, in the September 1863 most of them enlisted in various Arkansas regiments, including 1st Arkansas infantry.[2]

The regiment remained at Waldron until February, 1864, when it was again ordered to report at Fort Smith, to take part in the movement southward, under Brigadier General Thayer as part of General Steele's Expedition to Camden, March 23-May 3, 1864 The regiment left Fort Smith with the Frontier division on the 24th day of March, 1864, forming part of the first brigade, under Colonel John Edwards participated in the battle of Moscow, losing three men killed and several wounded. The regiment entered Camden on the 16th day of April, 1864. The regiment participated in the Battle of Prairie D'Ane April 9–13. The regiment participated in the Battle of Moscow April 13. The regiment participated in the Siege of Camden, April 15–18. The Regiment was engaged in a reconnaissance of the enemy after the battle of Poisoned Springs; left Camden on the 6th of April, as part of the right wing of the Union army. The regiment was engaged with the enemy at the Battle of Jenkins Ferry, where it repulsed a strong flanking party with considerable loss to the enemy, and losing no men itself. On the first day of May, 1864, the regiment arrived at Little Rock, and proceeded thence to Fort Smith, where it arrived on the 17th day of the same month.[2]

The regiment marched to Fort Smith May 1–16. After returning to Fort Smith the regiment was engaged in escort and guard duty on the frontier. Detachments from the regiment were frequently sent to rescue Union men, a duty which, from their familiarity with the country, they were particularly well qualified to discharge. The regiment participated in the Skirmish, Bates Township, November 2, and Newton County, November 15, 1864.[3]

Mustered out of service[edit]

The regiment was mustered out on August 10, 1865.[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Report of the adjutant general of Arkansas, for the period of the late rebellion, and to November 1, 1866. (Washington : Govt. print. off., 1867), by Arkansas. Adjutant-General's Office Accessed 13 September 2013, http://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=moa&cc=moa&sid=95e3f6e828e116b80d4cccd93c806bc1&view=text&rgn=main&idno=ABF1097.0001.001
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Report of the Adjutant General of Arkansas, p. 203.
  3. ^ a b c d Dyer (1959), Volume 3. p. 999.
  4. ^ Mahan, Russell, The Battle of Fayetteville Arkansas; Historical Enterprises, Santa Clara, Utah, 2019.

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]