2nd Arkansas Infantry Battalion
|2nd Arkansas Infantry Battalion (Confederate)|
Battle Flag of the 2nd Arkansas Infantry Battalion
|Country||Confederate States of America|
The 2nd Arkansas Infantry Battalion (1861–1862) was a Confederate Army infantry battalion during the American Civil War. The 2nd Arkansas Infantry Battalion was one of only three Arkansas units which served in Virginia during the Civil War. The 1st Arkansas Infantry Regiment arrived in Virginia in June 1861, and was present, though not engaged, at the battle of Manassas (Bull Run) in July. The 3rd Arkansas Infantry Regiment arrived in Virginia in July 1861, and was sent to the mountains of western Virginia.
The companies of the 2nd Arkansas Infantry Battalion were originally intended as re-enforcements for the 1st Arkansas Infantry Regiment. After about three months’ service in Virginia, the 1st Arkansas Regiment sent officers back to Arkansas on recruiting service. One of the men selected for this recruiting duty was William Naylor Bronaugh, a graduate of the University of Virginia had served as a professor at St. John’s College at Little Rock. Bronaugh had entered service as a Lieutenant of Company D, "Clan McGregor", 1st Arkansas. Shortly thereafter, Lieutenant Bronaugh was appointed regimental adjutant.
Lieutenant Bronaugh found three volunteer companies being organized at El Dorado, Hot Springs and Pine Bluff, and encouraged them to join the 1st Arkansas in Virginia. The three new companies headed for Virginia on September 3, 1861, where they were attached to the 1st Arkansas. The Confederate War Department refused to permit the 1st Arkansas to exceed its authorized regimental strength of ten companies. The Adjutant and Inspector-General's Office issued Special Orders, No. 194, dated October 29, 1861, which stated: "The following companies of Arkansas Volunteers are organized into a battalion to be designated the Second Infantry Battalion, Arkansas Volunteers, Major Bronaugh commanding." The companies were organized into the following lettered companies:
- Company A – the "Hot Springs Infantry", Organized at Hot Springs, Arkansas, September 17, 1861, by Captain Joseph A. Gregory.
- Company B – the "Fagan Guards", Organized at Pine Bluff, Jefferson county, Arkansas, September 3, 1861, by Captain Henry H. Beavers.
- Company C – the "Fagan Rifles", Organized at El Dorado, Union county, Arkansas, September 23, 1861, by Captain John R. Lacy.
A company of Maryland troops, called the "Maryland Zouaves," was attached to the 2nd Arkansas Battalion from February to June, 1862, but no muster rolls of the company for this period have been located.
The Battalion Staff of the 2nd Arkansas Infantry Battalion were:
- Bronaugh, William Naylor Major.
- Carrington, Paul R, Adjutant.
- Cunningham, James W., Quartermaster-Sergeant.
- Hanks, Ira M., Assistant Quartermaster and Ordnance Master.
- Hunter, James Franklin, Sergeant-Major.
- Bronaugh, Francis L, Surgeon. (brother of battalion commander).
- Jones, John T, Assistant Surgeon.
- McGehee, Samuel M, Assistant Quartermaster.
- Tatum, Thomas Champion, Commissary Sergeant.
The newly organized 2nd Arkansas Battalion spent the first half of its existence assigned to picket duty in the Aquia District of Virginia—Major-General Theophilus Hunter Holmes, commanding—as part of Brigadier-General Samuel Gibbs French's mixed brigade, which included the 35th Georgia, 22nd North Carolina, 2nd Tennessee, 47th Virginia, Fredericksburg Artillery, Maryland Flying Artillery, Caroline Light Dragoons and Stafford Rangers.
Spending the winter of 1861–62 on the shores of the Potomac took its toll on the battalion.
The muster rolls for the period indicate that a large percentage of the troops were hospitalized, or were already dead. The following spring, however, would be worse.
The 2nd Arkansas Battalion was transferred to Brigadier-General William Dorsey Pender's brigade, in Major-General Ambrose Powell Hill’s "Light Division," in preparation for the campaign which would come to be known as the Seven Days' Battles. With the 2nd Arkansas Battalion in Pender's brigade were the 16th, 22nd and 34th North Carolina Regiments, and the 22nd Virginia Battalion. Heavily engaged throughout the campaign, the 2nd Arkansas Battalion failed to survive it. At Beaver Dam Creek, near the village of Mechanicsville, Virginia, on June 26, 1862, the little battalion led the assault on the Federal position, and was decimated.
There is no official casualty list or after-action report from the 2nd Arkansas Battalion for the Battle of Mechanicsville—there were no commissioned or non-commissioned officers left standing to make out any reports. The battalion roster shows many names with the notation, "no further record." Since most of those so noted never returned to Arkansas, it is presumed that they were killed in the battle.
An article published shortly after the battle of Mechanisville, The "Richmond Dispatch" newspaper provided an acknowledgment of the heroism and sacrifice of the 2nd Arkansas Battalion:
" These are men who add to the name of patriot the sacred name of exile — these are the brave hearts who have answered the war-call from a distant quarter,. . . [T]hey were cool and determined; they looked with confidence upon the calm, dauntless brow of their commander, Major Bronaugh, and hailed in their hearts the triumph yet to come. . . The Arkansas Battalion lost more men in proportion to its number than that of any other command. They went into the fight like men and discharged their duty bravely, and when darkness closed the conflict, Major Bronaugh [mortally wounded] was found heroically at his post with but twelve men, whom he had rallied in the hottest of the fight.”
A flag belonging to the 2nd Arkansas Battalion was captured by Union sailors from the USS Anacostia on March 9, 1862. The flag was found by the sailors in trenches formerly occupied by the 2nd Arkansas Battalion and were identified by Oliver C. Cooper of the 1st Massachusetts Infantry as belonging to an Arkansas "company". The flag, which is a First National Flag Pattern, with eleven stars, measuring 35 and 1/2 inches by 61 and 1/2 inches is currently in the private collection of Paul Dolle of Rogers, Arkansas.
Consolidation with the 3rd Arkansas Infantry Regiment
The remnant of the 2nd Arkansas Battalion was formally disbanded under Special Orders, No. 152, dated July 15, 1862. The 139 survivors were transferred to the 3rd Arkansas Infantry Regiment, but most of them were soon discharged for various wounds and illnesses. Many of those who were well enough to remain in service with the 3rd Arkansas would later fall at Gettysburg, Chickamauga and the Wilderness. A dozen or so would survive to be surrendered at Appomattox Court House.
- List of Arkansas Civil War Confederate units
- Lists of American Civil War Regiments by State
- Confederate Units by State
- Arkansas in the American Civil War
- Arkansas Militia in the Civil War
- Collier, Calvin L. "They'll Do to Tie To!": The Story of the Third Arkansas Infantry, C.S.A." Little Rock, AR, CWRT Associates, 1988, reprint of 1959 ed. 233 p. E553.5.3rd.C65.
- Joslyn, Mauriel P. "'For Ninety Nine Years of the War" The Story of the 3d Arkansas at Gettysburg." Gettysburg Magazine 14 (Jan 1996): pp. 52–63. E475.53E482no14.
- Howerton, Bryan R., "Second Arkansas Infantry Battalion, CSA", Edward G. Gerdes Civil War Page, Accessed 23 November 2011 http://www.couchgenweb.com/civilwar/2ndbnhis.html
- Howerton, Bryan R., "Second Arkansas Infantry Battalion, CSA, Company A", Edward G. Gerdes Civil War Page, Accessed 22 March 2012, http://www.couchgenweb.com/civilwar/2ndbncoa.html
- Howerton, Bryan R., "Second Arkansas Infantry Battalion, CSA, Company B", Edward G. Gerdes Civil War Page, Accessed 22 March 2012, http://www.couchgenweb.com/civilwar/2ndbncob.html
- Howerton, Bryan R., "Second Arkansas Infantry Battalion, CSA, Company C", Edward G. Gerdes Civil War Page, Accessed 22 March 2012, http://www.couchgenweb.com/civilwar/2ndbncoc.html
- Howerton, Bryan R., "Second Arkansas Infantry Battalion, CSA, Field and Staff ", Edward G. Gerdes Civil War Page, Accessed 22 March 2012 http://www.couchgenweb.com/civilwar/2ndbnf&s.html
- Dedmondt, Glenn "The Flags Of Civil War Arkansas", (Pelican Publishing Co., 2009). ISBN 9781589801905, Page 39, Accessed 22 March 2012, https://books.google.com/books?id=KCAxwqU1oAEC&pg=PA39&dq=Richmond+Dispatch+June+1862+Arkansas+Battalion#v=onepage&q=Richmond%20Dispatch%20June%201862%20Arkansas%20Battalion&f=false
- "2nd Arkansas Infantry Battalion, CSA", Kraus-Everette Genealogy, Accessed 27 November 2011, "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-03-07. Retrieved 2012-06-27.
- The Daily Dispatch: June 28, 1862. Richmond Dispatch. 4 pages. by Cowardin & Hammersley. Richmond. June 28, 1862, The Daily Dispatch: June 28, 1862., [Electronic resource], Accessed 23 March 2012, http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A2006.05.0513%3Aarticle%3Dpos%3D33
- Edward G. Gerdes Civil War Home Page
- The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture
- The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies
- The Arkansas History Commission, State Archives, Civil War in Arkansas
- This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Government document "Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System, National Park Service".