CHAPTER 1, THE FORERUNNERS OF DAWSON'S REGIMENT.
Immediately following the adoption of the Confederacy, many Arkansas militia groups formed, mostly for a period of 90 days. An offer of 100 rifles was extended to each county that would furnish a company of militia under certain guidelines. The Star Company of Sevier County and the Davis Blues of Hempstead County formed in southwest Arkansas, and were accepted by the Arkansas Military Board. In anticipation of the offer, the Stars formed in April, the Blues at Nashville, Ark. on June 18, 1861. On the following day, June 19, the Nashville community hosted the Davis Blues to a fine going away gathering, together with a barbecue dinner and other gifts of clothing and such. The Honorable Charles B. Mitchell of nearby Washington, Ark., former U. S. Senator, now a Confederate Senator from Arkansas, spoke at the gathering.
That afternoon the Blues, under the command of Capt. Joseph L. Neal, left for Little Rock, arriving about June 23, and were mustered into the 5th Arkansas Infantry as Co. F for the period of 90 days. The regiment soon marched to Camp Walker, in Benton Co., under Col. Thomas P. Dockery, to support other troops in that area. Union troops were at the time trying to clear Confederate armies out of Missouri. The Sevier Stars, under of Capt. John G. McKean, apparently marched north from Sevier Co. to Camp Walker after this and were mustered into the 5th Arkansas Inf. as Co B (H?). Following democratic guidelines, an election of officers was held, in which Thomas P. Dockery was selected to command this new regiment with Capt. Joseph L. Neal as the Lt. Col. In the Davis Blues, the replacement Captain for Neal was Augusta S. Hutchinson, a man of strong military training.
In response to a private being slow in obeying a command, Col. Dockery picked up a nearby musket and stuck the soldier with the bayonet. Apparently all the company commanders in the regiment protested this, and threatened to return home if Col. Dockery was not removed from command. Dockery relinquished command of the regiment temporarily to Lt. Col. Neal at this time. Accompanying other Arkansas troops, the 5th regiment marched north from Camp Walker to join the Confederate forces in Missouri. Arriving at Wilson's Creek, immediately southwest of Springfield, they went into camp with other troops early in August. The troops of Gen. Sterling Price's Missouri Home Guard was present, being supported by Gen. Ben McCulloch's forces from Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana in an effort to secure that state under the Confederate flag.
Following the Battle of Wilson's Creek (Called Oak Hills by Confederates), the Arkansas Militia units marched back to Little Rock and were disbanded about August 25. At this time, the Arkansas Military Board extended an invitation for all to join the Regular Confederate Army. Only about 20 of the 3,000 men accepted the offer. Most of them thought the war would be only for a short duration and if needed, they would happily muster again.
The Davis Blues was a company of 97 men, including officers. The following roster was taken from 2 extant lists. Those names found on both lists are marked (*). There are more than 97 names on the combined list, made up by memory at a later date. It is thought some names were probably dropped before the unit marched out, headed for Little Rock.
Joseph L. Neal, Captain (*) (1), Augustus S. Hutchinson. (*) (2).
Simeon McCowen, 1st Lt. (*) Pascal R. Smith, 2nd Lt. (*)
F. Asberry McCowen, 3rd Lt. (*) 1st Sgt. C. F. Williams (*)
2nd Sgt. H. C. Smith 3rd Sgt. B. F. Miller
4th Sgt. Ward C. Ferguson (*) 5th Sgt. Augustus A. Leslie (*)
1st Cpl. I. A. Puckett (*) 2nd Cpl. George M. Clark (*)
3rd Cpl. Reeder Whitmore 4th Cpl. Jones J. Briggs (*)
Allman, Zeno L. (*) Douglas, Alex (*) Mahan, S. S.
Anderson Ab Edmason, R. A. Mayhen, R. S.
Askew, J. E. Ellis, J. W. McElroy, G. H.
Barton, J. A. Ellis, ? Meek, George W.
Bateman, John S. (*) Ellis, ? Merrell, B. S. (*)
Bane, Hohan (*) Ellis, ? Mitchell, James
Bell, George H. Farley, John A. (*) Moon, L. L. T.
Bell, John H. (*) Ferguson, Henry Morberry, Peter
Bell, James Ferguson, James Neal, Noel G.
Biggs, Henry Ferguson, John H. O'Donald F. D.
Biggs, John Foster, F. D. Powell, J. W. (*)
Biggs, Joseph Fountian, Ed (*) Price, Alex (*)
Blalock, Jarrett Gatlin, Andrew Puckett, J. W.
Blevins, Joe Gill, Thomas A. Puckett, William
Boren, W. L. Goodlett, David M. (*) Reed, Joe L. (*)
Briggs, William H. (*) Goodlett, Jesse (*) Reeder, John
Caldwell, N. D. (*) Goshen, P. B. Renfro, Andrew J.
Castleberry, Odom Green, C. H. Renfro, Ben F.
Castleman, George Green, William H. (*Renfrow, George W.
Chandler, J. E. (*) Hammock, Chris Renfro, Thomas J.
Clingan, Ed (*) Hill, W. M. Robinson, John W.
Clingan, Jackson Holcomb, Joe Scott, James W.
Cochran, D. M., Rev. Holt, James H. (*) Scott, John L.
Coley, Thomas H. (*) Holt, Jesse T. (*) Scoggin, W. G., Jr (*)
Cook, B. F. Jackson, C. H. Smith, Alex
Cook, M. B Johnson, L. J. (*) Smith, John W.
Coulter, M. A. Johnson, William (*) Stuart, Crit ?
Coulter, Peter Kent, Thomas Thompson, A. E. (*)
Cowling, D. C. (*) Leslie, Curtis Thompson, F. M. (*)
Craig, Thomas Y. Leslie, Edwin Vina, Andrew
Crawford, A. C. Leslie, Hugh Wallace, W. P. (*)
Crawford, Jerome Leslie, W. E. Weaver, J. N. (*)
Davis, John (*) Ludwell, James Wynn, M. A. (*)
Doggett, A. E. (*)
The Sevier County Stars.
Capt. McKean, John G. 1st Lt. Hopson, James, 2nd Lt. Stroud, John 3rd Lt. McKeen, Felix G. 1st Sgt. Dillahaunty, Sam
Barnett, Joe Kennedy, ? Polk, Clay
Barton, Babe Laird, John Polk, Cam
Barton, Bill Leak, Hardy Reese, Jordan
Bishop, Solon Leslie, Felix Reese, Sloman
Blackard, Carroll Locke, Jim Riley, W. S.
Blackard, Tom Lowry, Dr. W. L. Russey, Matt
Brown, Ben Mattocks, Bob Saunders, Hansford
Casey, ? McCown, Thad Smith, Charles
Collins, Abe McCown, Malcom Smith, Jabez
Corder, David McIntosh, W. P. Smith, William
Coulter, James Millwell, James Stovall, Merrit
Davis, Barney Morgan, David Torrance, James
Davis, Berry Morrell, Elijah Venable, Bud
Dollarhaide, W. K. Mourning, Gil Venable, James
Edwards, James Mourning, Joe Vickery, James
French, Levi Myrick, Frank Weaver, Jack
French, Sherrod Nelson, David Weems, Henry
Gray, Jim Nelson, James Weems, John
Hamiter, Hodge Nelson, Wylie White, Ben
Hamiter, John Tom Norwood, Ben White, Robert
Hankins, John Norwood, Dr. Jim Whitmore, James
Hankins, William D. C. Norwood, L. H. Williams, George
Harris, Henry Odom, Patsy Williamson, Scott
Hill, William K. Owens, Jack Williamson, Henry
Holman, Henry Parker, Nick Wofford, James
Holman, William Penney, Henry Woodruff, William
Jackson, Jilson Peppers, John
Note: Henry Penny later, 2nd Ark. Mounted Rifles, deserted 9-6-63.
Berry Davis, later, 2nd Ark. Mounted Rifles, Killed 9-20-63.
Union forces at Wilson's Creek were just under 5,000 men, of which 235 were killed, 754 wounded and 102 missing. Of the Confederate forces, a total in excess of 11,000 men were present, of which 265 were killed, 900 wounded and 80 missing. The 5th Ark. Inf. was made up of 10 companies, commanded by Captains Titsworth, Dismuke, Neal, Dowd, Whaling, Lawrence, Hartzig, Arnold, McKean, and Hutchinson. Col. Thomas P. Dockery and Lt. Col. Joseph L. Neal commanded the regiment. The first six companies named were later sent, under Lt. Col. Neal to support the 3rd La. and 3rd Ark. The Division of Arkansas State Guards was commanded by Gen. N. B. Pearce, and was made up of 3 infantry regiments, the 3rd, under Col. John R. Gratiot, 4th, under Col. J. D. Walker and the 5th under Col. T. P. Dockery. These troops were used in support cavalry units, the 1st Ark. Cav. commanded by Col. DeRosey Carroll, and an Independent Cav. Co. under Capt. C. A. Carroll.
Two batteries of artillery, under Capt's. W. E. Woodruff from Little Rock and J. G. Reid from Ft. Smith were also in support.
After camping at Crane Creek, the Confederates started marching north at midnight, Aug. 4, and camped at Wilson's Creek, about 10 miles southwest of Springfield. Gen. Nathaniel Lyon's Union Troops had been active in scouting the area during this period, being involved in a few skirmishes. Orders for the Confederates to march at 9 P. M. on Aug. 9 toward Springfield were cancelled because of rain. Lyons, however, marched that night toward the Confederate camp, halting about 1 P. M., when enemy campfires were spotted. Part of his command under Col. Franz Sigel, had been sent to circle the area, to arrive at the Confederate camp from the southeast. He was to attack when he heard Lyons cannons firing. At daylight, Lyons advanced and soon the firing was general. The Confederates were having breakfast as Totten's Union Artillery and Woodruff's became engaged in a duel. Price became heavily involved against Lyons, while McCulloch and Pearce dealt with Sigel, after which McCulloch joined Price. The 5th regiment for the first 2 hours was sent to the right in support of Reid's Battery, from which position they assisted in the capture of Sigel's artillery.
Most of the action was on the left, where the 3rd regiment Ark. and the 3rd La. were being supported by Woodruff's Btry. Later, Pearce, including six companies of the 5th regiment being led by Lt. Col. Joseph L. Neal, was sent from the reserves to assist the 3rd Ark. Lt. Col. Neal was mortally wounded in this action, called Bloody Hill and Col. Tom P. Dockery then took command. The four remaining companies of the 5th Ark., including McKean's and Hutchinson's, continued to guard Reid's Btry., until Reid was moved later in the morning, at which time they were sent out as skirmishers. Three men from the 5th regiment were killed and 11 were wounded, but with the exception of Lt. Col. Neal, their names have not been found. The battle raged for 6 and 1/2 hours, resulting in the death of Gen. Lyons, after which the Union Forces withdrew about 11:30 to Springfield. Union Troops soon started marching away to the east under the command of Maj. S. D. Sturgis, and the battle so ended.