CHAPTER 2. TURBULENT TIMES, THE DIE IS CAST.
During the Dog Days of August, across the hills and valleys of Southern Missouri, each day started as the preceding one for as long as man can remember. Rising in the eastern sky to drive away the somber shades of night, the sun promised another hot day was in the making. From a distance, the song of the Mockingbird broke the morning silence. Cattle could be heard in barnyard, announcing that it was milking time again. The drumming of dry flies would soon fill the arena, continuing until darkness shrouded the landscape once more. It was a lazy time of the year, with the crops laid by to complete their growth, unassisted by the plow and hoe.
August 10, 1861 started as did any other deep summer day in southern Missouri with the usual sounds of the morning, but this day was destined to be anything but ordinary. Two armies would meet in battle near Springfield, Mo., known as Oak Hills, or Wilson's Creek, so called by the Union forces. This was not just some event springing up announced without cause, but was a natural following of the political scene that had been building in this country for some time. The decade preceding this event was an anxious time for the young country, the United States of America.
The population had been shifting west to escape the more crowded areas, searching for that special place where land was cheap and a new life could be built. Coming to maturity, men recognized that life was to be a weary journey at best. With stoic mentality, oblivious to pain, they sought no shaded nook on the by-ways from which to beg. Life promised happiness in simplicity, excitement in the usual and personal fulfillment in the ability to provide their few needs. Worry was replaced with the ability to make a tough decision and see it through, whatever the outcome. Such was the world young men grew up in facing the advent of the Civil War.
Settlement in this new land brought with it inevitable political turmoil, arising from a number of issues. Topics that could raise an argument on most courthouse squares were States Rights, Slavery and Free Soil. Some territories were approaching statehood, several states were attempting to secede from the Union to form The Confed. States of America. When the first angry shot was fired on Ft. Sumter at 4:30 A. M. on April 12, 1861, a rapid polarization of idealogies solidified. South and eastern areas of Arkansas were predominately Confederate in viewpoint, while the north and west were divided or non committed. This all changed however, with the firing on Ft. Sumter. On May 1, delegates of that state voted 69 to 1 to cast their lot with the Confederacy. Missouri was deeply divided, ending with two governments. While Missouri remained loyal to the Union, another segment tried desperately to bring it under the Confederate flag, succeeding initially in many sections of the state. But this was to change early in the war with the Confederate armies being driven from the state. Even so, local conflict after this was still to leave Missouri in bloody turmoil.
During the Civil War, one person in six served in the military, with 600,000 deaths in the service, representing a large percentage of the men of military age. This number is greater than the deaths in all other wars combined this country has fought from the Revolution to today. Disease was the major killer, yet medieval tactics also escalated death and injuries. Modern weapons were used, but the military persisted in ancient tactics. Many battles were a turkey shoot, with opposing forces lining up and shooting. Using the cannon, with canister and grape shot, these tactics proved tragic indeed. True, as the war progressed, battlefield tactics continued to be modified, but by this time they were too little and too late.
During the summer of 1861, a number of military units were formed throughout Arkansas in preparation for defending the state. Arkansas contributed 60,000 Confederate soldiers and 14,000 Union, of which 1/4th died during the war. Enlistment periods initially were for 90 days in militia groups, and for one year in others. Eager to make contribution, some of these units marched north to assist Missouri units secure that state for the Confederacy. The Battle of Oak Hills was one of the contests in that effort. Some veterans from this battle returned home with captivating stories of a glorious victory, receiving accolades from the home folks. Local philosophers and politicians honed this interest to a fevered pitch, and the impending doom was not seriously recognized. Brave young men answered the call sounding across the forest glades and hamlets. Fearless men organized themselves to defend their wives, parents, children and homes. Charles L. Dawson, received a commission to raise a regiment of 1,000 men, and the mustering of men began. This unit was later to be known as Dawson's 19th Arkansas Volunteer Infantry Regiment.
Available records reveal that there were two 19th Ark. Inf. Regts, Dawson's and Dockery's. Dawson's Regiment was later divided into two regiments, adding to the confusion. When Dockery's unit was at the Battle of Corinth, Miss. in Oct., 1862, Dawson's was at Arkansas Post, Ark. near the mouth of the Arkansas River. Here, as part of a Division commanded by Brig. Gen. Thomas J. Churchill, they were attacked and compelled to surrender to superior Union Forces. Some in the command were absent at the time of the surrender and were later consolidated with portions of other units escaping the capture. This new unit was called Dawson's Arkansas Infantry Regiment, and was under the command of Colonel Dawson, who had escaped the capture himself. Following the captured, most of the original regiment was sent to Camp Douglas, Illinois, and other prisoner of war camps in the north. In April, 1863, these troops were released through exchange provisions in Virginia, and were consolidated with the captured portions of other units to reform the 19th Arkansas Infantry Regiment. Augusta S. Hutchinson, second in command of the original regiment, came out of captivity to command this reformed regiment.
Locating responsible men in southwest Arkansas, eager to assist in the cause, Dawson set about raising 10 companies to form a regiment. These men used their influence in local areas to enroll soldiers for 1 year enlistment periods. By Oct., 1861, these companies began to form. A change came, however, in April of 1862, with the passing of the Confederate Conscript Act. This law basically cancelled all prior contracts, extended all enlistments to a period of three years or for the duration of the war. A $50 bonus was offered for enlisting, to be paid during their tenure of service. All men between the ages of 17 and 35 were subject to enrollment. This hated law was not present, however, when the 19th began its formation. Each company was organized under strong democratic guidelines, with the officers and non-commissioned officers selected by a popular election from the ranks.
Most families of the men who enlisted were relatively newcomers to Arkansas. Having been born in Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama or Mississippi, Some came to Arkansas in their youth with their parents. The one interest shared by all was Responsibility to their families and communities from which they came, The desire for individual states to determine their own destiny, unhindered by a central government of the combined community of states was the main abiding issue. Other concerns were present in the political scene, but this was the main issue. Fighting erupting in Missouri, especially along the Kansas border, with the helpless farms in the vicinity being caught in the middle. Some men wrestled with the conviction of States Rights and yet not wanting to dissolve the Union. Few men in the 19th Arkansas were slave owners, a dead issue with them, but the right of the local communities to determine their own destiny was a burning coal of fire.
Very few of these raw-boned boys from the wilderness were from a military background. Some may have represented Arkansas, under Archibald Yell, in the fight for the freedom of Texas from Mexico, or had heard their fathers or uncles tell of it. Perhaps their grandfathers had told them of serving under Old Hickory, Andrew Jackson, in the Battle of New Orleans against the British, or had served in the Revolutionary War. Now it was their turn to "go to the ball." Some members of Co. F had fought at the Battle of Oak Hills (Wilson's Creek) in Capt. McKean's Star Co. of Sevier County, designated Co. B, 5th Arkansas Infantry. Others, in Company G, were former members of Hutchinson's Company of Davis' Blues from Hempstead County, designated Co. F in the same regiment, which was commanded by Thomas P. Dockery. Due to a blotched effort by Dockery to discipline a soldier, the company commanders refused to serve under him, and Joseph L. Neal, who had been elected Lt. Col. of the Regiment, led the regiment in the Battle of Oak Hills, called Wilson's Creek by the Union Army. This regiment was raised for a period of 90 days to assist Generals Sterling Price and Ben McCullogh in an effort to control Missouri for the Confederacy. After Oak Hills, they disbanded about August 25, 1861 at Little Rock.
Paraclifta, Sevier County, on Nov. 19, 1861 was the Rendezvous point for Dawson's regiment. The new soldiers of the initial seven companies formed, marched from the home communities in a rag-tag fashion, amid tears, cheers and handshakes of homefolk. Arriving at Paraclifta, none were surprise when Charles L. Dawson was elected to command the new regiment. Irritation presisted, however, when he proceeded to select regimental staff officers without an election. P. R. Smith became Lt. Col., Augusta S. Hutchinson, Adjutant and John Jobe, Judge Advocate. Jobe, on May 22, 1862 became Asst. Surg., but resigned in November. John W. Robinson became ACS. Soon they marched to Camp Smith, Hempstead County, to await the expected arrival of equipment, arms and orders. As the waiting continued, the winter grew more severe and the new begin to wear thin, when no arms, equipment and orders arrived. The envisioned daily fare of excitement proved elusive. Nothing glorious is found in the drudgery and boredom of regular camp duties, especially when embarrassed by the denial of arms and necessary equipment. All were willing to share a soldiers fate, but not a few were impatient with the inactivity. Lt. C. A. Floyd of Co. C expressed this in a letter to Maj. Gen. A. S. Johnston.
"Camp Smith, Hempstead County Arkansas, January 7, 1862, General A. S. Johnston. Dear Sir, Being now a volunteer, enlisted by your call through Gov. Rector by his Recruiting Officer, H. L. Dawson, to rendezvous at Paraclifta, Sevier County, and state above mentioned. Having thus been called into camp by the said H. L. Dawson with pretended orders, that you have ordered him to receive a less number of men in a company than 68 commissioned officers and so on. My company and others not being full now, remain camped. The Recruiting Officer assuming the authority held an election for Colonel and other field officers, and having been himself elected for Colonel, assumed the authority of appointing his staff officers. At, and before the time of rendezvous, did firmly assert that we were to be equip by the Southern Confederacy through your orders, which we have not received. Having been in camp six weeks, and not received any orders reliable from you, renders our situation precarious at this time. And knowing that you had ordered all unarmed troops to be disbanded, and the governor, failing to issue orders to his subordinates to that effect, we are held in camp. And the state, assuming the prerogative to buy arms, and having purchased the old and ineffective arms, we are now told we are received by your Excellency and held in camp as such. The cold chilling blasts of winter are upon us, and our men are suffering from the inclemency of a winter atmosphere, and I further inform that our Southwest Arkansas men are as patriotic as any in the world, but they have been miserably treated by our state officers, which begets dissatisfaction and no confidence in the state officers. And could they be assured of your recognition in the premises, they would show themselves worthy soldiers, and ready to meet the enemy on any occasion that the emergency may require. But we volunteered as Confederate troops, and Confederate troops we will be, or leave the camp in disorder, as we have been brought
into it through impure motives of the State Authorities, if not recognized by you. While we thus speak, we are ready to respond to the call of our country. You will confer great favor on the southwest Arkansas, by informing us of the true state of affairs, which will do much in the future for the ready enlistment of volunteers. Nothing but assurance of a soldiers treatment is necessary to enlist volunteers here when they are needed, and address me at Wilton, Arkansas, C. A. Floyd."
By January 1, 1862, with new recruits arriving every few days, the ranks of the first seven companies had grown to above 500 men, with three more companies yet to arrive. After their arrival, in February and March, there were over 800 men present for duty. From November through March, about 44 men had died or been discharged. Listed below are those who died in this period, with the date of death and the company they were in.
William Linville (A), 11-3. William Edwards (E), 11-22.
John Eades (A), ?. William Ward (E), 3-4.
Daniel Sawyer (F), 3-4, Jasper Newton (A), 3-12.
E. C. Greathouse (G), 3-12. Richard Snellgrove (A), 5-14.
M. P. McClure (C), 3-18. W. C. Reynolds (G), 3-19.
Campbell Baulch (H), 3-21. O. E. McClure (C), 3-24.
T. J. Hadley (K), 2-29, at Little Rock.
Discharges were inevitable, as men were found physically unable to cope with stress of life in the field. Those discharged during this period included:
Benjamin James (F), 12-15. Washington Bashaw (F), 12-19.
C. W. Bradshaw (E), 12-22. John Elkins (A), 12-25.
B. J. Roberson (C), 1-1. H. T. Love (E), 1-5.
G. S. Martendale (C), 2-1. W. B. Milliver (F), 2-2.
W. Borer, (G) 2-4. W. Boren (G), 2-4-62.
Charles Kent (G), 2-11. John R. Daves (A), 2-12.
Zachariah Widner (A), 2-21. William Wheeling (A), 3-18.
J. A. Morgan (E), 3-22. John West (A), 3-25.
Jesse Lavender (A), 3-25. Martin Davis (A), 3-26.
James M. Gentry (A), 3-26. Francis Kizer (A), 3-27.
G. W. Wallis (F), 3-27. J. B. Faulk (A), 3-28.
S. T. M. Cothran (B), 3-28. Joel Dyer (B), 3-28.
Joseph Thompson (B), 3-28. B. H. Staton (B), 3-28.
John Beason (H), 3-28. Thomas Harris (H), 3-28.
James A. McCord (H), 3-28. William Yandell (H), 3-28.
Jesse Cooper, (K), 3-28.
William Yandell later appeared with those who died at Camp Douglas, Ill. as a prisoner of War. Other losses in March included:
N. S. McKinnon (A), drummed out of the service on March 2.
Richard Hudson (H), deserted March 22.
M. C. Hart, (F) transf., Col. Sim's Texas Cav., March 23, 1862.
The following list gives the formation date of the various companies, and the number believed to have been present at the end of March. Although the actual number present may have varied some from the totals given, they would not have been less than the amount shown. Some names have been found associated to the regiment that cannot thus far be varified. They are in the roster, but not here.
Company E formed Oct. 1, 1861, Rocky Comfort, Sevier County, with 78
men present, had lost 5 men but had grown to 97 by March 28, 1862.
Company A formed Oct. 10, 1861 at Antonia with 90 men present, had
lost 14 but had grown to 105.
Company F formed Oct. 12, 1861 at Paraclifta, Sevier County, with 75
men present, had lost 6 men but had grown to 80.
Company B formed Oct. 18, 1861, Center Point with 75 men present, had
lost 3 but had grown to 92.
Company C formed Oct. 19, 1861 at Nashville, Pike County, with 70 men
present, had lost 4 but grew to 90.
Company D formed Oct. 25, 1861 in Polk County with 80 men present.
Records reveal no additions or losses by March 28, 1862.
Company G formed Nov. 19, 1861 at Nashville, Pike County, with 65 men
present, had lost 3 and had grown to 76.
Company H formed Feb. 22, 1862 at Waldron, Scott County, with 100 men
present, had lost 5 and numbered 95.
Company I formed Feb. 26, 1862 at Nashville, Pike County, with 92 men
present, but had recorded no changes in personnel by March 28.
Company K formed March 3 in Sevier County, with 75 men present, had
lost 1 and numbered 74 by the end of March.
Apparently the new regiment departed from Paraclifta soon after the rendezvous for Camp Smith, near Center Point in Hempstead County, and were there until perhaps early in February. From here, it is believed they moved to Camp Anderson, the location of which is not known at the present. Marching north in answer to the call for troops to assist in freeing their sister state, Missouri, from Union domination, the regiment passed through Waldron, in Scott County. Being joined there by Company H on February 22, they continued north, passing over a series of sharp ridges running east to west several miles in length. One of these ridges was called Backbone, on which a battle by that name was to be fought later in the war. Crossing the flat prairie landscape toward the Arkansas River, they approached and passed through the town of Van Buren. Following the Telegraph road, they continued north, passing to the west of the imposing Boston Mountain Range, and on toward Cane Ridge, arriving March 3, 1862.
Upon arriving at Stickler's Station, Gen. Sterling Price, the commander of the Missouri Home Guards, gave 300 picked over muskets, stored in Cove Creek Valley, to the unarmed 19th Ark. troops. About a day was lost in marching across the mountain and repairing these weapons. With the guns being made usable, they marched back, arriving at Camp Stephens on the 7th. Finding Gen. Martin E. Green's 2nd Missouri troops guarding the wagon train, they joined them, waiting for further orders.
The 19th, commanded by Lt. Col. P. R. Smith, did see action against the Union forces, however it was minor and in an indecisive role. Col. Dawson was absent at the time, probably trying to obtain adequate arms for his troops. These troops were the first in the area of Camp Stephens to observe the movement of Federal troops coming down Sugar Creek Valley. Green positioned his troops across the valley, and a firefight followed, from which the Federal Army quickly withdrew. It is not clear what relationship existed at this time between the 19th and Gen. Albert Pike, commander of the Indian troops from Oklahoma. Late in Feb., Gen. Pike had given money to Col. Dawson to buy arms, but considering the shortness of time involved, he probably had not been very successful in obtaining many. However, it appears that the intent was present to attach the 19th Arkansas to Pike's command.
By March 1, the Confederate Army, commanded by Maj. Gen. Earl Van Dorn, numbering under 17,000, was poised for battle. Under him was Gen. Sterling Price with 7,000 Missourians, Brig. Gen. Ben McCulloch commanding 8,000 Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas troops, Brig. Gen. Albert Pike with 1,000 men from Indian Territory, and a number of smaller and unattached units. The last 50 miles to reach the battle site by the Confederate Army was through a heavy snowstorm, and was completed in 2 days. The Union Army consisted of under 11,000 well armed troops, commanded by Brig. Gen. Samuel Curtis. The two armies met at a place called the Elkhorn Tavern, near Bentonville, Arkansas and the Battle of Elkhorn (Pea Ridge by Union troops), was fought March 7 and 8, 1862.
Basically, the battle plan of Van Dorn was to pass around the Union right and attack from the north west. Price led the line of march to attack from the north toward Elkhorn Tavern, and McCulloch from the west toward Lee Town, 2 miles from Elkhorn. The first day, though hindered by unforeseen delays, proved to be a Confederate victory. However, by the 2nd day, Curtis had been able to shift his positions to an advantage and the battle was his. Casualties numbered about 1,300 for each side in the contest, after which Van Dorn pulled his armies back south of the mountains to Van Buren, Arkansas. The Union Army, in the Battle of Pea Ridge, solidified Union control of Missouri for the rest of the war.
The Confederate Army remained in the area for some time, and the 19th appeared to have camped at Dripping Springs, some 10 miles north of Van Buren. Here, 1st Lt. W. C. Reynolds (G) died on March
19, apparently from disease. By the 28th, they were at Ft. Smith, where Jordan Arnold transferred from Co. B to K. Later, However, it appears that they moved southwest into east central Indian Territory, near present day Atoka, Okla., where John Flowers of Company A died and was buried on April 5. J. W. Bates, also buried here, is believed to have been the Washington Bates of Company H. Below are the names of those who died and were known to have been buried in a cemetery, today known as the Hankins- Confederate Cemetery, located just north of Atoka, Oklahoma.
Thomas Baker (B) 4-21 J. W. Bates (H) 5-4
W. C. Davis (C), 4-22 W. J. Faulkner (D) 4-?
John Flowers (A) 4-5 C. A. Floyd (C) 5-30
Francis Johnson (A) 4-25 Thomas Mayben (I) 4-25
James Neugent (A) 4-23 J. J. Runnels (I) 4-23
Even though a stone for C. A. Floyd is still present in this cemetery, his father, Anthony Floyd, when he was discharged from the regiment June 3, disinterred the body and returned it home to Nashville, Arkansas for burial. About half of the regiment, some 40 men per company, were given furloughs, beginning about the middle of April. Col. Dawson allowed groups of soldiers going home to a common location to borrow a wagon and team for transportation. Anthony Floyd apparently went with one of these groups, transporting the body of his son. Most likely the men being furloughed were going home to assist the families harvesting their wheat and doing the spring plowing necessary for the survival of the family while they were gone.
Hugh A. Brothers estimated that about 300 men were left on the road sick or as nurses along the 175 miles between Ft Smith and Blue Creek, where Camp McCulloch was located. The measles went through the regiment with devestating results. On the evening of April 24, three men were buried, a scene which was being duplicated frequently.
Mail was carried home by men leaving on furlough or sick leave, frequently a man would be hired to carry the mail from the camp to a designated place of delivery. Co. H. had such a man who rode monthly between Camp Mculloch and Waldron. The same man had an agreement to also carry the mail for Capt. Gauts Co., in another regiment, to Danville. Leaving camp on the 1st, mail was delivered to Danville and Waldron about the 15th of each month. Lorenza Antony was the mailman.