“THE MARCH TO CORINTH” by Capt. J. H. McNamara
Daily Missouri Republican, St. Louis, MO, October 4, 1884
...Beyond Clarksville the army divided, taking different roads to Des Arc, for the better procuring of forage. Gen. Green's command took the "river road," in many places finding all river and no road.
Whilst in bivouac at Stony Point, news came in of the battle of Shiloh, telling of a victory to our arms on the first day, and a judicious falling back of our army on the second day. The men received the news with a cheer and ate up the day's rations at once, to show their exultation over the first day's victory and their sympathy with the second day's defeat.
Immediately after the news of the defeat was fully comprehended we resumed our march. For three days and night the rain fell heavily and steadily, increasing the depth of the road three-fold. When we got into Cypress Swamp there was no road visible; it was all a lake, with only the tops of the tall weeds showing above water. Six hundred wagons "struck out" in 600 trails, for not two could follow the same track. It was tried, when the first went to the hub and the second stopped at the wagon-bed. A detail of pioneers, with axes to cut out the new roads, accompanied each wagon. Indeed, for that matter, the whole army was formed into pioneers. Those of them who did not carry an axe shouldered a fence-rail to pry the wheels up when they got below the hubs. That night we perched ourselves on top of numerous little mounds that lay scattered through the swamp.
Next morning a few steps brought us from the tops of the miniature islands into the miniature sea, each man giving a shout as he just touched the water. An hour's wading brought the command in sight of where the bridges across Cypress Creek were out of sight - only the top rail of the balustrades were visible. There we stood, huddled together, up to our knees in the cold water, and the steady cold rain pouring down on us.
Soon our pioneer corps, under the command of Capt. Bill Harry, had a raft constructed, and, with the aid of poles, the division, in squads, floated off to the bridges. There were two bridges or two holes - each squad singing in chorus: "O-he-o, he-o, he-o, he."
The manner of getting the teams over the holes and bridges was novel but effective. A squad provided with a long rope, having a heavy iron hook attached to one end, was placed on each bridge. The hook was placed into the tongue of each wagon as it approached the "jumping-off place." A man, armed with a hickory stick, attended each mule. A lick from each of the six men on the flanks of the six mules, a crack from the teamster's whip, and a shout from the whole division, and the team was started. The mules made one mad plunge into hole No. 1 - nothing of them but their heads and tails over water. The details on the bridge hauling fast on the rope, the division singing out, "O-he-o, he-o, he-o, he," brought the sleek and dripping mules scrambling upon bridge No. 1. A few minutes to snort and pant and the heroic teamster to square himself in the saddle, the second rope was hooked into the tongue, the detail gave a wild "hi! hi!", the plunge is made into hole No. 2 - the tired and dripping mules scramble up on bridge No. 2, where a detail is waiting to push it through a mile of water. In this manner 600 teams were launched and ferried through Cypress Swamp.
It was a huge sport for the infantry to watch the cavalry getting across the bridges. Horse and rider would plunge boldly in together, and sometimes horse and rider came out separately. Whenever this happened the infantry sung out "O-he-o, he-o, he-o, he." The creek was dotted with hats and caps that went floating down the stream after the horse whilst the bold cavalryman stood on his "bridge of sighs" looking after his steed.
The infantry to reach the other side of the bridges, about 300 feet, had to wade one mile down one side of the stream, and a mile up on the other side, along a zig-zag trail "blazed" by the pioneers.
In this manner 3,000 men marched single file. Now mounting logs a few feet under water, cautiously feeling their footing; now scrambling over limbs of felled timber, sometimes to their arm-pits. Whenever a fellow missed his footing and went down to his chin he was cheered by the whole division.
In these two miles there was one conical mound a few feet above water. Each of the 3,000, as he topped this spot of dry land, faced "front to the rear" and gave a familiar imitation (as in camp). Sometimes it was like a shanghai, a bantam, a sheep, a goat, a bull, a donkey, and all sizes of dogs. One fellow, about seven feet high, threw us all off our balance with his imitation of a turkey-gobbler. It took the infantry half a day to make this little expedition; and it took the train the whole day to cross the bridges.
Night found our division four miles from where we started at daylight. There was no sleeping that night. Each mess built huge "log heaps," which we lighted on top, and stood around them in our drawers drying ourselves, whilst the rest of our clothing hung on cross poles. Our muskets, butt up, the bayonet stuck in the ground, served to hold knapsacks and haversacks.
It was a noisy camp. The mules hitched on either side of the wagon-tongues, kicking, biting, squealing and rattling their halter-chains over the few ears of corn in the trough, intermingled with such familiar exclamations as "Who-ho, Nance," "You, Kit," "Sam keep quiet, will you?" from the angry teamsters, who cracked their long whips after each exclamation.
The men sang camp songs, told yarns, and danced vigorously, if not gracefully, to keep the blood in circulation.
The "order of march" for next day gave us permission to "march at will." Each brigade to move as best it could at daylight. The men were so wearied, and the roads so cut up, that neither man nor beast could observe order on that day's march. We, however, dragged ourselves six miles, passing through Hickory Plains where some of the men were banqueted on butter-milk by the young ladies of the village.
After a day's rest we entered Des Arc, wondering how the other commands could get there.
“THE JOURNALS OF JAMES A. WALDEN - W.J. Lemke
Washington County Historical Society
3/24—16th Ark marches out of camp on Frog Bayou- toward Clarkville on Wire Rd-
Arrive Clarksville after four days marching-Next day, resumed march eastward toward Dover, the seat of Pope County
Passed through Dover in early hours of morning of 29 March
Two days later, they made the turn on to the road to Des Arc
Arrived Des Arc one week later
J. V. Frederick, ed., "War Diary of W. C. Porter," Arkansas Historical Quarterly, 11 (Winter 1952)
3/28 New recruits for the 16th Arkansas joined on the march including W. C. Porter and his friend Dan McGuire who enlisted on March 28 while the regiment was encamped along the Illinois River just west of Dover-“War Diary of W. C. Porter”
“JAMES A. CALDWELL, COMPANY H, 15TH ARKANSAS VOLUNTEER ARMY, JOURNAL”
Washington County Historical Society
3/24 Clear. We left camp and took up the line of march for Des Arc, we went 15 m/ crossed Mulberry and camped.
4/5 Clear Moved at 6. Adison and I rode in Mr. Brown’s wagon. We crossed the mountain and passed the 1 large steam mill. We reached camp at 2h. 25 m from Des Arc
4/6 Clear Sunday the regiment moved at 5 as usual. Adison and I rode again today. We crossed the cross road at Hickory Plains.
4/7 Rainy and disagreeable I rode again today. We got to Des Arc at noon and to camp at 1h. Orders to cook 5 days rations -We cooked some but it was so raining that we gave it up.
"JOHN M. WEIDEMEYER MEMOIRS OF A CONFEDERATE SOLDIER - 1860-1865"
Pearce Civil War Collection, Navarro College, Corsicana, Texas.
See also Missouri Digital Heritage
When our army had rested a few days at Frog Bayou, it began the march across the country to Des Arc Arkansas. A trip never to be forgotten. The constant heavy rains had inundated all the low country and our route lay through numerous marshes in which we waded sometimes the whole day. The labor of getting our artillery and wagons along was very great, frequently the men had to take the place of horses to drag these through the mud or across the creeks. When we finally reached Des Arc [Arkansas] our wagons and teams were sent to Texas. We took steamers to Memphis [Tennessee] but remained there only a few days. From there we were taken to Corinth Mississippi on the cars.
Friday 28th Again went to Van Buren, wanted to see Genl Price to try to get some position for my father that he might remain with us this was his wish - Jno. T. McClain also wanted something to do in the army. They were too old to go into the ranks but thought there ought to be something they could do - Father said if nothing else offered he was determined to enlist as private soldier - I could not see Genl Price but saw his Ajt. Genl. Col Snead who said they ought and must have a position - He told me to have them remain with my Company until he could see what could be done - When I returned to our old Camp found the army gone - I was told our Brigade was in Camp 12 miles on Clarksville road. Had to make the trip in the night - Saturday 29th Started at daylight - 21 miles to Ozark By previous arrangement I was to meet my father at Ozark today - Traveled with army to 7 miles of the town, then went on alone
 Reached Ozark [Arkansas] about 3. P.M. put up at Mrs Williams - engaged accommodation for father and two brothers Button & Billie - They all arrived in the evening - Pa and I went out to where Col Moore and I had buried the money, took out the $5,000.00 that my wife had been taking care of for my father & left Col Moore's - Sunday 30th Mch My two brothers and myself started early to overtake our army - Father & Mr McClain were to follow after going back to Van Buren - We overtook our command near Horse Creek 7 Miles from Clarksville Monday 31 Mch Moved at sunrise - passed through Clarksville & camped - 1 Apl Marched to near Dover & camped Pa & McClain came up with us today - Wednesday 2nd Marched 18 miles today - Now learn that we are going to Des Arc - 3rd Marched 18 miles today
 Friday 4th Apr Did not move today – Father & McClain left us for Des Arc - Saturday 5th Moved at Sunrise - Traveled 12 miles - Sunday 6th Marched 14 Miles and stick the swamp - Monday 7th - Could go only a few miles - Mud so deep but few wagons get to Camp before next morning - Tuesday 8th Remain in Camp - Wednesday 9th - Moved at Sunrise - The roads no better - Camped near Stony Point - Thursday 10th - Start at 12 M. detail with each wagon to help out of the mud - made 8 miles Camp on Cypress Creek - Friday 11th Deep, swolen creek to cross. Nearly swimming to teams before they get to bridge Infantry wade all the time sometimes waist deep - Cold and miserable - Travel about 5. miles - get over the swamp - Camp and make large fires to warm and dry
 Saturday 12th Apl 1862 Marched about 7 miles - road still very bad - 13th - Reached Des Arc after wading water all day Grandfather McClain & Jno T. Crenshaw here Genl Price issues proclamation saying he had received appointment of Maj Genl Confederate army - He could no longer command state guards, but asked them to go into the Confederate service with him - Monday 14th - Cooked three days rations and just before sundown embarked on the steamer Vicksburg - Left Jno Sims James Oldham & Wm Moffet to take care Stock & Wagons - Parted with father, McClain and Button who bought wagon & team to go to Texas - Tuesday 15th - Started down river at day light - Our boat runs very fast. entered the Mississippi river at 8 P.M. Wednesday 16th Reach Helena at daylight - Wooded - Thursday 17th - Reached Memphis [Tennessee] about 12 o'clock last night disembarked and camped near Fort. no tents so we bivouacked – Raining
“MEMOIRS OF SGT. I.V. SMITH, CSA" Daviess County, Mo, Historical Society
…we took up the line of march for Desark, Arkansas. Desark is situated on the White River two hundred miles nearly due east of Vanburen. A sappers and miner’s corps was organized to preceed the army, repair roads and provide ways for crossing the streams. They would cut long trees and fall them into the streams. In case one was not long enough to reach across, they would fall trees from both sides. The limbs would interlock and make a foot passage for the Infantry. The streams were generally swollen to bank full, but narrow.
Our day’s march was 15 miles per day. We would start about four o’clock in the morning, march one hour and rest ten minutes, march an hour, rest ten minutes, and so on until we had made our fifteen miles. We would generally get into camp by noon, and by morning would be rested and be ready for another day’s march. There was no straggling by the soldiers. The weather was fine and we made good time. We camped at the edge of a pine woods one night. Next morning the soldiers were told by the officiers to fill canteens, that we had twenty miles to make that day, and when we took a drink of water to take two swallows and not to drink any more, and only one drink an hour, as we would not see any more water for twenty miles. The instructions were followed then. I learned that people drink too much water, for we got through that day’s march as well as though we had had all the water we wanted to drink. We reached Desark without any special incident on the 5th day of April, 1862.
“CANNON SMOKE: THE LETTERS OF CAPTAIN JOHN J. GOOD, GOOD-DOUGLAS TEXAS BATTERY, CSA”
4/8 Des Arc-Capt Good [Tx btry]-left the Arty bgde near Peach Orchard Gap, 40 miles west of here. Little’s bgde is the only part of our army to have arrived, & one regt started down river this evening. Three other boats are at the wharf to transport the others.
I found Gov Jackson & Van Dorn here, & Gen Price had left a few moments before my arrival. Indications are we may be going to the Miss River, not sure.