The Arkansas in the Civil War Message Board

Re: Van Dorn's Route
In Response To: Re: Van Dorn's Route ()

Here are some steamer references and additional details on the march route.

“W. C. Porter War Diary”
March 28, 1862-Left home at noon, arrive Illinois Bayou [about 24 miles east of Clarksville] sundown. McGuire and I sworn in
29th-About 17 miles today-camped in Gumlog [small community northeast of present Atkins]
30th-Sunday-pretty day-on the march- At Gregory’s-travelled 6 miles, camped on nice little creek
31st-travelled about 15 miles-Camped on a creek called Cypress
April 1st- travelled 15 miles-low marshy, sickly looking country
2nd-ten miles
3rd-15 miles over the Bull Mountains-country muddy road
4th-layed up to rest
5th-12 or 15 miles over very slushy country
6th-passed a little town called Hickory Flat-about 15 miles from Des Arc
7th-In camp, a mile below Des Arc
8th-have just got on board the Golden Age

The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. ; Series 1 - Volume 8
HEADQUARTERS TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DISTRICT, Van Buren, March 22, 1862. Maj. Gen. STERLING PRICE: GENERAL: I leave this evening on the steamboat Lelia for Little Rock and White River, for the purpose of organizing the new levies of troops now assembling there and to prepare for the reception of your command. Special Orders, No. 28, makes provision for the march of your brigade from this point. Please direct your march, via Clarksville, Dover, and Springfield (Conway County), toward Batesville, on White River.

“THE MARCH TO CORINTH” by Capt. J. H. McNamara
Gen. Parsons and his staff were aboard the "Little Rock," his commissary, the good Col. S. Roberts, supplied the flour, hams, coffee, sugar and rice, and the boat supplied all the extras; by this arrangement we fared sumptuously on the trip.
At Memphis, The east bank of the river was dotted with the tents of those commands awaiting transportation to Corinth. The levee had more the appearance of an arsenal than a depository for merchandise. Piles of all sizes of cannon balls, guns, broken carriages & caissons lay scattered about. The famous "Arkansas Ram" lay there in the first stages of construction.
In a few minutes the "Little Rock" had discharged her cargo of veterans, who marched direct for the Glasgow House, which was at once a hospital & hotel. There lay ill of his wounds, received at Shiloh, one of Missouri's ablest soldiers, Gen. Bowen, nursed by his heroic wife.

4/14 Mon, Weidemeyer of Rosser’s Bn-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

........Gen. Parsons & his staff were aboard the "Little Rock," his commissary, the good Col S. Roberts, supplied the flour, hams, coffee, sugar & rice, & the boat supplied all the extras; by this arrangement we fared sumptuously on the trip.

“Leach Diary”
After marching seventeen days through the rain and mud, wading water for miles two feet deep and pulling our wagons with our own hands through the mud for days, we arrived at Dezark (Des Arc), and the next night we were quartered on board the steamer Vicksburg. At this place we left all our baggage but what we could carry; next morning we started for Memphis, Tenn. We had a pleasant trip considering that we were very much crowded.

“Guide to Missouri Confederate Units 1861-1865” Jim McGhee
Rosser’s Battalion (Also known as 1st or 7th Battalion)”
At Des Arc the battalion boarded the steamer Vicksburg and landed at Memphis on April 17.

Eleanor S. Brockenbrough Library
The Museum of the Confederacy
“Letter book of Trans-Mississippi Department/Army of the West”

4/7EVD/ Col WNR Beall, AAG HQ TMD Des Arc, Col James P. Major at Devall’s Bluff – 4 co’ of Ark volunteers are arriving by steamer. Organize into regts & have them report back to HQ. EVD will appoint officers for regts. Send the sick aboard steamer to Little Rock
4/8 EVD/Col WNR Beall, AAG HQ TMD Des Arc, Col James P. Major At Devall’s Bluff – use the Bracelet & other transportation, except for the Kaskaskia, to send a full load of troops to Memphis to load on the Magnolia
4/13 DHM HQ TMD Des Arc, Col James P. Major at Devall’s Bluff – stop the first large MS steamer on its way to Des Arc. Load troops & necessary freight. If Magnolia is the first, let her come on. If she cannot, let DHM know and the number of people & animals loade1d on her so he can send down enough to equal her complement
4/21 EVD/DHM HQ AW Memphis, Col L. D. McKissick Provost Marshall Set up a guard detail of 2 nco’s & 12 privates to report to Lt. Mohler on the steamer Republic

4/9 HQ TM Dist, Des Arc, Van Dorn to Major A. M. Haskell IG- Make every effort to get some of the captured arms for my command or any arms you can get; also all the ammunition you can. Send to Gen Beauregard in my name. Keep him Informed of all arrivals of troops from here. Inquire if it will be necessary for me to send over any wagons & teams & how many. Send more steamboats. I am moving too slowly. Show this to Adams. Impress the QM at Memphis with the importance of preparing forage for me.

4/10-Memphis- Maj Anderson QM to Van Dorn at Des Arc-20 boats are ordered up White River to report to you for duty. There are some of the largest class boats lying at & above the mouth of the river, which I understand could go to Des Arc if they would. They were ordered to go as far up the river as possible. I am doing all in my power to provide forage.

4/10 Des Arc [S O #47?] -Col McCarver’s reg’t of Ark Inf will transfer at once to the steamer Gen Price... on reaching Memphis, he and Col Lemoyne to report to Rust
4/13 Memphis, Capt John Adams to Van Dorn-The following dispatch sent to Capt Carter, C. S. Navy, from Capt Huger, C. S. Navy, at Fort Pillow:
The ball will open in the morning. Come up at once. Chased down this morning by seven gunboats and five mortar boats
Magnolia goes to Ox Bows, on White River, tonight.

4/25 Memphis, Maury to Col Rosser cdg post of Memphis-Please furnish a permanent guard of 12 men & 1 nco on the steamer Republic over the ord stores. They are to report to Lt Mohler acting ord officer. Since the other troops are under marching orders, I suggest using the home guard.

4/27 HQ Army of the West, Memphis-Maury to Capt Johnson, You will proceed in the steamer furnished for the purpose by the QM along the Ms River. You will inform the planters on its banks that the river is now open to the enemy, & that the interests of our country demand that they shall at once destroy all of their cotton.
No time is to be lost in the execution of this duty. Should any hesitate or fail to comply with your call upon them, you will yourself take possession of and burn the cotton, taking care to injure no other property.
It is made your duty to see that all of the cotton within reach of the river is destroyed at once. The proprietors will take an accounting of the amount destroyed, as you will of all which you may have to destroy yourself.
These orders are given to you by Gen Van Dorn under instructions from Gen Beauregard.
In executing the above orders you will go as far up and down the Ms as the gunboats of the enemy will allow; and in the event of your being pursued by them, if you cannot run your boat into a place of security from them, you must, on abandoning, destroy her, to prevent the enemy from getting possession of her.
(Copies to Lt Hill, Capt Lyles, Capt Clendenning, Memphis)-All of Col McCray’s Bn, Memphis

4/28 S.O. #68 Memphis, HQ Army of the West
II. All boats in Government employ will be burned or otherwise destroyed, if necessary, to prevent their falling into the hands of the enemy.

(Copy to Capt Gunnels, cdg 3rd La, Capt Stewart, [and] Capt of each steamboat in port)

“If I should live” Mark Miller
“Walden Journal”
April 8, 1862-boarded the steamer Golden Age-The boat is large and carries two regiments, Hill’s and Pritchard’s and also a part of Gates’.
Letters from Thomas J. Elrod [25th aka 30th Ark- Memphis -Ther was three Co’s come on it and it was pernounced a sorry boat. When we started in did not git out of site tell it run in to the bushes and snag the Caben [cabin] pretty bad. And nine of the men jumpt off but nun lost, but lots scerd and [I] was one.
Then we started up her the old boat run on a sand bar. We though she was snag and we node if it sunk we wood all dround. For we had not seen any land for one hundred miles.
White River and the Mississippi is all over flode.

“The Arkansas Family Historian, Volume 46, Number 2 – June 2008”
Both George Dickson and Thomas J. Elrod wrote about being on the steamer Okaw Belle when it sank on the White River on 10 March 1862.19 Four men in Company B of the 25th Arkansas drowned in that incident. George and Thomas were lucky to be survivors. Both also wrote about how much sickness there was in the camp. In a letter to his wife dated 8 March 1862, Thomas Elrod wrote:
O hon, I would like to see you all very bad but don’t know when I will ever see you. Harriet Ann I want you to do the very best you can. I will know what I will do in a minute or two. Well the boat came and we could not get on it. I wish we could for our fare is pretty rough. We haven’t got anything hardly to cook out of nor not mush to cook.
On 24 April 1862, Thomas Elrod wrote telling his wife he was not well and that the boat he had been on ran up on a sand bar and was stuck all night. Eventually they got off but he wrote:
The weather was very cold. I never slept hardly any and was scared so bad that I could not eat. It made one third of the men that was on here sick and one man died since we got off.
He went on to say that he was feeling bad and his fever was pretty high. He wrote more about the war in general and then he said: Hon, I feel very bad now. If it is just the chill I won’t have to go to the hospital but if it is measles I expect I will have to go there. It is so far home. There would not be any chance to come home I guess.
Then he told her he felt so bad that he could no longer write

4/16 The 3rd La Regt reached Little Rock on the 16th & we were warmly welcomed. With 5 days' rations cooked, the Regt left Little Rock for Beauregard’s army at Corinth, on board the steamers Louisville & Kentucky

“Van Dorn, Earl (1820-1863), Papers, 1862”
Western Historical Manuscript Collection-Columbia
4/24 To: [QM?] office Little Rock
The cdg officer directs that you embark without delay on steamer Kentucky & proceed to the landing opposite this point & receive such troops as will be assigned to complete her load
Wm Hardeman aqm 2nd bgde [Hebert’s]

The State Historical Society of Missouri--Military--COLLECTION ...
“Muster rolls, a muster and pay roll, and an order book of Dawson's 3rd Missouri Battery (also called St. Louis Battery and McDonald's Battery), C.S.A.”

Head Quarters 2nd Bgde 1st Div C.S. Army of the West Camp Little Rock Ark April 20th 1862
General Orders No 21
I Each Boat as assigned for the transportation of the Troops of The 2nd Bgde will be inspected by the Inspector Genl LL [Lunsford L.] Lomax and its capacity condition &c will be reported forthwith to the Col. Comg.
II The Cdg officers of the different troops of Bgde will cause (5) five days Rations to be kept on hand & hold themselves in readiness to embark at a moment’s notice.
III the trains of the different commands will be inspected as soon as practicable by the Inspector Genl who will make a report of the condition of the same.
IV Each Boat will be inspected after the Troops are embarked & all men, Horses, Wagons, Baggage &c not assigned will be put off before the boat proceeds
V A written report will be made of the condition of the guards & Police arrangements of each boat VI On embarking the Cdg officers will detail & mount daily a Guard to be stationed at the Gangways, over the animals, Commissary stores &c.
VII The Ranking officer on each Boat will be the Cdg Officer, & must be obeyed & respected as such.
VIII The following will be the number of Private Horses allowed to each Infantry command. Col 2 Horses. Lt. Col 2 Horses Major 1 Horse QrMr. 2 Horses Adjt 1 Horse Surgeon 1 Horse Asst Surg 1 Horse Commissary 1 Horse / 11 Horses
By order Col Louis Herbert Comg Sm Hyams Jr. Capt & Adj Genl 2nd Bgde

HQs 2nd Bri. 1st Div CSA of West Little Rock Ark Apl 24 1862 Special order No 39
The Qr Mr of this Bgde will order the steamers Kentucky [MS illegible] & Lelia to the Landings on the opposite side of the Arkansas River at Little Rock to receive on Board the St. Louis Battery & the 3rd Regt. La Vol & their transportation in such proportions as may by him be ordered.
The Cdg Officers of the Battery & the Regt will take charge of the Boats & report to Capt LL Lomax Inspector Genl of Bgde when their commands are shipped & will thereafter report in person to these HQs for final instructions
By order Louis Hebert Col Comg Bgde

“The Landis Battery”-John C. Landis
St. Louis Republic, 28 April 1895
Des Arc was finally reached on the 13th of April, and on the 14th the battery was shipped on the good steamer Clark Doizer, bound for Memphis, were all arrived safely on the 15th, camping at Old Fort Pickering. Here, after a short stay for rest and recuperation, the battery was ordered to Corinth, Miss., about May 1.

“Camp and Prison Journal” Griffin Frost
Reached Des Arc about April 13th, and after two or three days left for Memphis on the steamer Sovereign

“The Third Texas Cavalry in the Civil War” Hale
On April 11th, the entire regiment, with accoutrements, descended Devall’s Bluff and crowded aboard the little side wheeler Scotland.

“Cannon smoke: the letters of Captain John J. Good, Good-Douglas Texas Battery, CSA.”
4/12 Des Arc-Capt Good [Good’s Texas battery] writing from on board the Clara Dolson- All the troops have arrived & are being boarded rapidly. We have on board 3 Arty Co’s with guns, horses, etc, and 600 Inf. Gen Green is with us.

“The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies.” ; Series 3 - Volume 5, p 478
Tabular list of gun-boats, transports, steamers, wrecks, & c., captured from the enemy by the gun-boat flotilla, Western waters.
[Including the Clara Dolson]

“Memoirs: historical and personal: including the campaigns of the First Missouri Confederate Brigade”
By Ephraim McDowell Anderson
4/10 we [Little’s 1st Mo bgde] reached Des Arc. Two boats were lying at the landing, the Sharp & Meyors, & others were on the way to transport troops, one coming in from Memphis the evening we got there. It brought news of the first day's fighting at Shiloh: there was rejoicing throughout the command, & 13 guns were fired by the batteries.
On the evening of the tenth, having prepared rations sufficient to last us on the way, our Regt took passage on the Meyors. Gen Price & Jeff Thompson were on board, & the fine brass band from the Gen's HQ’s.

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