Bryan Howerton Date: Saturday, 14 April 2007, at 4:12 p.m.
In Response To: 4th Arkansas Cavalry (Gordon's) (Brian Robertson)
Gordon's (previously Carroll's and Thomson's) Arkansas Cavalry had its roots in a cavalry company organized by Charles A. Carroll for the Arkansas State Troops in 1861, prior to Wilson's Creek. It reorganized for Confederate service and became the escort company for the commanding general, later expanding to a battalion, and finally to a regiment.
Almost all but the members of Carroll's original company were conscripts from counties in western Arkansas with strong pro-Union sentiments. Many of them were reluctant Confederates, but not reluctant soldiers -- most of the deserters joined Arkansas Union regiments at their first opportunity.
Company I had "issues" as they say. The company was recruited in Scott County (where Union sentiment was strong) and originally served as Co. B, Gipson's Battalion Arkansas Mounted Rifles. When Gipson's battalion was disbanded, the company was transferred to the 4th Arkansas Cavalry as Company I. The men were resentful of the break-up of Gipson's command, their arbitrary transfer, the sterner discipline of a regular Confederate cavalry regiment (Gipson's battalion had been a fairly "loose" organization), and their deployment to areas far from home.
Despite the large number of desertions, there were enough men left to form the steady core of an outfit that was, under the circumstances, a pretty good and active regiment, with some good (and a few bad) officers. The regiment was replenished from time-to-time with details of men from infantry regiments, some of whom deserted, but many of whom appreciated the opportunity to ride instead of march.
From The Alexander Papers
6/3/62 G O #6 TM Dist-The forces in this Dist are organized as follows
Col Chas Carroll is assigned to the command of the forces in Benton, Washington, Carroll, Madison, Crawford Sebastian Franklin Johnson & Pope Counties in the state of Ark not otherwise assigned by orders from these Hqs
Col Stan Watie now in Northwest Ark or Southwest Mo will move with his command into the Ind. Terr. & along the lines of Ark & Mo & Southern Kansas preventing the incursions of marauding bands into the Ind. Country & reporting to Gen Pike
6/14 Carroll to Col Gibbs from Fort Smith, forwarded on 16th-Have plenty of transportation. Let them have one wagon to the Co & commissary Stores to last them to this place. I expressed Johnson before leaving Little Rock. Have heard nothing from him Push forward the Co’s & don’t let them come to Little Rock for fear Gen will change their directions. McConnell’s, Gordon’s, & Carroll’s Co’s is full. I rejected several because too late. I want to know exactly how many have reported full so if any more are required I may get them. When I left fourteen had reported as certain to be raised. We must have the ten at once. Report fully. Cannot answer with reference to the [Adjt’s?] until tomorrow – having promised it-if you could give instructions to Co’s enough to fill the Regt there would be no particular necessity for your staying. Arrange it any way to get the men here – & send your convenience.
6/16 Hindman chastising Col Carroll Fort Smith for concealing Co’s not raised in his Dist-Hindman had ordered all such to Little Rock & not to be hid & kept by Carroll
6/18 Hindman to Col Carroll cdg at Ft Smith-You are authorized, if you desire it expedient, to empower Capt Wm. Gibson, of Brownsville, Scott Co., to raise in Scott & Sebastian Counties, a Regt or part of a Regt, of mounted Infy for the CS service for the war. Capt Gibson is highly recommended as a capable & reliable officer. The Regt, if raised by Capt Gibson will report to you for duty, until otherwise ordered. Co’s will be allowed to elect their officers if organized by the 1st of July next.
Capt Gibson will be directed to arrest, Ezra Jones, W. Tate, Rufus Choate of Scott Co. & Benj. Morrow, Carroll Morrow, James Gordon & John Coffer of Sebastian county & to inquire into their loyalty, & unless he is fully satisfied that they are favorable to our cause to send them to this place, with a statement of all the facts in the case.
Enclosed find a copy of the order, attaching Scott County to your district, you will therefore exercise the same authority over this, as other counties of your district.
6/20 Hindman to Col Carroll-the Co’s raised in S Ark are indispensable in the region-Capt Gordon comes to you soon
6/30 Hindman to Col Carroll you are ordered to Fayetteville
Little Rock, July 19th, 1862
Colonel C. A. Carroll
Four companies which were detached from your regiment under Major Johnson started to you this morning. I send to you a Four gun battery under Captain Reed with a reasonable supply of ammunition.
To my surprise and mortification, General Beauregard sent me only 300 damaged shotguns. They have just come. I expected 3 to 4 thousand good guns. I am therefore unable to give you a single gun. The Federals are literally destroying eastern Arkansas. My force here is in such condition that I cannot say. Do the best you can. Avoid all bickering with other Officers. This is a caution, not a censure.
T. C. Hindman
7/21 West’s Ark Btry & Howell’s Texas Co with 6 guns to Ft Smith to Col Carroll cdg- From Ind. Terr. came. Corley’s Ark Cav Co
7/31Hqs Fort Smith-Col Carroll to Hindman-Regret not getting guns for the Infy but will try & get some arms of some character at least for the organized Regt
So indifferent were the horses of Capt Lewis Woolsey first & Woolsey second that I dismounted them & made two Co’s of the three
8/12 Fort Smith Col Carroll to Hindman
The mounted force is north of the mountain except Gibson’s Bn which is on the march to Madison County in obedience to your order to throw a Cav force in that direction to protect salt peter works in Newton co
The Bn is 400 strong with 80 guns
The Co’s formerly intended for my own Regt four in number with Johnson’s [Clarkson? co] 40 men are about 400 all armed there are in Washington county in all 800