Note: This is correspondence prior to the Battle of Little Rock, but not specifically related to any battles.
3rd Brigade, 3rd Division, 16th Army Corps
March 18, 1863 to August, 1863.
Headquarters at La Grange, Tenn;
Remainder of the division serving in the Vicksburg campaign.
Col. James M. True (62 Ill. Inf.) (March 18, 1863 to July 19, 1863)
Col. James I. Gilbert (27th Iowa Inf.) (July 19, 1863 to August 1863)
49th Illinois, Maj. Thomas W. Morgan
62d Illinois, Maj. Stepehn M. Mecker
50th Indiana, Lieut. Col. Samuel T. Wells
27th Iowa, Col. James I. Gilbert
3d Illinois Light Artillery, Battery A, Capt. Thomas F. Vaughn
14th Indiana Battery, Capt. Meredith H. Kidd.
SPECIAL ORDERS No. 11.
HEADQUARTERS THIRD DIVISION,
Camp on Hurricane Creek, December 11, 1862.
I. The Twelfth Indiana Regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel Kempton, and the Twenty-seventh Iowa Regiment, Colonel Gilbert, will, as soon as practicable, move their respective commands to the town of Waterford, and there remaining, will report to Colonel Du Bois at Holly Springs.
II. The Thirty-third Wisconsin Regiment and Rogers' battery will, under the command of Colonel Moore, of the Thirty-third Wisconsin Regiment, move to-morrow, the 12th instant, to the town of Oxford, Miss., starting at the hour of 9 a.m. Arriving there, will report to Brigadier-General Lauman, commanding Fourth Division.
By order of Brigadier-General Lauman:
The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I--Volume LII. Part 1, Page 311-312
SPECIAL ORDERS, No. 13.
LA GRANGE, TENN.,
June 6, 1863.
I. Col. James I. Gilbert, commanding Twenty-seventh Iowa Infantry Volunteers, will at once proceed with his command, with camp and garrison equipage and transportation, to Moscow, Tenn., and take post there for the purpose of guarding railroad. He will march across the country, and, on arriving there, will put out detachments to guard the bridges over Wolf Creek, one-half mile west, and over Grissom's Creek, 5 miles west of Moscow, keeping open communications with the detachments.
II. Col. James I. Gilbert, Twenty-seventh Iowa Infantry Volunteers, will turn over to Col. James M. True, commanding Third Brigade, the refugee fund in his possession, collected by him at Jackson, Tenn., taking duplicate receipts therefor, one copy of which he will retain, and the other forward to headquarters, left wing, Sixteenth Army Corps.
By order of James M. True, colonel,
E. R. WILEY, JR.,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I--Volume XXIV, Part 3, Page 387
LA GRANGE, TENN.,
June 10, 1863.
Lieut. Col. HENRY BINMORE, Memphis, Tenn.:
COLONEL: I inclose, for the notice of the general, late rebel papers from Jackson and Mobile, and letters of some importance, taken in rebel mail on the 8th instant near Ripley. Both letters are signed by Captain Boyce, rebel army, and refer to rations and numbers of the enemy at Canton and Jackson. Colonel Hatch was sent to the waters of the Tallahatchee, to clear the enemy out of that region and threaten the rear of Chalmers at Panola. He left here on the 6th instant with 800 men. Will be absent six days from time of starting. The report of his having fought the enemy at Holly Springs turns out to be an error. I think he will return without much loss. The expedition must do good in several points of view. I have, as you notice, temporarily organized the cavalry into a division, Col. J. K. Mizner in command. This will relieve me of much detail, and, I think, make the cavalry more effective. I send you a copy of General Orders, No. 12, on the subject. At last the old line from Grand Junction to Corinth is abandoned and everything removed to the new. There was an immense amount of stuff to get away. Considering that the First Division was moving at the same time, the work could have been done no sooner. The greatest confusion arose from the rules in the transportation department that under no circumstances shall trains move until orders from Memphis. In one instance this rule came near resulting seriously. My train was ready to start. I had been waiting to get off two hours. The wires were down, and the conductor, Rockwell, positively refused to move until I was compelled to go to him personally and seriously threaten him, to get him off, and then assumed all responsibility of accidents along the road. At first I sent supplies to Corinth; afterward everything came to La Grange or sent to Memphis. As a consequence, I have massed a large amount of stores here--about 300,000 rations; for this force entirely too large. The forage and ordnance I can dispose of. At La Grange, 300,000 rations; at Moscow, one regiment, 600 men, 40,000 rations; at Collierville, one regiment, 60,000 rations; at Germantown, parts of two regiments, about 60,000 rations.
At present my command is established as follows: At Corinth, two brigades of infantry, one of cavalry; at Pocahontas, one brigade, under Colonel Mersy; three regiments of infantry, one of which occupies the road to within 7 miles of Grand Junction, and regiment of mounted infantry, Lieutenant-Colonel Phillips, covering the road in front, General Dodge commanding the whole. At Grand Junction, Second West Tennessee Cavalry, 200; at La Grange, brigades of cavalry of Colonel Hatch and Lieutenant-Colonel Meek; at Collierville, Germantown, and La Fayette, brigade of Colonel McCrillis--all under Colonel Mizner. At La Grange, Sixty-second Illinois Infantry, 450; negro regiment, 800, unarmed. At Moscow, Colonel Gilbert, Twenty-seventh Iowa Infantry, 600. At Grissom's Bridge, two companies; at La Fayette, two companies, and at Collierville, six companies of the Fiftieth Indiana Infantry. At Germantown, Forty-ninth Illinois Infantry, Colonel Pease. One section of artillery at Germantown, one at Collierville, one at Moscow, and a small battery at La Grange; all under command of Col. James M. True, Sixty-second Illinois Infantry. Shall visit Memphis in a day or two, if agreeable to you.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. J. OGLESBY.
OFFICE OF SUBSISTENCE DEPOT,
Macon, Miss., May 27, 1863.
E. I. VASSER, Esq.:
You will proceed to Pontotoc and another adjoining county in Mississippi, and use all possible exertions in procuring a large quantity of bacon for the army at Jackson, and have it hauled at any point on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, and advise me by telegraph. Urge the planters to send it forward as fast as possible.
C. M. BOYCE,
Captain and Assistant Commissary of Subsistence.
The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I--Volume XXIV, Part 3, Page 398.
HDQRS. THIRD BRIG., THIRD DIV., 16TH ARMY CORPS,
La Grange, Tenn., August 18, 1863.
Lieut. Col. H. BINMORE,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Memphis, Tenn.:
SIR: I am ready to move immediately. The regiments of my brigade are stationed, Sixty-second Illinois at La Grange, Twenty-seventh Iowa at Moscow, Fiftieth Indiana at Collierville, and Forty-ninth Illinois at Germantown. Can I not retain Vaughn's battery in my brigade?
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAMES M. TRUE,
Colonel, Commanding Brigade,
The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I--Volume XXX, Part 3, Page 65.
HEADQUARTERS: La Grange,
August 18, 1863. (Received 3.30 p.m.)
Lieut. Col. HENRY BINMORE,
SIR: My brigade proper (consisting of the Sixty-second Illinois, Forty-ninth Illinois, Fiftieth Indiana, and Twenty-seventh Iowa, together with Vaughn's and Kidd's batteries) numbers--marching strength--2,300, with ample transportation. The two negro regiments and the One hundred and eighth Illinois have 1,100 effective force, with deficient transportation.
JAMES M. TRUE,
Colonel 62d Illinois, Comdg. 3d Brig., 3d Div., 16th A. C.
The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I--Volume XXX, Part 3. Page 65
CORINTH, August 19, 1863
Colonel True's brigade has been ordered, and started for Memphis this morning. Dispatches just received.
The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I--Volume XXX, Part 3, Page 73
Memphis, Tenn., August 19, 1863
Commanding Arkansas Expedition:
GENERAL: I have on the march to this place True's brigade of infantry and a light battery. They will bring 2,300 men for duty, healthy and active, and will be ordered to report by boat to Helena, thence by land to Clarendon to you. This is all I can spare just now, unless you are in great need, in which case I will send you the Memphis brigade. I am ready to supply you to the last extremity, but wish to throw no more troops over there than I can avoid, on account of supplies. I expect good things from the expedition, and as soon as the water rises in the Arkansas will be able to throw any required force into the country. Without knowing much of the country, it appears to me that the Bayou Meto can be turned. I have sent for 20-pounder Parrotts; I have none that are horsed. Keep me advised when you have opportunity, and, if you once break their array, let Davidson's cavalry pursue remorselessly; severe punishment is humanity in these cases. Seize the railroad and rolling-stock, if possible, and send me estimate of what it will take to repair and run it from Memphis.
Your obedient servant,
S. A. HURLBUT,
The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I--Volume XXII, Part 2, Page 462.
HDQRS. 3D BRIGADE, 3D DIVISION, 16TH ARMY CORPS
Helena, Ark., August 25, 1863
Maj. Gen. FRED. STEELE, Clarendon, Ark.:
SIR: I am ordered by Major General Hurlbut to report to you from this place, and to join you with my command at Clarendon as soon as possible. I am now awaiting the arrival of one of my regiments, when I shall take up my march at once. I shall probably be able to move tomorrow. My brigade consists of the Sixty-second Illinois, Forty-ninth Illinois, Fiftieth Indiana, and Twenty-seventh Iowa Regiments of infantry, and Battery A, Third Illinois Artillery, making an aggregate of about 2,000 effective force. I learn from Colonel Montgomery that the bridge across Big Creek is entirely destroyed by fire, and that may delay me some. I will be in Clarendon as soon as I can march there, which will be some four or five days' march, with the train that I have and the prospect of the weather and roads. Of this, however, you can best judge.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAS. M TRUE
Colonel, Commanding Brigade.
The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I--Volume XXII--In Two Parts. Part II --Correspondence. Page 470
HDQRS. THIRD BRIG., THIRD DIV, 16TH ARMY CORPS,
Helena, Ark., August 25, 1863.
Lieut. Col. H. BINMORE,
Asst. Adjt. Gen., 16th Army Corps, Memphis, Tenn.:
SIR: I landed here safely yesterday evening at 7 o'clock with my command, and am now waiting for the Forty-ninth Illinois to arrive, when I shall move out for Clarendon, Ark.
I learn from Colonel Montgomery and the quartermaster at this place that the bridge across Big Creek is burned, and that we will be compelled to build one before crossing the creek, which will delay us about one day.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAMES M. TRUE,
Colonel, Commanding Brigade
The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I--Volume XXX, Part 3, Page 160.
HEADQUARTERS SIXTEENTH ARMY CORPS.
August 28, 1863.
Col. J. M. True, Commanding Brigade [Helena, Ark.,]:
SIR: You will move your brigade as soon as possible to Clarendon, thence to Devall's Bluff. General Steele requires your aid. You will find the bridge over Big Creek gone. Take axes with you and rebuild. Move at once.
S. A. Hurlbut,
The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I--Volume XXII--In Two Parts. Part II -- Correspondence. Page 490
No. 3.--Reports of Maj. Gen. Frederick Steele, U.S. Army, commanding expedition.
DEVALL'S BLUFF, ARK.
September 1, 1863.
DEAR SCHOFIELD: General Hurlbut writes me that he understands my command is in your department. I have received no orders to that effect.
General Grant directed me to report to headquarters Sixteenth Army Corps. Yesterday I sent you a dispatch in reply to the one about Marmaduke. I don't believe there are 100 Confederate soldiers north of White River, in Arkansas. They have collected everything in front of Little Rock. There is good reason to believe that Kirby Smith is collecting all the troops in the Trans-Mississippi Department at Little Rock. He has been heard to say frequently that if he could not hold Little Rock he could not hold Texas.
Davidson with his cavalry drove Walker and Marmaduke from Brownsville across Bayou Meto. Marmaduke was superseded by Walker in command of the cavalry division, for allowing our gunboats to take the two steamers up Little Red River.
Marmaduke is reported wounded at Bayou Meto. My troops are on the march, and I expect to be at Brownsville with my entire force tomorrow. True's brigade crossed at Clarendon yesterday, and will be at Deadman's Lake today. There is more water on this route than I had anticipated, such as it is.
Price is intrenched 3 miles this side of Little Rock, and is supposed to have about 14,000 men; his position is covered in front by swamps heavily timbered. As soon as I have reconnoitered his position, I will write you.
My entire force for duty will fall considerably short of 12,000. Many of our men have been taken down with fevers, and chills and fever, lately.
Very truly, yours, in haste,
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Brownsville, September 2, 1863.
Maj. Gen. STEPHEN A. HURLBUT,
Commanding Sixteenth Army Corps, Memphis:
GENERAL: I arrived here yesterday. True's brigade encamped at Deadman's Lake last night, and will be up to-day. He sent most of his ammunition by water, and failed to meet it at Clarendon, as he had expected. He has been very expeditious in his movements, but made a mistake in not bringing his ammunition and provisions enough to last his troops at least until he could reach us. We have a large train at Helena, and he was requested to bring it, but declined.
A scouting party sent out by Davidson was at Austin last night. They met a party of the enemy, and pursued them through the town and brought back some citizens. There was no force at that point. I have not been able to get any information from the citizens yet. It is 15 miles from here to Austin, and the same distance from there to Little Rock. The ground in front of the enemy's works and to the south is of such a character that we may have to turn them to the north by way of Austin, or else move rapidly to Pine Bluff and throw troops across the Arkansas at or near that point. The more I learn of this country the more fully I am convinced of the correctness of the opinion I expressed in a letter to General Grant, written at Helena. Our line of operations should have been from Napoleon. It is a good road, plenty of supplies along the route, and good water in abundance; the country is more favorable for our operations in every respect. There are no timbered swamps there that they can hide in, and, at the season when the roads are bad, the Arkansas is navigable. Three days' rain will make the roads between this and White River quite impassable for loaded wagons. If I should cross my forces at Pine Bluff, it is my intention to change my base to the Mississippi at once, and move the depot at Devall's Bluff to Napoleon. I think this will be a very good strategic movement if it can be effected. The enemy's fortifications will be rendered useless to them. All my information goes to show that they have not broken ground on the other side of the Arkansas. With the transportation which we have and that belonging to the command now at Helena, we could easily have supplies from Napoleon. It is about 140 miles.
Please communicate your views on this subject. I have received no orders placing my command under Schofield. General Grant directed me to report to you.
Very respectfully, general, your obedient servant,
The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I--Volume XXII, Part 2, Page 506.
No. 20.--Itinerary of brigade commanded by Col. James M. True, September 1-10.(*)
September 1.--Left Clarendon, Ark.
September 2--Reached Brownsville, Ark. (38 miles), joining the forces under Major-General Steele.
September 8.--Marched toward Little Rock.
September 9.--Remained in camp at Ashley's Mills.
September 10.--Took the advance of the force on the north bank of the river, moving on Little Rock. During the afternoon, Battery A, Third Illinois Light Artillery [Vaughn's], afforded material aid to our force on the opposite bank, who were constantly opposed by the enemy. Several hundred rounds were fired, mostly at long range, but with marked good effect. The brigade was in range and exposed to the fire of the enemy's artillery for some time, but sustained no loss therefrom. Two men of Battery A were dangerously wounded by a premature explosion of a howitzer shell from a battery in action near by. The brigade arrived opposite Little Rock at sunset.
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