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Note: This is a group of correspondence from the Official Records. They are arranged chronologically between the battle at Little Rock and the Red River Campaign, but do not relate to a specific battle.

True's Brigade, Arkansas Expedition
August 1863 to November, 1863.

Third Brigade, Third Division, Sixteenth Army Corps en route from Helena, and not accounted for on the original returns till Sept. 10.

Col. James M. True (62d Ill. Infantry)

49th Illinois, Col. Phinease Pease
62d Illinois, Lieut. Col. Stephen M. Meeker
50th Indiana, Lieut. Col. Samuel T. Wells
27th Iowa, Col. James I. Gilbert
Vaughn's (Illinois) Battery, Capt. Thomas F. Vaughn

Memphis, Tenn., October 16, 1863

Asst. Adjt. Gen., Department of the Tennessee:

GENERAL: Major-General Steele reports the enemy retired to Washington, in Hempstead County, probably before this time in Texas.

General Sherman requires a brigade at Bear Creek, and I scarcely know how to fill it. I do not feel at liberty to call upon Steele for any part of his force, but would exceedingly like that Kimball's division, or at least True's brigade, should be sent back to this line. If I am to hold Bear Creek and to attempt to hold the Columbus and Corinth railroad, I shall require at least a full division unless the Memphis and Charleston Railroad is abandoned, which is not advisable at present.

My cavalry is coming in, and will be all on the line of railroad to-night. They followed and fought the enemy beyond Wyatt and only returned when out of ammunition. Dodge has gone out to Corinth to-day, and Carr will be in to-morrow.

I have no distinct reports from Hatch as to casualties, &c., but will send by next mail.

Sherman informs me that Lee with 4,000 cavalry crossed the Tennessee at Tuscumbia day before yesterday north I think their whole disposable cavalry will be thrown into Middle Tennessee. I wish the general would order True's brigade here from Little Rock, if not the division.

Your obedient servant,


The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I--Volume XXX, Part 4, Page 406.

Memphis, Tenn., October 16, 1863.

Maj. Gen. F. STEELE,
Commanding Arkansas Expedition, Little Rock, Ark.:

GENERAL: Sherman is moving out on the line of the Memphis and Charleston Railroad toward Athens to join and re-enforce Rosecrans.

Grant has been ordered to Cairo to consult the Department, and as he has his entire headquarters with him, will, I think, be ordered to Nashville to command the entire movement on the Tennessee River. Sherman requests me to throw a strong force across Big Bear Creek, which reduces my strength at Memphis to the minimum, and in fact leaves me no movable force but cavalry. Under these circumstances, and as it is apparent that the enemy have abandoned you, it is very necessary that True's brigade return here as soon as practicable.

They must march to Helena, I presume, as the river is too low for boats; their heavy baggage under small guard may come by boats. I make this request of you because I consider myself reduced far too low in numbers to hold my line thus extended, and hope you will be able to comply with it rapidly.

General Grant suggested when here the propriety of a cavalry dash by you upon Arkadelphia, and desired me to communicate his wish.

Your obedient servant,


The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I--Volume XXX, Part 4, Page 407.

Memphis, Tenn., October 17, 1863

Brig. Gen. JOHN A. RAWLINS, Cairo, Ill.:

General Sherman has called for force enough for me to cover the railroad to Buzzard Roost.

I have therefore ordered Fuller's brigade from Memphis to Big Bear Creek, which leaves me very light-handed here. I have written to Steele, asking True's brigade to be sent back, but do not know that it will be done. I request an order for that purpose. I desire that you obtain from Major-General Grant or General Halleck some definite instructions as to my limits of authority. The troops which I have furnished Steele are borne on my books as detached and do not report to me, but I suppose to Schofield. I do not like to lose them, but do not like either to issue any orders about them. Colonel Manter, who is chief of staff for Steele, is a little disposed to consider any call made by me for information as to these troops an interference.

The Okolona force, I am inclined to think, is moving into Northeast Alabama. Hatch has returned, having killed about 75 and wounded many of the enemy. His report is not in. I will send it as soon as it comes. We will probably have quiet for a few days; in mean time supplies are being pushed forward.

Very respectfully,


The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I--Volume XXX, Part 4, Page 431.

Little Rock, Ark., October 24, 1863

Commanding Sixteenth Army Corps, Memphis, Tenn.:

GENERAL: It is not practicable to send True's brigade to you at once, as one regiment, the Fiftieth Indiana, is stationed at Lewisburg, about 50 miles up the Arkansas. This is at present an important station, being on one of the principal routes that lead through the mountain passes, and at one of the best fords on the river. There are many loyal people in that part of the State, and they are now raising a regiment, which they could not do without protection. General Schofield has sent me a copy of a letter from the General-in-Chief, showing that he regards this command as belonging to the Department of the Missouri, and indicating a disposition of troops which could not be made with a less force than that which I have now. You responded so promptly to my requisitions that it will afford me great pleasure to comply with any request that you may make, but under existing instructions it is my opinion that I would not be justifiable in sending troops to you without authority from General Schofield or the Commander-in-Chief. This is a state of affairs which I never desired, but to which I must submit. I hope you will submit this matter to General Halleck or to Grant, and write me as soon as you get an answer.

Schofield writes to me in regard to occupying and fortifying a line of posts, and both he and Halleck speak of my driving the enemy beyond Red River, &c. My cavalry has been kept busy breaking up rebel recruiting stations and pursuing marauding bands of Marmaduke's men and guerrillas.

Some of our expeditions have been very successful. One under Colonel [John F.] Ritter drove Marmaduke to within a few miles of Arkadelphia; one under Colonel Clayton surprised [A. S.] Dobbin at Tulip, and captured all his camp and garrison equipage and transportation, and took a number of prisoners and horses. This affair created great consternation at Arkadelphia. Price had fallen back to Little Missouri, but Holmes was there, and ordered guns to be spiked, and kept Marmaduke's cavalry in line of battle for twenty-four hours. I intended making a demonstration on Arkadelphia with all the cavalry that could be spared for the purpose, and sending a regiment of infantry to occupy Benton in the mean time. This expedition has been deferred until the horses could be shod, as the country to be passed over is very rocky.

General Schofield wishes me to send cavalry to intercept Shelby on his retreat south. The best way to do that, perhaps, will be to drive Marmaduke away from Arkadelphia and then turn to meet Shelby, as he will undoubtedly endeavor to join the former. It is impossible to divine where he will cross the Arkansas, and if an attempt should be made to intercept him on the river, he would most probably escape.

True's brigade has constructed excellent huts for winter quarters, and so have most of my troops.

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 674.

Little Rock, Ark., October 28, 1863.

Commanding Sixteenth Army Corps, Memphis, Tenn:

GENERAL: Your letter dated 21st instant (+) is just received. I have not found any one yet who can decipher the dispatch from Schofield, but you intimate the purport of it. To have True's brigade taken from me before the Arkansas troops can be organized will not only cripple my operations, but in all probability place me on the defensive, and compel me to concentrate my forces. It has frequently been reported to me that the rebels contemplated an attack upon this place. On the 24th instant (Sunday), Marmaduke attacked the post of Pine Bluff with about 2,000 men, and bombarded the town about four hours. He was, however, repulsed with considerable loss, having burned part of the city and destroyed considerable public and private property. The place was defended by the Fifth Kansas and First Indiana Cavalry, not over 700 men in all, under Colonel Clayton, Fifth Kansas. All my available cavalry are now in pursuit of Marmaduke, who, it is supposed, is falling back toward Arkadelphia. Two brigades of infantry and two batteries are marching on that place direct from here, and are at Rockport tonight.

The reports in regard to Price are conflicting, but his headquarters are probably at Magnolia. My troops have orders to break up the post of Arkadelphia, if anything remains there. I have been told by Union men that Cabell's command and part of [J. G.] Walker's division, from Shreveport, were with Marmaduke, and that a detachment was sent across the Arkansas for the purpose of destroying our depot at Devall's Bluff. Precautions have been taken to prevent anything of the kind, suspicion having been aroused by preparations at Des Arc, Batesville, and on the opposite side of White River from Devall's Bluff. If I could be let alone here for a few weeks, I think Arkansas could be reclaimed; but if the troops begin to leave, people will imagine that the country is to be abandoned again, and they will have no confidence in our promises of protection. I will write you again by the first mail. One of my staff officers will go to Memphis on business connected with the Arkansas troops. He can give you any information in regard to the position of things which you may desire. I hope that the requisitions for arms and ammunition for the Arkansas troops can be filled at Memphis.

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 681.

Little Rock, Ark., November 9, 1863.

Commanding Department of the Missouri:

GENERAL: Sherman writes me, at the suggestion of General Grant, to send him Kimball's division, of the Sixteenth Army Corps. This would take all my infantry, except Salomon's division. Kimball reports a total of 4,478 for duty. Salomon's total for duty is 3,364. My best artillery belongs to Kimball's division. I have declined acceding to Sherman's request, for reasons the same as those given for not sending True's brigade, on Hurlbut's application.

Holmes contemplated an attack on this place, but was restrained by Kirby Smith. If Marmaduke had succeeded in taking Pine Bluff, they would no doubt have attacked us here before this time. Price moved to Camden, to be in supporting distance of Marmaduke Their combined force is reported to be now at Ten Springs, near Camden, on the road to Washington. The latter place is evacuated, as well as Arkadelphia. I have sent a section of 3-inch guns and a regiment of infantry to re-enforce Pine Bluff, and directed Colonel Clayton to strengthen his defenses. This is an important post, and, in my opinion, the only one necessary between here and Napoleon. With infantry to hold the place, and cavalry to scout 25 miles out, the rich valley of the Arkansas can be kept free from rebels. They cannot go in toward Napoleon without getting into a pocket. Large amounts of corn, cotton, &c., are reported to be there now. I have sent an infantry regiment to the outpost at Benton, and an engineer officer to construct some defenses there. I thought these precautions necessary to guard against raids from the rebel army at Camden.

Shelby crossed the Arkansas at Roseville on the 28th ultimo, and, when last heard from, was at Waldron. I have ordered out about 600 cavalry, under Lieutenant-Colonel Caldwell, Third Iowa, for the double purpose of heading him off and bringing out some 500 Union men, who wish to enlist in our service.

I sent two full companies of Arkansas troops to Dardanelle several days ago. It is a recruiting station, and most of the inhabitants are loyal. The Fiftieth Indiana Infantry are building winter quarters at Lewisburg. This is also an important recruiting station. General Hurlbut authorized me to muster in cavalry as well as infantry. When your order requiring infantry only was received, several companies that were ready to be mustered in as cavalry disbanded, and many of them have enlisted in the old cavalry regiments. As these mounted men can be made very useful, I have received some of them as cavalry, conditionally, provided the War Department will receive them as cavalry otherwise they are to be infantry.

I designated the Third Missouri Cavalry to take station at Jackson port, and have been waiting for them to be paid. Baxter and Padgett, two fugitives from Independence County, are going with them, and each expects to raise a regiment for the United States service.

Fishback appears to be getting along very well with his regiment. I have heard of Brigadier-General McRae and [Colonel] Shaver at Jacksonport and on Crowley's Ridge. Their force has been estimated as high as 800. I do not believe they have half that number. One of our spies (Holland) reports six companies between Clarendon and Helena, mostly' guerrillas. I have ordered out our cavalry at Devall's Bluff in pursuit of them, with orders to inform the inhabitants that their country will be devastated if they allow these guerrillas to operate in it. Captain [J. B.] Wheeler, engineer, has laid out and commenced a square redoubt, which will command the city and the principal approaches. This, with batteries on the opposite side of the river, would render it untenable by an enemy. To defend the city by a chain of fortifications would require extensive works and a large force. As soon as the water rises, the line of the Arkansas can be defended by a smaller force than that which I am now employing. Saline River will be a barrier to the rebels on the south, and the "tin-clads" can keep the Lower Arkansas clear.

Am I in two departments?

Very respectfully, 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 700.

Little Rock, Ark., November 14, 1863.

Commanding Sixteenth Army Corps:

GENERAL: Your letter was received last night. I have ordered two regiments of True's brigade to proceed to Memphis at once by rail and steam. I have been ordered from headquarters Department of the Missouri to hold the line of the Arkansas, to send a regiment of cavalry to Jacksonport, and to send you such troops as I could spare. I am not willing to spare any more and stay here myself under present circumstances. General Davidson informs me that he met re-enforcements from Vicksburg going to Memphis, after your letter was written; and that he presumes they will supersede the necessity of re-enforcements from here. I could not send the whole of True's brigade, because it was scattered. One regiment is retained as guard to the railroad depot, on the north side of the river, and one is at Lewisburg. I have five infantry posts besides this, with a regiment or more at each. General, I regret that I cannot do as well by you as you have by me; but "time sets all things even."

Very truly, yours,


The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I--Volume XXII, Part 2, Page 708.


Memphis, Tenn., January 6, 1864.

I. Capt. Otis Whitney. Company H, Twenty-seventh Regiment Iowa Volunteers; Capt. James W. Cheney. Company D, Forty-ninth Regiment Illinois Volunteers; Second Lieut. Herman C. Hemenway, Company C, Twenty-seventh Iowa Volunteers, are appointed a board to investigate the matter pertaining to the taking of certain goods from the house of Mrs. Julia Baker by men of this brigade. They will ascertain as near as possible the kind, quantity, and quality of the goods taken, with their value, by whom taken, and how disposed of, identifying, if possible, the men. If not able to identify the men, ascertain the company or companies. If the companies cannot be ascertained, ascertain the regiment, reporting the facts as early as practicable to these headquarters.

By order of Col. James I. Gilbert, Twenty-seventh Regiment Iowa Volunteer Infantry, commanding brigade.

Capt. Co. K, 27th Iowa, and Actg. Asst. Adjt. Gen.

The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I--Volume XXXII, Part 2, Page 39.