Civil War Actions in Northwestern Arkansas
The Civil War in Northwestern Arkansas was far more than "just" the
battles at Prairie Grove and Pea Ridge. Movements of troops through the
area around these battles and occupations of places by troops provided
much opportunity for damage and destruction by both armies. Possibly
the most damage to individuals was by the numerous guerilla bands of
both sides, and many with no allegiance. It was not uncommon for these
bands to wear uniforms of whichever side fitted their immediate mission.
It has been said that the Union controlled towns like Fayetteville, but
guerillas controlled the countryside. After Col.Harrison's units occupied
Fayetteville in late 1863, much of his efforts were directed at controlling
guerilla units operating in the area, usually with limited success.
Ingenthron cataloged Civil War events in the area in addition to the
battles at Pea Ridge and Prairie Grove. He reported some military activity
at Rhea's Mill, Cove Creek, Reed's Mountain, Maysville, Dutch Mills and
Richland Creek with some as late as February 1865.
Union commanders told their troops on entering Arkansas that they were
in enemy country and to take whatever they needed. Confederate troops
obviously wanted to leave nothing for Union forces as they moved
through based on what was done in Fayetteville. Confederate troops
were always ill equipped and short on food. In Washington County there
were plenty of sympathizers for both sides so whichever army was around
took advantage of those who supported their enemies. Even when Union
General Blunt had given vouchers to people in the western part of the
County who were friendly, other Union troops still took from them. One
Confederate man said that when any army occupied an area, no good could
be expected for the people who lived there. This was certainly true in
Borderland Rebellion by Elmo Ingenthron
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