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 Washington County.

Bibliography:
Borderland Rebellion by Elmo Ingenthron



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