War of the Rebellion: Serial 032 Page 0520 MO., ARK., KANS., IND. T., AND DEPT. N. W. Chapter XXXIV.

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Numbers 22. Report of Major General Sterling Price, C. S. Army, commanding District of Arkansas, including operations July 24-September 25.


Camp Bragg, November 20, 1863.

COLONEL: I have the honor to submit the following report of the military operations which terminated on September 10 in the evacuation of Little Rock by the forces then under my command:

Having been notified on July 23 that Lieutenant-General Holmes desired to relinquish his command to me during the continuance of his severe illness, I left Des Are, the then headquarters of my division, the same day, and having reached Little Rock the next, assumed command of the District of Arkansas. Being satisfied that the enemy was about to advance in heavy force upon Little Rock, I sent orders the same day to Brigadier-General Frost, commanding the defenses of the Lower Arkansas, near Pine Bluff, to move at once with his infantry and artillery to Little Rock. Orders were also sent on that day to Brigadier-General Fagan, upon whom the command of my division (Fagan's, Parsons', and McRae's brigades of infantry) had devolved, directing him to withdraw his forces from Searcy and Des Are, and to take position upon Bayou Meto, about 12 miles northeast of Little Rock.

On the next day I ordered Brigadier-General Marmaduke, commanding a division of cavalry, to establish his headquarters near Jacksonport, and to dispose his troops so as to observe and retard the movements of the column of Federal cavalry which was then advancing into Northeastern Arkansas from Missouri. Brigadier-General Walker, commanding a brigade of cavalry, was on the same day ordered to remain with his command in the vicinity of Helena, for the purpose of watching the enemy in that direction, and checking his advance from that point. These were the only troops at my disposal for the defense of Little Rock, except a very weak regiment, a small battalion, and a few unattached companies of cavalry, which I kept on the south side of the Arkansas, picketing the country from Little Rock to Napoleon, and thence to the boundary of Louisiana. Brigadier-General Steele, commanding in the Indian Territory, was already hard pressed by the enemy, and on the defensive, and could not spare a man.

I wrote to the lieutenant-general commanding the department on July 27, communicating these facts to him, and stating that while I should attempt to defend Little Rock, as the capital of the State and the key to the important valley of the Arkansas, I did not believe it would be possible for me to hold it with the force then under my command. About this time I commenced the construction of a line of rifle-pits and other defensive works on the north side of the Arkansas, and about 2 1/2 miles in front of Little Rock, and pushed them forward to completion as rapidly as I could.

The continued advance of Davidson's column of Federal cavalry making it hazardous to retain Walker's brigade any longer on the eastern side of White River, I ordered him, on August 2, to move it to the western side of that stream. As soon as this was done, the enemy unveiled his intention to cross White River at Clarendon, and I consequently moved Walker's brigade and Marmaduke's division of cavalry, both under command of Brigadier General L. M. Walker, to that vicinity, Tappan's brigade, which had been detached from my division several months before, and which had been ordered back to Arkansas by Lieu-