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1st Arkansas Infantry (30 Day Volunteers) (Confederate)
Flag of Arkansas.svg
Arkansas state flag
Active November 23, 1861
Country Confederate States of America
Allegiance Dixie CSA
Branch Infantry
Size Regiment
Engagements American Civil War
Arkansas Confederate Infantry Regiments
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1st Arkansas Infantry Regiment 1st Arkansas Consolidated Infantry

The 1st Arkansas Infantry (30 Day Volunteers) (1861) was a Confederate Army infantry regiment during the American Civil War. The unit was composed mainly of militia units called to service by Colonel Solon F. Borland in response to an anticipated invasion of Northeast Arkansas in the fall of 1861.

Organization[edit | edit source]

The 1st Arkansas Regiment, 30-Day Volunteers (infantry), was formally organized on November 23, 1861, which is the date of the appointments of the field and staff officers—under command of Colonel James Haywood McCaleb. Col. McCaleb was the commander of the 25th Militia Regiment, from Lawrence County, Arkansas.[1] It appears that several of the companies that composed the new "30 Day Volunteer" regiment originated as part of the 25th Militia Regiment:[2]

  • Company A – Capt. A. G. Kelsey — Randolph and Lawrence counties.
  • Company B – Capt. John W. Peter — Sharp, Independence and Izard counties.
  • Company C – Capt. M. Shelby Kennard — Independence county.
  • Company D – Capt. Thomas S. Simington — Randolph county.
  • Company E – Capt. Joshua Wann — Lawrence (present day Sharp) county.
  • Company F – Capt. Israel Milligan — Lawrence (present day Sharp) and Izard counties.
  • Company G – Capt. Daniel Yeager — Lawrence (present day Sharp) county.[3]
  • Company H – Capt. James Campbell Anderson — Greene (and present day Clay) counties.
  • Company I – Capt. Beverly B. Owens — Independence county.
  • Company K – Capt. L. W. Robertson — Lawrence (and present day Sharp) counties.[4]

Background[edit | edit source]

Solon F. Borland served in the Arkansas Regiment of Mounted Volunteers during the Mexican War; he served as the Adjutant General and a United States Senator before the Civil War

In May 1861, Pocahontas and the nearby strategically important Pitman's Ferry, in Randolph County, became an important Confederate military depot. Following the transfer of the State Troop regiments to Brig. Gen Hardee, virtually all the regiments stationed in northeast Arkansas were transferred in late September east of the Mississippi River to Bowling Green, Kentucky. Col. Solon Borland was left in command of a small force at Pitman’s Ferry. Col. Borland's force was the only defense left in Northeast Arkansas.[4] The forces included: Borland's own cavalry regiment of seven companies, Col. McCown’s five companies of infantry, Maj. Desha's four companies of raw troops, Capt. Robert's artillery unit of 60 men but no guns and about 150 recruits brought by Maj. McCray – altogether about 1,286 men. But of these, owing to sickness and casualties Col Borland said he could count on no more than 600 for fighting service, and all were "raw, inexperienced, poorly disciplined and indifferently armed."[5]

A second round of recruiting for new regiments was just getting underway when Col. Borland began receiving reports of enemy movements in Missouri. The initial reports seemed to indicate a possible movement on Pitman’s Ferry. The Union army was massing troops in southeast Missouri mainly for the purpose of a thrust down the Mississippi River. But this posed a very real threat to all areas of northeast Arkansas.[4] Col Borland indicated that he had reliable information that "that there are 300 infantry and 150 cavalry at Rives’ Station, on Black River, 35 miles (56 km) north of Pitman’s Ferry Also that there is a strong infantry force-7,000-at Greenville, 15 miles (24 km) north of Rives' Station."[6] Borland was maintaining a regular correspondence with Brig Gen. M. Jeff Thompson, of the Missouri State Guard, who commanded the First Military District of Missouri at Bloomfield, Missouri.[6]

Reports of these Union troop movements were sent to area militia units. The Jacksonport Herald of October 26, 1861 published a communication received by Christopher W. Board, Commander of the 34th Militia Regiment of Jackson County.[7]

23 Oct.1861

Col. Board . . . We have commenced taking steps to call out the militia but will not call them out unless there is certainty a necessity for it. It might be well for your officers to take such steps as will enable prompt action in case of necessity. I send it to you, believing that you can have the proper persons ready for action; and at the same time keep down all unnecessary excitement . . . J.C. Marvin.'[4]

Col. Borland moved his command from Pitman’s Ferry to Pocahontas and was sufficiently alarmed over the reports to issue a call for reinforcements from the militia. On November 5, 1861, Col. Borland issued an appeal for volunteers in the surrounding counties to hastily organize companies for the defense of Pitman’s Ferry until new regular Confederate regiments could be organized and dispatched.[2][4]

When news of Borland's situation reached Little Rock, the state Military Board responded to Borland's call for aid by calling out the 8th Militia Brigade under the command of Brig. Gen. Phillips:[8]

It being represented that the State was in danger of invasion, and that Colonel Borland's command was threatened with immediate attack, it was ordered that Brigadier-General Phillips be ordered to call out the Eighth Brigade of Militia, and that he also order out one company each from the following counties, viz: Prairie, Monroe, Poinsett, Saint Francis, and Craighead.[8]

Brig. Gen. Theodore H. Phillips offered his services to Col. Borland, who welcomed his aid in the emergency. Phillips undertook the organization of the new 30 day volunteer companies into a brigade.[4] He placed a requisition for camp equipment as follows:"[9]

Requisition for Camp and Garrison Equipage viz: Four camp kettles. 4 ovens, lids and pot hooks, 4 coffee boilers, 15 tin cups. 25 tin plates. 4 mess Bins, 1 coffee mill, 6 spoons, 8 knives. Requisition for forage for 8 horses, 96 pounds (44 kg) of corn.[9]

Brig. Gen Phillips added his explanation for the requisition: "In response to Col. Borland's call for militia service for 30 days. We have responded and entered service. [with] Capt. Ruffner."[4] The receipt was dated Pocahontas November 23. 1861, and was signed by "T. H. Phillips, Brig. Gen. 8th Brigade of Arkansas Militia."[4]

Col. Borland's call received an almost immediate response, but he continued to harbor serious misgivings about his situation. On November 10, he wrote to Maj. Gen. Leonidas Polk, C.S.A., commanding the 1st Division Western Department, at Columbus, Kentucky, and told of his call for reinforcements from the militia. He said the response was "somewhat tumultuous." On November 9, 1,000 men had arrived unorganized and so ill-supplied with arms that be deemed it best to direct them to return home. They followed this direction and assured Borland that within a week's time he would have at least 3,000 men at his command. He told them that companies thus organized and prepared would be received into service for 30 days from the time they reported again to him. Borland added a postscript to this letter, saying that he had just received a report from his scouts that a Federal force of 7,450 was between Reeve's Station and Greenville in Missouri. He told Gen. Polk that the force he had was wholly insufficient for either attack or defense. It should be three times as large or be abandoned altogether; and finally he asked to be relieved of his command.[5] "It is a Brigadier’s command, and should have his responsibility, which I am daily growing more and more distrustful of my competency to sustain. Public interests here would be better provided for by other and abler hands."[5]

News of Borland’s call for volunteers and the resulting convergence upon Pocahontas was of course reported to other parts of the state. The Arkansas True Democrat of November 14 printed a dispatch from Des Arc dated November 9, 11:00pm:[4]

The steamer Kanawa Valley left Jacksonport this morning and reports here that large numbers of men are flocking to Bor1ands aid. The Federal forces 7,000 strong are advancing on Pocahontas rapidly, and were expected to make an attack on the town to-day. There is a tremendous excitement throughout the country. The women and children are all being moved from Pocahontas and active preparations are making for a stern resistance to the invaders. Borland's command has retreated from Pittman's Ferry to within a mile of Pocahontas, where they have made a stand. This intelligence is perfectly reliable. J.C. Morrill.[4]

Some two dozen of these emergency companies were organized in Greene, Independence, Izard, Jackson, Lawrence and Randolph counties, including the areas now encompassed in present-day Clay, Cleburne, Sharp and Woodruff counties. They converged on Pocahontas and Pitman’s Ferry, beginning about November 9, and were mustered into Confederate service for a period of thirty days. Few records of these hastily organized and short-lived companies have survived.[2]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Arkansas Military Department Records 1862, Page 161
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Howerton, Bryan. "History of the First Arkansas Regiment 30-Day Volunteers, CSA and index". Edward G. Gerdes Civil War Page. http://www.couchgenweb.com/civilwar/1volhis.html. Retrieved May 7, 2011. 
  3. "Arkansas Military Department Records 1862, Page 161"
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 4.9 Fight and Survive! A History of Jackson County, Arkansas, in the Civil War, by Lady Elizabeth Watson, Reprinted in the Stream of History, the Jackson County Historical Society Newport. Arkansas, VOLUME XXXI 1997 NUMBERS 1–4, Page 45-50, Accessed May 6, 2011, http://cdm15320.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/p15320coll1&CISOPTR=144&CISOBOX=1&REC=1
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 The War Of The Rebellion: A Compilation Of The Official Records Of The Union And Confederate Armies. Ser. I, Vol. 8, Ch. XVIII–Confederate Correspondence. Chapter Xviii. Operations In Missouri, Arkansas. Kansas, And The Indian Territory. November 19, 1861 – April 10, 1862., page 683 Accessed May 6, 2010, http://www.simmonsgames.com/research/authors/USWarDept/ORA/OR-S1-V08-C018C.html
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Ch. XVIII–Confederate Correspondence. CHAPTER XVIII. Operations In Missouri, Arkansas. Kansas, And The Indian Territory. November 19, 1861 – April 10, 1862.". The War Of The Rebellion: A Compilation Of The Official Records Of The Union And Confederate Armies.. Ser. I. Vol. 8. p. 686. http://www.simmonsgames.com/research/authors/USWarDept/ORA/OR-S1-V08-C018C.html. Retrieved May 6, 2010 
  7. From, Fight and Survive! A History of Jackson County, Arkansas, in the Civil War, by Lady Elizabeth Watson, Reprinted in the Stream of History, the Jackson County Historical Society Newport. Arkansas, VOLUME XXXI 1997 NUMBERS 1–4, Page 45-50, Accessed May 6, 2011, http://cdm15320.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/p15320coll1&CISOPTR=144&CISOBOX=1&REC=1
  8. 8.0 8.1 The War Of The Rebellion: A Compilation Of The Official Records Of The Union And Confederate Armies, Series I—Volume Lux, Reports, Correspondence, Etc. From proceedings of the Military Board of the State of Arkansas. Little Rock, 8 November1861, page 752 – 756, Accessed March 3, 2010, http://books.google.com/books?id=fs8tAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA756&vq=Arkansas+Militia&output=text
  9. 9.0 9.1 Fight and Survive! A History of Jackson County, Arkansas, in the Civil War, by Lady Elizabeth Watson, Reprinted in the Stream of History, the Jackson County Historical Society Newport. Arkansas, VOLUME XXXI 1997 NUMBERS 1–4, Page Accessed 6 May2011, http://cdm15320.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/p15320coll1&CISOPTR=144&CISOBOX=1&REC=1

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