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32nd Arkansas Infantry (Confederate)
Flag of Arkansas.svg
Arkansas state flag
Active 1862 to 1865
Country Confederate States of America
Allegiance CSA Dixie
Branch Infantry

Battle of Prairie Grove,

Battle of Helena,

Battle of Little Rock,

Red River Campaign,

Battle of Pleasant Hill,
Battle of Jenkins Ferry,
Arkansas Confederate Infantry Regiments
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31st Arkansas Infantry Regiment 33rd Arkansas Infantry Regiment

The 32nd Arkansas Infantry Regiment, also called 4th Trans-Mississippi Regiment, (1862–1865) was a Confederate Army infantry regiment during the American Civil War. This Regiment was designated at various times as Matlock's Battalion Arkansas Cavalry, 4th Regiment (Gause's) Trans-Mississippi Infantry, and Gause's Regiment Arkansas Infantry.[1]

Organization[edit | edit source]

In the summer of 1862, General Thomas C. Hindman appointed Charles H. Matlock to establish a recruiting headquarters at Camp Cache, near Cache River. General Hindman appointed Charles H. Matlock Lieutenant Colonel on June 11, 1862 and on 16 June 1862, Matlock organized Matlock's Battalion of Arkansas Cavalry. Lucien C. Gause, formerly of the Jackson Guards, became Matlock’s adjutant and Charles L. Young was appointed Major. Captain William L. Jeffers’ Missouri Cavalry Company was attached to Colonel Matlock's Battalion on the 16th of June, having previously operated independently in Southeast Missouri and Northern Arkansas.

Matlock's Cavalry Battalion was dismounted to serve as infantry on July 18, 1862, by orders from General Hindman. Jeffers’ Missouri Cavalry Company was re-mounted and transferred on July 18, 1862, by order of Major General Hindman to Brigadier General Dandridge McBride's Brigade. Jeffers’ Missouri Cavalry Company served in Brig. Gen. McBride’s Brigade until August 15, 1862.

Matlock was promoted to Colonel on August 6, 1862 and his Battalion of dismounted cavalry was re-organized into the 32nd Regiment Arkansas Infantry. When the regiment was organized, all the regimental officers were from Jackson County:

  • Charles H. Matlock, Colonel;
  • Charles L. Young, Lieut-Colonel; and
  • Lucien C. Gause, Major.

Colonel Matlock resigned November 10, 1862 on Surgeon's Certificate of Disability. He was succeeded by Lucien C. Gause as Colonel of the 32nd. The unit was formed from the following existing companies:[2]

Colonel Lucien C. Gause, would survive the war to serve in the United States House of Representatives

  • Company A was Capt. William T. Hicks organized an independent cavalry company at Searcy, Arkansas, on February 22, 1862. The company skirmished with Federal forces in small-scale actions throughout White County during the spring of 1862, and fought a significant engagement at the Battle of Whitney’s Lane, east of Searcy, on May 19, 1862, inflicting heavy casualties on the Union’s 17th Missouri Infantry. On June 16, 1862, the company lost its independent status when it was assigned to Lieutenant-Colonel Charles H. Matlock’s cavalry battalion. The company lost its cavalry status when the battalion was dismounted to serve as infantry on July 18, 1862. Its original officers were: William Hicks, Captain; Lucius M. Jones, 1st Lieutenant; James A. Poe and James S. Wilkes, 2nd Lieutenants. When Captain Hicks was promoted to Lieut-Colonel December 10, 1862, he was replaced by Lt. James A. Poe as Captain. Lucius M. Jones was promoted to regimental Quartermaster December 15, 1862.[3][4]
  • Company B was organized May 28, 1862, at Cotton Plant. Its original officers were: Arthur F. Stephenson, Captain; George W. Johnson, 1st Lieutenant; William H. Montgomery and William S. Farley, 2nd Lieutenants. When Arthur F. Stephenson was promoted to Major December 9, 1862, he was replaced by Lt. William H. Montgomery as Captain. Captain Montgomery died April 10, 1863 and was replaced by James T. McIver as Captain. Captain McIver was killed April 30, 1864.[4]
  • Company C was organized June 15, 1862, at Camp Cache. It was originally composed of part of Captain Richard Hooker’s cavalry company. Its original officers were: William P. Anderson, Captain; J.M. Siddall, 1st Lieutenant; and George R. Barnes and Christopher Y. Steen, 2d Lieutenants.[4]
  • Company D was organized June 15, 1862, at Camp Cache composed mostly of men in the vicinity of Tupelo (Arkansas). It was originally composed of part of Captain Richard Hooker’s cavalry company. Its original officers were: John Bland, Captain; Elijah M. Shettlesworth, 1st Lieutenant; and William P. Eason and J.R. Jelks, 2nd Lieutenants. Captain Bland was killed April 1, 1864.[4]
  • Company E was organized June 17, 1862, at Camp Cache. Its original officers were: Robert J. Anthony, Captain; A.V. Posey, 1st Lieutenant; and Robert B. Camp and D.B. Miers, 2nd Lieutenants.[4]
  • Company F was organized June 16, 1862, at Burrowville. Its original officers were: Samuel Leslie, Captain; John A. Hallabaugh, 1st Lieutenant; A.C. Stephenson and James Watkins, 2nd Lieutenants. This Company contained many former members of the 45th Regiment of Arkansas Militia:[4][5]
  • Company G was organized June 13, 1862, at Camp Cache. Its original officers were: Charles L. Young, Captain; Jesse Grider, 1st Lieutenant; and William C. Scofield and Green Brandenburg, 2nd Lieutenants. After Captain Young’s promotion to Lieut-Colonel, Charles M. Montell was elected Captain.[4]
  • Company H was organized July 12, 1862, at E.D. Rushing. Its original officers were: James R. Morris, Captain; William A. Mauldin, 1st Lieutenant; R.F. McKinny and Samuel Richard, 2nd Lieutenants.[4]
  • Company I was organized June 20, 1862, at Camp Cache. Its original officers were: John Campbell, Captain; J. Thomas Robinson, 1st Lieutenant; and John Tharp and Henry G. Williams, 2nd Lieutenants. Captain Campbell died July 23, 1862 and John Horne became Captain July 28, 1862. Frank M. Wells was elected Captain December 1, 1863. The company included men who lived between Augusta and Jacksonport.[4]
  • Company K was organized May 25, 1862 in White County. More recruits were added June 15, 1862 at Camp Stokes and the company was completed July 12, 1862 at Springfield, Arkansas. Its original officers were: T.B. Moseley, Captain; James H. Word, 1st Lieutenant; Samuel Coddings and George H. Hale 2nd Lieutenants. Captain Moseley died June 30, 1862 and was replaced by Lt. George H. Hale as Captain.[4]

The regiment served in McRae's, Churchill's, L. C. Gause's, and Roane's Brigade. The field officers were Colonels Lucien C. Gause and C. H. Matlock, Lieutenant Colonels William Hicks and C. L. Young, and Major Arthur F. Stephenson.[6] The unit was field consolidated with the 30th Arkansas Infantry Regiment from December 1863 until sometime in 1864.[7]

Battles[edit | edit source]

Many of the companies composing the regiment were in service long before the organization of the regiment. In response to Solon Borland’s call for volunteers, a company of 30 day volunteers was organized in Jackson County by Captain Richard Hooker. The company was organized at Jacksonport November 5, 1861 and went to Pocahontas where it was mustered into Confederate service November 29, 1861, and discharged on December 28, 1861, also at Pocahontas. The men were armed with shotguns and borrowed sabers. The company was known as Captain Hooker’s Company, Arkansas 30-Day 1861 Mounted Volunteers. The company re-organized on February 26, 1862 at Jacksonport and more men mustered into it. Before becoming part of the 32nd Infantry Regiment it figured prominently in the action around Jackson County in the spring and summer of 1862. The March 31, 1862 morning report gave Hooker’s Company’s strength at 130 officers and men. The original members of Hooker’s Company were divided between companies C and D of the new 32d regiment.

The beginnings of Company A were being recruited in Northeast Arkansas by Captain William Hicks. On April 23, 1862, a scouting party made up of Company A recruits, under Lieutenant James A. Poe advanced to Smithville in Lawrence County, Arkansas in a few miles of the advance of the enemy under Union General Thomas Curtis. The enemy surrounded the place and captured two of the houses which the men were forced to abandon. Then, on May 17, 1862, Lieutenant Poe’s scouting party attacked a foraging party of the enemy on Little Red River. Again in May a scout from Company A under Captain Hicks attacked the enemy’s outposts at Searcy Landing on Little Red River, drove in their pickets and wounded one. On May 19, 1862, Captain Hicks’ Company A was engaged in the skirmish at Whitney’s Lane near Searcy, Arkansas, against a foraging party of infantry and cavalry of the enemy. Company A lost one taken prisoner and 5 wounded, none severely. One citizen was also killed.

June 28, 1862, 6 companies of the Battalion under command of Captain Hicks, attacked the enemy in force and in position on White River near Groves Glaze. The battle commenced near night and was continued until the flash of the enemy’s guns could be distinctly seen in the darkness. The enemy’s loss was recorded as 90 killed and wounded. Confederates lost 1 killed and 4 wounded. The Union troops withdrew from the field.

Jeffers’ Missouri Cavalry Company was dismounted on the 7th of July which caused desertions. July 8 Company A was in the fight near Cotton Plant on Cache River under General Rust. On the following day, Captain William L. Jeffers resigned. The morning report for August 15, 1862 shows the station of the regiment at Camp Bragg near Batesville, Arkansas.

General Holmes issued Special Orders September 28, 1862, assigning Colonel Dandridge McRae to command of a brigade composed of his own 28th Arkansas Infantry Regiment, Pleasant’s 29th Arkansas, McNeill’s 30th, Matlock’s 32nd, Morgan’s 26th, A.N. Johnson’s regiment and Woodruff’s Arkansas Battery. This brigade was ordered to move at once to Elkhorn in northwest Arkansas and report to Brig. Gen. J.S. Rains.[8]

The regiment participated in the campaign in Northwest Arkansas under General Hindman and in the Battle of Prairie Grove. Lieutenant Colonel Charles L. Young was killed December 7, 1862, in the Battle of Prairie Grove. Captain William Hicks of Company A was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel December 10, 1862, to replace Young. May 1, 1863, 18 men who had returned from desertion, most from Company F, were detailed to work in the Nitre Works in Searcy County, Arkansas.

On May 5, 1863, the regiment moved camp from Little Rock to Camp Anderson 4 miles north. On May 20, the regiment moved camp to Bayou Meto 12 miles east of Little Rock because of a scarcity of water. The regiment took up line of march from Bayou Meto direction northeast June 1, 1863, arriving at Jacksonport June 6, a distance of 90 miles. The regiment left Jacksonport June 21 en route to Helena, Arkansas, a distance of 100 miles, through swamp country.

July 4, 1863, the regiment, as part of McRea’s Brigade, participated in the Battle of Helena, Arkansas. The regiment fought in the Battle of Helena as part of McRea's Brigade. On July 2, Price's, including McRea's Brigade with the 32nd Arkansas rendezvoused with Brigadier General Fagan's forces at Lick Creek, west of Helena, and the next morning Generals Holmes, Price, Walker, Fagan, and Marmaduke met in the Allen Polk farmhouse five miles west of Helena to discuss plans for the attack the following day. Holmes issued his general orders outlining the plan of attack on the Union garrison. Price's troops, with his brigades commanded by Brigadier Generals Dandridge McRae and Mosby M. Parsons were to advance by way of the Little Rock Road and attack Battery C atop Graveyard Hill, while Fagan's brigade was to attack Battery D atop Hindman Hill. Confusion in Major General Price's ranks crippled the Confederate attack. Price did not order his troops to resume their march until at least an hour after both Fagan and Marmaduke had begun their attacks. His two brigade commanders, Parsons and McRae, failed to maintain communications with one another and failed to attack, each expecting the order to come from the other. When Price's forces finally regrouped and began their attack, they stormed Graveyard Hill under fire from Batteries B, C, and D. Against Parsons' and McRae's assault, the 33rd Missouri infantry defending Battery C were ordered to spike their guns and retreat, and Graveyard Hill fell to the Confederate advance. Before General Price could have his own artillery moved up from his rear to defend Battery C and fire on Fort Curtis, Prentiss ordered the guns of Batteries A, B, and D, as well as the Tyler's artillery turned on the Confederate enclave. In the confusion, General Holmes disregarded the standard chain of command and ordered one of Parson's regimental commanders to attack Fort Curtis. The other commanders misunderstood and, thinking a general attack order had been issued, joined in the advance down Graveyard Hill, into the murderous crossfire of the Union batteries, the Tyler's artillery, and the reformed Union line. The Confederate assault broke and began to retreat in disorder. General McRae, meanwhile, gathered what men he could of his brigade and led them down the ravine separating Graveyard Hill and Hindman Hill to assist General Fagan's assault on Battery D.[9] The Union defenders opened fire as McRae's troops started to climb Hindman Hill, and the attack collapsed before it had begun. The diversion did enable Fagan to make a charge and take the last line of rifle pits protecting Battery D, but they were unable to take the battery itself.[10] After action reports inaccurately show 5 officers (Captain J. R. Morris, and Lieutenants. R. B. Camp, Thos. A. Eppes, R. F. McKinney, and W. T. Tompkins) and 12 enlisted men killed; 7 officers and 39 enlisted men wounded; 1 officer and 25 enlisted men missing or captured. Another source indicates that the 32nd Regiment losses at Prairie Grove and Helena were 17 killed, 46 wounded, and 26 missing.[6]

From Helena, the regiment moved back to Camp on Bayou Meto near Little Rock, Arkansas, and arrived there July 23, 1863. They marched through swamp country and lost many men by death and desertion. A portion of Company C, Captain Anderson commanding, was detailed as Provost Guard at Jacksonport and rejoined the command at Searcy, Arkansas, on the march to camp on Bayou Meto. August 31, 1863, shows the station of the Regiment at Camp Bowen. The regiment participated in the defense of Little Rock and on September 10, 1863, the city fell to the Union forces.

The 32nd Arkansas Infantry was re-organized December 1, 1863. Miscellaneous records, Certificates and Rolls show that the 30th (McNeill's) and the 32nd Arkansas Infantry Regiments were consolidated during December 1863 and remained consolidated until the summer of 1864.[11]

On January 28, 1864, the regiment took up the line of march from Camp Bragg, Ouachita County to Camp Sumpter, Hempstead County, Arkansas. Distance 40 miles. Official reports show the regiment assigned to Churchill’s Brigade, Price’s Division, District of Arkansas, January 31, 1864. The regiment remained at Camp Sumpter during February 1864. When Churchill was elevated to Division Commander, Colonel Gause once again assumed command of the brigade. While Colonel Gause was assigned as Brigade commander, Lieutenant Colonel William Hicks commanded the regiment.

Upon the launch of the Federal’s Red River Campaign, seizing Alexandria, Louisiana and moving on Natchitoches and Shreveport, General Churchill's Arkansas Infantry Division, including Gause’s Brigade and the 32nd Arkansas was sent south to Shreveport, Louisiana in early March, 1864 to assist General Kirby Smith's army in countering Union General Nathaniel Banks' advance along the Red River. Churchill’s division reached Keatchie, Louisiana in time to support General Richard Taylor’s main force who routed Banks’ army in the Battle of Mansfield (Sabine Crossroads) on April 8, 1864. The next day, the Confederate forces united to attack the Union rear guard at Pleasant Hill on the afternoon of April 9. The Confederates had endured a long forced march from south central Arkansas to Mansfield, and another of ten hours to Pleasant Hill that day with only two hours’ rest. The Union troops held a formidable position, and although the Arkansans and Missourians fought valiantly, they were repulsed and retreated six miles to the nearest water.[12]

After the battle of Pleasant Hill, Churchill's Division made a hasty return with General Kirby Smith back to Arkansas to assist General Price in dealing with the other half of the Red River campaign, Union General Frederick Steele's Camden Expedition moving southwest from Little Rock.[13] The Division and Gause’s Brigade arrived just in time to join the pursuit of Steele's army as it retreated from Camden, and join in the attack on Steele as he tried to cross the Saline River at Jenkins' Ferry on April 30, 1864. After an all-night march through a rainstorm and ankle-deep mud, Gause’s Brigade fell upon the federal rear guard and drove them for more than a mile, until the brigade on their flank began to give way. Reinforced by Tappan’s Brigade, and personally led by General Churchill, the Confederate line rallied and made repeated attacks on the Union forces attempting to cross the river.[14]

On September 30, 1864 the regiment was assigned to Brigadire General John S. Roane’s 1st (Arkansas) Brigade, Acting Major General Thomas J. Churchill’s 1st (Arkansas) Division, Major General John B. Magruder’s Second Army Corps, Army of the Trans-Mississippi and remained in that assignment through December 31, 1864. They continued in service in southwestern Arkansas for the remainder of the war. Lieutenant Colonel William Hicks resigned February 1, 1865 to become State Senator.

Surrender[edit | edit source]

Union commanders in the Department of the Gulf reported on March 20, 1865 that General Roane's brigade was composed of four regiments—Colonel Gause, 250 men; Colonel Hill, 250 men; Colonel Brooks, 250 men; Colonel Davie, 250 men. The regiment disbanded near the White River in March, 1865, but was included in the surrender of Major General Kirby Smith’s Army of the Trans-Mississippi on May 26, 1865.[15]

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

Shea, William L. Fields of Blood: The Prairie Grove Campaign. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009. ISBN 978-0-8078-3315-5

Hess. Earl J.; Shea, William L.; Piston, William G.; Hatcher, Richard W.: Wilson's Creek, Pea Ridge, and Prairie Grove: A Battlefield Guide, with a Section on Wire Road, Lincoln, Nebraska, U.S.A. Bison Books 2006, ISBN 978-0-8032-7366-5

Bears, Edwin C. “The Battle of Helena, July 4, 1863.” Arkansas Historical Quarterly 20 (Autumn 1961): 256–297.

Christ, Mark K. Civil War Arkansas, 1863: The Battle for a State. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2010.

Christ, Mark K., ed. Rugged and Sublime: The Civil War in Arkansas. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 1994.

Christ, Mark K. “‘We Were Badly Whipped’: A Confederate Account of the Battle of Helena, July 4, 1863.” Arkansas Historical Quarterly 69 (Spring 2010): 44–53.

Schieffler, George David. “Too Little, Too Late to Save Vicksburg: The Battle of Helena, Arkansas, July 4, 1863.” MA thesis, University of Arkansas, 2005

References[edit | edit source]

  1. United States. War Dept. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union And Confederate Armies. Series 1, Volume 41, In Four Parts. Part 4, Correspondence, Etc., Book, 1893; digital images, (http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth145061 : accessed February 14, 2012), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, http://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries, Denton, Texas.
  2. Edward G. Gerdes Civil War Page, 32nd Arkansas Infantry Regiment, Accessed 30 January 2011, http://www.couchgenweb.com/civilwar/32story.htm
  3. Gerdes, Edward G.; "Hicks’ Independent Cavalry Company", Edward G. Gerdes Civil War Page, Accessed 30 November 2011, http://www.couchgenweb.com/civilwar/hicks.html
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 4.9 Nichols, Ray: "History of the 32nd Arkansas Infantry Regiment", Edward G. Gerdes Civil War Page, Accessed 30 November 2011, http://www.couchgenweb.com/civilwar/32a-bo.htm
  5. Edward G. Gerdes Civil War Page, 45th Arkansas Militia Regiment, Accessed 30 January 2011, http://www.couchgenweb.com/civilwar/45milf&s.html
  6. 6.0 6.1 National Park Service, Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System, Confederate Arkansas Troops, 32nd Regiment, Arkansas Infantry, Accessed 27 January 2011, http://www.civilwar.nps.gov/cwss/regiments.cfm
  7. Sikakis, Stewart, Compendium of the Confederate Armies, Florida and Arkansas Facts on File, 1992, ISBN 978-0-8160-2288-5, page 116.
  8. United States. War Dept.. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union And Confederate Armies. Series 1, Volume 13., Book, 1885; digital images, (http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth154621/m1/891/?q=McRae : accessed July 05, 2012), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, http://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries, Denton, Texas.
  9. United States. War Dept.. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union And Confederate Armies. Series 1, Volume 22, In Two Parts. Part 1, Reports., Book, 1888; digital images, (http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth154600/m1/419/?q=Helena : accessed August 24, 2013), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, http://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department, Denton, Texas.
  10. BATTERY A SITE, BATTLE OF HELENA, HELENA, PHILLIPS COUNTY, Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Accessed 22 August 2013, http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/historic-properties/_search_nomination_popup.aspx?id=558
  11. United States. War Dept.. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union And Confederate Armies. Series 1, Volume 41, In Four Parts. Part 3, Correspondence, Etc., Book, 1893; digital images, (http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth145055/m1/904/?q=rogan : accessed July 05, 2012), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, http://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries, Denton, Texas.
  12. Allardice, Bruce; "Re: Death of Col. F.P. Yell", Arkansas in the Civil War Message Board, Posted 23 October 2005, Accessed 11 March 2012,
  13. "Arkansas Confederate Regimental Histories". Internet Archive Wayback Machine. http://web.archive.org/web/20071212052703/http://asms.k12.ar.us/armem/welch/ar_infy.htm. Retrieved May 24, 2012. 
  14. United States. War Dept.. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union And Confederate Armies. Series 1, Volume 34, In Four Parts. Part 1, Reports., Book, 1892; digital images, (http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146033/m1/834/?q=Gause : accessed July 06, 2012), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, http://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries, Denton, Texas.
  15. Sikakis, Stewart, Compendium of the Confederate Armies, Florida and Arkansas Facts on File, 1992, ISBN 978-0-8160-2288-5, page 118.

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See also[edit | edit source]

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