Major Thomas Hamilton McCray was appointed to command a four-company battalion of Arkansas volunteers on January 25, 1862. During the next two months, five additional companies were added to McCray’s Battalion, and he was promoted to lieutenant-colonel. On May 25, 1862, a tenth company was added, and the battalion was reorganized as the 31st Arkansas Infantry Regiment on May 27, 1862. McCray was elected colonel of the regiment.
The 31st Arkansas served east of the Mississippi River in the Confederate Army of Tennessee, generally serving in McNair’s Arkansas Brigade along with the 4th Arkansas Infantry, 25th Arkansas Infantry, 1st Arkansas Mounted Rifles, 2nd Arkansas Mounted Rifles, and 4th Arkansas Battalion.
Depleted by deaths and desertions, the 31st Arkansas Regiment and the 4th Arkansas Battalion were consolidated with the 4th Arkansas Regiment on September 1, 1863. With barely enough men left to fill up two companies in the consolidated regiment, the 31st Arkansas boys served under the 4th Arkansas Regiment’s Colonel Henry Gaston Bunn until the end of the war. Fighting with remarkable courage at the Battle of Chickamauga, in September 1863, nine men of the old 31st Arkansas were awarded the Confederate equivalent of the Medal of Honor. On April 9, 1865, the remnants of the Arkansas regiments of McNair’s old brigade were consolidated into a single regiment—the First Arkansas Consolidated Rifles. About a dozen 31st Arkansas men were left when the consolidated rifles regiment surrendered with the Army of Tennessee at Greensboro, North Carolina, on April 26, 1865.
OFFICERS FIELD & STAFF
Co. B—Van Buren County.
Co. C—Conway County.
Co. D—Van Buren County.
Co. E—Pope County.
Co. F—Van Buren County.
Co. G—Conway County.
Co. H—Jackson County.
Co. I—Independence County.
Co. K—Yell County.
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If you have any questions or comments or if you would like to have more information about the Civil War and Pension Records of the men who served in these Companies, contact Jeri Helms Fultz or Bryan Howerton.
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