Third Arkansas Infantry Regiment, CSA

A Brief History

Arguably the most celebrated regiment fielded by Arkansas during the Civil War, the Third Regiment, Arkansas Volunteers, served in Virginia from its inception to its surrender at Appomattox Court House.  The Third Arkansas was one of a handful of Arkansas regiments that maintained their organizational integrity throughout the war, and generally enjoyed competent, stable leadership.  For most of its service, it was an integral part of the famous Texas Brigade, “Lee’s Grenadier Guard,” of the Army of Northern Virginia.

The information on these  pages was researched and edited  and graciously  given to the Edward G. Gerdes Arkansas Civil War page by Bryan R. Howerton, who we thank so much.

These pages are in no way associated with Rootsweb or USGenWeb or any other site on the Internet.  The material on these pages belongs to Edward G. Gerdes  and have been researched by him or Bryan Howerton from the microfilm records or have been a gift from another researcher  to  put on the Civil War pages....

The Third Arkansas was composed initially of eleven volunteer companies from southern Arkansas:

  Field and Staff Officers
Company A— “The Arkansas Travelers,” organized at Portland, Ashley county.
Company B— “The Berlin Beauregards,” organized at Berlin, Ashley county.
Company C— “The Confederate Stars,” organized at Monticello, Drew county.
Company D— “The Selma Rifles,” organized at Selma, Drew county.
Company E— “The Champagnolle Guards,” organized at Champagnolle, Union county.
Company F— “The Hot Spring Hornets,” organized at Rockport, Hot Spring county.
Company G— “The Three Creeks Rifles,” organized at Three Creeks, Union county.
Company H— “The Orphan Company,” a mixed Arkansas/Kentucky company.
Company  I— “The Tulip Rifles,” organized at Tulip, Dallas county.
Company K— “The Ashley Volunteers,” organized at Hamburg, Ashley county.
Company L— “The Rust Guards,” organized at Latonia, Ashley county (later consolidated with Co A).
   A list of 78 veterans who attended the 1890 reunion of the Third Arkansas Infantry at Monticello.

These companies organized in May and June, 1861, and traveled to Lynchburg, Virginia, where they were mustered into Confederate service, “for three years or during the war,” on July 5.  The Third Arkansas was the first Arkansas regiment to enlist for the duration, the First and Second Arkansas having initially enlisted for one year and later enlisting “for the war.”  Albert Rust, a prominent south Arkansas politician, was appointed colonel of the regiment.  Vannoy Hartrog Manning, a lawyer from Hamburg, Arkansas, and captain of Company K, was appointed major.  The Confederate War Department had initial misgivings about these volunteers from “the backwoods of Arkansas,” and decided to assign “real soldiers” to certain key positions in the regiment.  Seth Maxwell Barton, a West Point graduate and native Virginian, was assigned as lieutenant-colonel.  Another Virginian, Thomas Middleton Semmes, a recent Virginia Military Institute graduate, was assigned as the regimental adjutant.  The Third Arkansas was then sent to a camp of instruction, where VMI cadets drilled them daily.

The Third Arkansas was then ready for four long years of war, participating in six campaigns, nine battles, five major engagements, five sieges, and a long list of military operations and skirmishes.

On March 4, 1862, Colonel Rust was appointed a brigadier-general in the Provisional Army of the Confederate States.  Major Manning succeeded him as colonel, and commanded the Third Arkansas until he was severely wounded and captured at the Battle of Wilderness, May 6, 1864.

In July, 1862, the ranks of the Third Arkansas were augmented by the addition of nearly 140 soldiers from the Second Arkansas Infantry Battalion.  The Second Arkansas Battalion had been organized in October, 1861, from three companies of volunteers from El Dorado, Hot Springs and Pine Bluff.  In June, 1862, the little battalion was decimated while leading an assault on the Federal position at Beaver Dam Creek, and its commander, Major William Naylor Bronaugh, mortally wounded.  The War Department disbanded the battalion and transferred its survivors to the Third Arkansas.

In November, 1862, the Third Arkansas was assigned to the famous Texas Brigade of the Army Northern Virginia.  The Confederate War Department had determined that the troops would benefit from being brigaded with regiments from their home States.  At this time, the standard brigade organization consisted of four regiments.  There were three Texas regiments in the Army—the First, Fourth and Fifth—and only one Arkansas regiment.  It was therefore decided to group these four western regiments together.  The Third Arkansas remained an integral part of Hood’s Texas Brigade until the end of the war.

The Third Arkansas gained a reputation as gritty, tenacious fighters, and always seemed to end up in some of the most hotly-contested parts of the battlefield—the Sunken Road at Sharpsburg—the Devil’s Den at Gettysburg—and consequently suffered a high casualty rate.  It was at the Battle of the Wilderness, May 6, 1864, that the Third Arkansas experienced some of their most serious losses, including their gallant Colonel Van Manning.  Severely wounded and captured, he sat out the rest of the war as a prisoner. Major William K. Wilkins (who had succeeded Major John W. Reedy, killed in action at Chickamauga) was killed at the Wilderness.  Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Samuel Taylor, was severely wounded at the Wilderness, but recovered and commanded the Third Arkansas when the Army of Northern Virginia surrendered at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865.  The paroles of the Third Arkansas troops were finally signed on April 12, and they were released to go home.

During its four years of war 1,353 men served in the Third Arkansas.  Only 150 remained at the surrender.

Campaigns and Battles of the Third Arkansas Infantry

Operations on Cheat Mountain, West Virginia, September 11-17, 1861.
Skirmish, Elkwater, West Virginia, September 11, 1861.
Skirmish, Point Mountain Turnpike, West Virginia, September 11-12, 1861.
Skirmish, Petersburg, West Virginia, September 12, 1861.
Engagement, Greenbrier River, Cheat Mountain, West Virginia, October 3-4, 1861.
Operations in the Valley District and against Romney, West Virginia, November 26, 1861 to February 21, 1862.
Battle of Seven Pines (Fair Oaks), Virginia, May 31 to June 1, 1862.
Skirmish, Gill’s Bluff, Virginia (Company F), June 20, 1862.
Seven Days Battles, Virginia, June 25 to July 1, 1862.
Engagement, Turkey Bridge (Malvern Cliff), Virginia, June 30, 1862.
Campaign in Northern Virginia (Second Bull Run Campaign), August 16 to September 2, 1862.
Maryland Campaign, September 3-19, 1862.
Siege, Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia, September 13, 1862.
Battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg), Maryland, September 16-17, 1862.
Action, Bolivar Heights, West Virginia, September 19, 1862.
Operations in Loudoun, Fauquier and Rappahannock Counties, Virginia, October 26 to November 10, 1862.
Battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia, December 12-15, 1862.
Siege, Suffolk, Virginia, April 11 to May 4, 1863.
Skirmish, Somerton Road, Virginia, April 15, 1863.
Skirmish, Somerton Road, Virginia, April 20, 1863.
Action, Edenton Road, Suffolk, Virginia, April 24, 1863.
Gettysburg Campaign, June 3 to August 1, 1863.
Battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, July 1-3, 1863.
Battle of Chickamauga, Georgia, September 19-21, 1863.
Siege, Chattanooga, Tennessee, September 24 to November 1, 1863.
Campaign, Knoxville, Tennessee, November 4 to December 23, 1863.
Siege, Knoxville, Tennessee, November 17 to December 4, 1863.
Assault, Forts Saunders and Loudoun, Knoxville, Tennessee, November 29, 1863.
Operations about Dandridge, Tennessee, January 16 to January 17, 1864.
Operations about Dandridge, Tennessee, January 26-28, 1864.
Wilderness Campaign, May 4 to June 12, 1864.
Battle of the Wilderness, Virginia, May 5-7, 1864.
Battles of Spotsylvania Court House, Laurel Hill, Ny River and Fredericksburg Road, Virginia, May 8-21, 1864.
Assault of the Salient, Spotsylvania Court House, Virginia, May 12, 1864.
Operations on the line of the North Anna River, Virginia, May 22-26, 1864.
Operations on the line of the Pamunkey River, Virginia, May 26-28, 1864.
Operations on the line of the Totopotomoy River, Virginia, May 28-31, 1864.
Battles about Cold Harbor, Virginia, June 1-12, 1864.
Assault, Petersburg, Virginia, June 15, 1864.
Siege operations against Petersburg and Richmond, Virginia, June 16, 1864 to April 2, 1865.
Assault, Petersburg, Virginia, June 18, 1864.
Engagements at Deep Bottom (Darbytown), Strawberry Plains and New Market Road, Virginia, June 27-29, 1864.
Engagements at Deep Bottom, New Market Road and Darbytown Road, Virginia, August 13-20, 1864.
Engagement, Fair Oaks and Darbytown Road, Virginia, October 27-28, 1864.
Appomattox Campaign, March 28 to April 9, 1865.
Assault and capture, Petersburg Lines, Virginia, April 2, 1865.
Surrender, Appomattox Court House, Virginia, April 9, 1865.

1998 -copyright -The above information may be used for non-commercial historical and genealogical purposes only and with the consent of the page owner may be copied for the same purposes so long as this notice remains a part of the copied material. EDWARD G. GERDES

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