Many Thanks to Lou Ann Lunsford for being kind enough to share these newspaper articles with us here in Arkansas


Copied from a Special Edition of "THE MERRY GREEN PRESS"


Our readers will recall the role of General Steele four months ago in David O. Dodd's arrest and execution. Dodd, a popular 17-year old and a former citizen of Benton then living in Camden, was arrested by Federals near Little Rock and charged with spying for the Confederates. Sergeant Miller of Company B, 1st Missouri Cavalry made the arrest. The trial which followed lasted for six days with a sentence of death by hanging.

A number of citizens begged the General to spare the boy's life, but he refused to interfere. The execution took place on January 8th on the grounds of St. John's College with burial in Little Rock.

This incident took place just three months before Steele embarked on the Red River Expedition.


A most distinguished assemblage of Trans-Mississippi Department Confederates was present at the recent battle on the Saline. With General E. Kirby Smith were: Brigadier General John S. Marmaduke, Major General John G. Walker, Brigadier General Thomas N. Waul, Brigadier General William R. Scurry, Major General Sterling Price, Brigadier General James C. Tappan, Brigadier General Alexander T. Hawthorn, Brigadier General Mosby M. Parsons, Brigadier General John B. Clark, Brigadier General H. L. Grinstead, Brigadier General Horace Randal, and Brigadier General T. J. Churchill.

General E. Kirby Smith was born in 1824 in Florida and graduated from West Point at the age of 21. After serving in the Mexican War, he returned to West Point as an instructor of mathematics. In 1852 he was transferred west and participated in the Texas Frontier Indian Wars where he attained the rank of major in the Union Army.

In 1861 he resigned his commission and became a Confederate Brigadier General, service in the Battle of Bull Run where he was wounded.

We have reason to believe that at Jenkins' Ferry, the General commanded personally, cheering his men on to victory over the enemy.

Regardless of his demonstration at the recent battle, many Southerners feel that the General badly mismanaged his troops, feeding them into the Federal meat-grinder piecemeal.

A soldier from Walker's Texas Division said, "The officers beseeched General Smith to allow their commands to swim the river in pursuit of Steele's army. He felt, however that it would be too great a risk to send his cavalry across the river without the infantry. Smith was satisfied with the laurels he had already won; consequently he allowed Steele's Army to return to Little Rock, his base of operations, unmolested."

Major General Sterling Price, commanding Arkansas and Missouri Infantry Divisions, also did not distinguish himself at Jenkins' Ferry. He apparently took much too long to concentrate his cavalry against Steele's column. Opinion is that the handling of his men here could scarcely have been worse and that the Richmond government should relieve him of his command.


It is rumored that some criticism of Brigadier General James F. Fagan by Confederate officers has surfaced since the 30th. Fagan, who commanded at Marks' Mills on April 24, attacked that Federal train in violation of his orders which were to get between Little Rock and Camden and cut General Steele's line of retreat by felling trees across the road. According to reports, had these instructions been obeyed, the VII Corps would have been destroyed at Jenkins' Ferry.

Fagan reconniotered the west bank of the Saline River to Pratt's Ferry and said he found no evidence of a Federal wagon train as described in his orders. Unable to cross the flooding river to the east side, he turned his cavalry, consiting of about 2,000 men, toward Arkadelphia to look for supplies. By the time Fagan learned of his mistake and returned to Jenkins' Ferry, Steele had already crossed the river. It is common knowledge in the Confederate camp that General Fagan could have won the battle by his presence but lost it by his absence.


Major James T. Poe, former County and Probate Judge of this county, recently commanded a Confederate cavalry battalion at Poison Spring and Marks' Mills and was with General Fagan's Task Force at Jenkins' Ferry. The Major first served in the 11th Arkansas Regiment organized in Benton in 1861 and spent several months in Federal prison following his surrender in 1862.

While home on furlough here in 1863, his property was burned by Federals. Everything was taken, including slaves, livestock, food and cooking utensils. He reported that the only things left were a broken skillet, cedar churn, and a ten-toed chicken. Shortly after this incident he moved his family to Columbia County, Arkansas, and returned here to lead Poe's Arkansas Cavalry Battalion under Colonel John C. Wright's Brigade during the recent hostilities in South Arkansas.

Grant County Museum in Sheridan, Arkansas printed in observance of the 125th Anniversary of the Civil War Battle of Jenkins' Ferry that was fought April 29-30th, 1864 in what was then Hot Springs and Saline County Territory...later incorporated into Grant County in 1869.

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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