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"



Most of our readers are already aware that hospitals still remain on the battlefield at Jenkins' Ferry. The Federal hospitals, we are told, consisted of several tents on both sides of the river and a house located on the battlefield. All the ambulatory wounded were sent across the river to the east side while the stretcher cases were found and carried into the house. One surgeon, Doctor Loehr, and two assistants were left behind to care for the seriously wounded.

A hospital steward reported that one tent contained at least thirty-seven Federal soldiers requiring amputations and that Dr. Loehr and his staff were later taken prisoner by Confederates and removed from their duties. A Confederate medic was assigned in his place. It is thought that the entire hospital, aides, and equipment will soon be transferred to Camden.

All buidings in the neighborhood were turned into field hospitals by the Confederates to house the wounded of both sides.

The dead were buried in shallow graves on or near the battlefield while some were carried to Tulip in Dallas County to await the final judgement.


Robert M. Rodgers of Ashley County enlisted at Company B, 26th Arkansas Regiment in 1863 at the age of 17 and was wounded in action at Jenkins' Ferry. He was interviewed by our correspondent visiting Camden last week where he described his experiences.

"I was numbered among the unfortunates. Wounded in my left arm about 9:00 o'clock on the morning of April 30th when the battle seemed to reach its highest pitch. I was powder burned and my face smoked so black my comrades could scarcely recognize me. While I was attempting to get off the field, I met my regimental surgeon who called, 'Is that you, Rodgers?' By that time my wound was very painful, and the blood was flowing freely down my side and around my waist. My surgeon secured the necessary help, and I was taken back to a line of vehicles that stood just behind the battle ranks. My old comrade, Grizzell, and I were soon placed in one and conveyed at once to the hospital ground where many poor wounded soldiers were being rapidly collected. Grizzell was beside me and was wounded at the same time I was. I remember very well the expression on his face at the time my gun was shot from my hand. I thought he was killed, but it so happened that he had received a severe wound from which he finally recovered.

We remained on the battlefield for three days after which we were removed to the hospital at Tulip. The serious condition that soldiers may be placed in can hardly be described. Imagination only can *** this picture. Our baggage train had been sent to Texas and of course we were without a change of clothing, and we were forced to remain in our blood-stained clothes for nine or ten days. The enemy had over run the country which made it almost impossible for the patriotic citizens to give aid to the wounded. However, with sympathizing hearts and ready hands they did everything they could to give relief to the wounded soldiers. I had become despondent by this time. My clothes saturated with blood for so long had become very offensive and flies were bad, creeping things as large as wheat grains had now infested my body round about my blood-stained clothes. This was the condition of many of my wounded comrades.

My first nurse was very slothful and unconcerned, and on account of his unfaithfulness he was discharged and ordered to report to the command without delay. My second nurse was a good man and was exceedingly careful with me.

It was about two weeks after the battle that I seemed to be getting weaker very rapidly and I thought I must be dying. It was late in the afternoon of that day, it came my time to get a little bed and a clean shirt and a pair of trousers. I remember my nurse-called me and asked if I could bear for them to lift me, and hold me up until they could change my clothes and place me on a small bed. I consented to this although I was so very weak. While all this was taking place, I could see some wounded comrades in another part of the room, dying. I knew nothing more for some time; and when I came to myself I was lying on a little bed with clean clothes on, with my right hand and arm laid across my breast. Nature had changed. I soon fell into a deep sleep and enjoyed a good nights rest for the first time since my misfortune.

When I awoke the next morning, I did not feel so weak and from that time forward I began to improve. Two weeks later I was able to take leave of my wounded comrades that were still at the hospital. I left in company with my Division Surgeon who amputated my arm at the battlefield, and who now dressed my stub every morning on our way to Camden.


Just before the Battle of Jenkins' Ferry, John Coats of Johnson County, Missouri, and a comrade were sent out ahead to find the location of the Federals. He and his comrade went out on horseback and suddenly they saw just ahead of them then Federal soldiers and other evidences which told them they had passed the Federal pickets and were between the pickets and the Federal army. Coats' comrade put the spurs to his horse and escaped, but Mr. Coats rode up and was halted. When asked who he was, he said: "I am a Confederate soldier." and firing two shots from his trusty revolver rode away as fast as his horse could go. He soon came to a house, and having eaten no food for many hours, he stopped. The lady of the house came out and the youthful soldier asked for his dinner. The good woman said that she could give him somthing to eat, but for him to stop would mean his capture and he was still between the pickets and the Federal army. Coast replied that he knew he was but would take the chance. He was hungry and daring. When asked who he was and where he came from, he told the good woman that his name was John Coats and that he came from Windsor, Henry County, Missouri.

Coats went into the house, took a seat and place his two revolvers at each side of his plate. In front of him, behind him, and at one side were three windows, and on the other a door. His horse was tied where it could be quickly reached.

When Coats had about half finished his meal, he was startled by the command to surrender. The unwelcome command came from two windows, and quicker than a flash, Coats grabbed his two revolvers, fired at each window, and kept firing until he reached his horse and then mounted, and as the bullets wizzed about his head, he returned the fire and speedily left the place. He escaped but never knew what effect his bullets had.

Bettie Taylor, a resident of Hot Springs County who lives on the Camden Road near the battfield provided this office with a curious account of the very encounter. "I was at the house where John Coats stopped for dinner. When he got up from the table, there was a man at each window. They both fell dead. As he went out the back door, he killed two more. The one east of the house who told him to stop also fell dead; the one who shot at him as he jumped on his horse fell mortally wounded and died four days later at our house.

My mother and I walked four miles that evening to my uncle's, and when we got there, we found two more Yankee soldiers wounded. We told them what had happened at our home, and one of them said, 'That is the very same Rebel who shot us.' One of them died at my uncle's and the other one got well.

The Yankees came and buried their dead. They made us take care of the wounded man till he died. We expected to be burned out and perhaps killed, but the officers were very kind to us and did not allow anything to be molested. My mother told them it was no fault of hers. The officer told her if six United States soldiers let one Rebel kill all of them and get away, he thought the credit was due the Rebel."


Major General Fredrick Steele, a former railroad man who led the VII Corps to South Arkansas, was born in 1819 in New York and graduated from West Point in 1839. The General served in the Mexican War and was twice brevetted for gallant conduct after which he served in California for five years. He was in Battle of Wilson's Creek, Missouri, and at Pea Ridge, Chickasaw Bluffs, and at Arkansas Post and was placed in command of the forces in Arkansas being charged with the conquest of our state.

The General is described in a letter as we have received from Little Rock: "Steele is considered to be the most gentlemanly military commander among them all. His reputation is that of a gentleman who is appreciated by the people and is sympathetic and easy to deal with. He is a small, neat man with light complexion, lively gray eyes and hair, though originally brown, now heavily sprinkled with gray. He has a slender wiry form and sharp shrill voice. He is not profane but swears with precision and with great velocity and is in the field, a fine officer. He does, however lack firmness. When on duty he always appears in uniform. He does suffer from apoplexy, with which he is sometimes stricken."

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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