SALINE TERRITORY, AR. 1864
Copied from a Special Edition of "THE MERRY GREEN PRESS"
Article: SCOUTING CREWS ACTIVE HERE
Captain Jonas Webb's Independent company of scouts is reportedly operating in the vicinity of the Saline River. Webb's activities here have been met with frequent criticism from the local population, although he maintains that he supports the Southern cause in very way.
In recent months he had been accused of robbery and murder.
Tom Grant, a former member of Webb's company who has left the country, gave this story to the editor: "I know that this is true. Webb himself ordered his men to go into the houses and take what they wanted. Sometimes he would tell them he was taking them to Headquarters because they objected to his actions. Instead, he would take them to the Saline River bottom and murder them.
I was there when Webb arrested Dan Morris. He ordered me and Fate Allee to take Morris to Headquarters which actually was a canebreak on the Saline River. When Fate refused to shoot Morris, he old chum, I myself, did the job with one shot through his heart."
Article: STEELE'S REPORT TO GENERAL W. H. HALLECK, CHIEF OF STAFF
On my arrival at Little Rock night before last, I learned that my dispatches from Camden up to the 18th ultimo had been forwarded to you, and also dispatches from Colonel Clayton and General Andrews giving imperfect accounts of subsequent events.
I shall defer my detailed report of the campaign until reports and returns of casualties can be obtained from subordinate commanders, giving in this only a synopsis of the operations since the 18th ultimo. The command had been on short rations during the whole campaign, except with occasionally supplies could be obtained in the country. On the 20th ultimo we received a supply from Pine Bluff, with ten days' half rations for the command. Some meat was obtained on the east side of the Ouachita, and one small grist-mill and ten hand-mills were constantly kept at work grinding corn, for which the country for a great distance from Camden on both sides of the river was scoured. Four thousand or 5,000 bushels were captured on the steamer Homer. The rebels destroyed all the good mills and all the corn in the neighborhood of Camden. On the 22nd ultimo the supply train was sent back under escort of a brigade of infantry (about 1600 men), 400 cavalry, and four pieces of artillery. Captain Dunham, bearer of dispatches from General Banks, arrived, confirming the report which I had previously received that Banks had fallen back behind intrenchments at Grand Ecore. I also received information that Price had been re-enforced by 8,000 infantry from Shreveport. In the evening of this day he opened with artillery upon my outposts. Captian Dunham returned with dispatches to General Banks, informing him of my inability to advance on account of a want of supplies and the superior rebel force in front of me. He had sent me a request to move forward at once and join him on Red River. On the night of the 25th, we learned that the train, the artillery, and most of the infantry of the escort had been captured by a force under Fagan, said to be 5,000 or 6,000 strong. This force must have crossed the Ouachita 50 or 60 miles below Camden, as my cavalry scouting parties and spies reported the country all clear between the Moro and Ouachita, and that no crossing of the river by rebels could be heard of. The rebels came up between the Moro and Saline and attacked the train about 8 miles from the crossing on the latter in the Moro Swamp. Our troops fought gallantly, but were overwhelmed by a dash of the rebels. Lieutenant-Colonel Drake, their gallant commander, was severely wounded and taken prisoner. About 500 veterans of the First Iowa Cavalry, under Lieutenant-Colonel Caldwell, going on furlough, were a few miles in rear of the train when it was attacked. On hearing the firing they pressed forward, but were met by a superior force and fighting fell back. I sent all my available cavalry to their support. They returned to Camden, having lost one lieutenant captured and a few men wounded. They captured a rebel captain and killed a colonel, who led the attack upon them.
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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