“The Yell Rifles”
Arkansas State Troops
The Yell Rifles, named in honor of Colonel and Governor Archibald Yell, who was killed in action at the battle of Buena Vista in the Mexican War, was organized at Helena, Phillips county, Arkansas, on April 8, 1861. The company joined with other independent volunteer companies to force the surrender of the U.S. Arsenal at Little Rock, before being assigned to a regiment. On May 14, 1861, the First Regiment, Arkansas State Troops, was organized at Mound City, six miles above Memphis on the Mississippi River. Captain Patrick R. Cleburne, of the Yell Rifles, was appointed colonel of the regiment, First Lieutenant Edward H. Cowley succeeding him as captain. The Yell Rifles became Company F of the First Regiment, Arkansas State Troops.
On July 23, 1861, the regiment was enrolled in Confederate service at Pittman’s Ferry, Arkansas, and redesignated as the First Regiment, Arkansas Volunteers, with the Yell Rifles becoming Company B. When it was learned that Colonel James Fleming Fagan’s regiment had also been designated as the First Regiment, Cleburne’s regiment was redesignated as the Fifteenth Regiment, Arkansas Volunteers, on December 31, 1861, and the Yell Rifles once again had its company designation changed, this time to Company C. It would retain this designation to the end of the war.
Two members of the original Yell Rifles became general officers in the Confederate Army. Captain Patrick Ronayne Cleburne was promoted successively to colonel, brigadier-general and major-general, and was killed in action at the battle of Franklin, Tennessee, November 30, 1864. He is considered by some historians as one of the Confederacy’s most capable general officers. Third Lieutenant Lucius Eugene Polk, who became colonel of the Fifteenth Arkansas after the battle of Shiloh, was promoted to brigadier-general on December 13, 1862. He was severely wounded at the battle of Kennesaw Mountain, June 10, 1864, and was forced to retire because of his wounds.
The following roster lists the original members of the Yell Rifles who enrolled in the company on April 8, 1861.
Bailey, Charles H—Private.
Bailey, Ralph N—Fifth Sergeant.
Barksdale, Robert E—Fourth Corporal.
Barlow, J C—Private; transferred to the Dallas Artillery, promoted to first lieutenant and captain.
Blankenship, Willis P—Private.
Blount, Francis B—Private.
Booth, Robert P—Private.
Brodnax, William G—Private.
Brown, James M—Private.
Burgess, Vardry M—Private; transferred to regimental band.
Carr, H L—Private; discharged, did not enter Confederate service.
Chandler, Charles P—Private.
Clark, M B L—Private; discharged, did not enter Confederate service.
Cleburne, Patrick Ronayne—Captain; promoted colonel, brigadier-general and major-general; killed in action at Franklin, Tennessee, November 30, 1864.
Clopton, James W—Third Sergeant.
Cowley, Edward H—First Lieutenant; promoted captain.
Dade, Louis G—Private.
Delaney, Thomas J—Private.
Dodge, Lemuel P—Private; appointed second lieutenant of Co. D, 15th Arkansas Infantry.
Dowty, Thomas J—Private.
Duval, Elmore D—Private.
Elliott, Quinton H—First Corporal.
Essop, John W—Private.
Gilbreath, David M—Private.
Goff, J—Private; discharged, did not enter Confederate service.
Gray, James C—Private.
Hall, J W—Private; discharged, did not enter Confederate service.
Hall, James P—Private.
Hickey, Preston G—Private.
Hicks, Malcomb L—Private.
Hill, William A B—Private.
Jackson, Owen T—Private.
Jones, Thompson L—Private.
Kendall, Joseph W—Private.
King, Stanhope H—Private; appointed major and assistant commissary in Preston Smith’s Tennessee Brigade.
Kinsey, William H—Private.
Lambert, Alexander P—Second Corporal.
Langford, James F—Second Lieutenant; discharged, did not enter Confederate service.
Langford, Robert C—Private; discharged, did not enter Confederate service.
Langford, William H—Private; discharged, did not enter Confederate service.
Locke, William J—Private; transferred to Co. H, 2nd Tennessee Infantry.
McCrary, Francis O—Private.
McGonigle, James H—Private.
Mangum, Leonard Henderson—First Sergeant; wounded at Shiloh.
Moncrief, Thomas B—Private; transferred to Co. H, 2nd Arkansas Infantry.
Moore, Charles L—Private; appointed third lieutenant; appointed captain and assistant quartermaster, 15th Arkansas Infantry.
Morrison, William H—Private.
Mulkey, James I—Private.
Murphy, James M—Private.
Pearce, William H—Private.
Phillips, Stephen H—Private.
Polk, Lucius Eugene—Third Lieutenant; promoted first lieutenant; promoted colonel, 15th Arkansas Infantry; appointed brigadier-general; wounded at Kennesaw Mountain, June 10, 1864.
Randle, Angus P—Private.
Ross, Canada—Private; also served in the Helena Artillery.
Ross, James A—Private.
Rambo, Parmeseas F—Private.
Sale, George W—Private.
Sale, Henry A—Private.
Sale, Melville W—Private.
Scott, Arthur M—Private.
Sellers, William W—Private.
Simpson, David H—Private.
Smith, Henry H—Private.
Smith, Henry L—Private.
Smith, John W L—Private.
Smith, Moses E—Private.
Stansell, J Walker—Private; appointed commissary, 15th Arkansas Infantry.
Stone, William H—Private; also served in the Appeal Battery.
Taylor, Phillip H—Fourth Sergeant.
Terry, John F—Second Sergeant.
Thorn, Thomas S—Private.
Tollison, William P—Private.
West, John H—Private.
Yerby, Robert N—Private.
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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