In previous quarters, we documented the addition of two lines for Arkansas in the summaries. One line for the 1st Arkansas (US) Light Artillery Battery. And the second for a detachment from the 1st Arkansas (US) Cavalry. The “US” distinction is my addition here to ensure clear distinction from the Confederate units with the same designations. These were unionists, recruited into Federal army, and serving in Arkansas and Missouri.
Captain Denton D. Stark received authorization to form the 1st Arkansas Battery in January 1863. The battery first organized at Fayetteville, Arkansas, then moved to Springfield, Missouri to fill out the ranks, obtain equipment and horses, and train. Though in June the battery appeared on the order of battle, it did not formally muster until the end of August.
The 1st Arkansas Cavalry formed in the fall of 1862 under Colonel Marcus LaRue Harrison. The regiment was very active from formation through the fall of 1863.
For the third quarter of 1863, we have those two lines in the ordnance summary:
The dates of receipt, respectively are November 4 and December 9. Thus a relatively fresh set of entries:
- 1st Arkansas Artillery Battery: At Fayetteville, Arkansas with six 3-inch Ordnance rifles. As stated above, Captain Denton D. Stark commanded this battery, assigned to the District of Southwest Missouri. The battery received the six rifles on July 1, 1863 and commenced drilling. On September 7, a section under Lieutenant Robert Thompson accompanied an expedition out of Springfield for Fayetteville. The column was diverted in pursuit of Confederate raiders under Colonel John T. Coffee. After a brief fight in September 18, the expedition, with Thompson’s section, continued to Fayetteville which they reached on September 20. The remaining sections left Springfield on September 21, arriving in Fayetteville on the 29th. Throughout this period, the battery’s service was closely matched to the 1st Arkansas Cavalry.
- Detachment of 1st Arkansas Cavalry: Also reporting at Fayetteville, Arkansas, but with two 12-pdr mountain howitzers. The regiment, under Colonel Marcus LaRue Harrison, was part of the District of Southwest Missouri. An active summer and fall, with duties scouting and in response to Confederate raids. A detachment of five companies was on the expedition to Fayettville, mentioned above, which was redirected after Coffee. The howitzer section is mentioned in returns with (though not necessarily assigned to) Company C of the regiment during the movement to Fayetteville. On September 21, the remainder of the regiment marched from Springfield to join the lead elements at Fayetteville.
So eight pieces of artillery, between the 1st Battery and the 1st Cavalry of Arkansas unionists, were at Fayetteville, at one of the furthest reaches of the Federal army. And worthy of note, these two units filed prompt returns… relatively speaking.
Looking to the ammunition on hand.
For the howitzers:
- 1st Cavalry: 36 shells, 132 case, and 12 canister for 12-pdr mountain howitzers.
Moving to the next page, the rifled Hotchkiss projectiles:
- 1st Battery: 59 canister, 252 percussion shell, 112 fuse shell, and 462 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles, again of Hotchkiss type.
It appears Stark’s battery boasted full ammunition chests.
Moving to the small arms reported:
Only the battery is listed here, as the cavalry’s arms would be reported on a separate, specialized, return:
- 1st Battery: Twenty-six Army revolvers and twenty horse artillery sabers.
By the fall of 1863, Arkansas unionists also contributed another cavalry regiment and an infantry regiment. In the months that followed, the unionists would form two more cavalry and two more infantry regiments. Though no more artillery batteries.
Further, and certainly a separate effort from the recruitment of unionists, three infantry regiments of USCT were formed in or associated with Arkansas by the end of the fall. Another infantry regiment along with a light battery would follow in 1864.