A Civil War Letter

34th Iowa Infantry Company C

Dear father.... we seen the elephant...1863

civil war


                                                                               January the 18th 1863

Dear father
I take this oppertunity to in form you that am yet a lived I am not very well at present but I think i will soon be well. We left Heelena the 21th of last month and have been on the river ever since prety nare we went down to Vixburg they was about 65 thousand in the fleat we **seen the elephant there we was down there several days and dun some prety hard fighting and come back up to Arkansas river and went up it about 39 miles to a fort up there and we had a fight there and we took 5 thousand of prisnors there and alot of there cannons and alot of mules and alot of amunition our loss was not many and the Rebel loss was right smart we got one man killed in our company an one wounded Milton Fisher was the man that got killed we didn't make mutch off the rebels at Vicksburg our regiment we are guarding the prisnors we are taken them up to SantLouis we are up as fur as memhpis now I seen Alvan Vast at memphis yesterday and he was well and harty. I ke Heaner at memphis is but I didn't git to see him ge was well I will tell you that I havent hurd from home fur about 2 months I would like to here frome home. Wyatt has had along sick spell but he is beter Heanson is sick the small pocks is going through out regiment i gess we will go back as soon as we git up there to St Louis I tell you we see ahard time I have wrote you sevrel letters but didn't git any answer you write to me when you git this letter if you pleas tell epraim I wrote him two letters and he did not anser them and i dont intend to write to him till he writes to me. tell Harris to write to me I havent drawed any money yet. I must git this time some more at port sent 
but remenber 
Hearvey J. Slutts to Noah Slutts
Derect to St Louis Mosuri
Photo of  courtesy of  Diane Hacker

**"...saw the elephant?" also known as meeting the enemy in combat.

Seeing the elephant' was a Civil War era expression meaning that you had done or had gone to something extraordinary.

see the elephant" (the Civil War euphemism for battle)


34th Iowa Infantry Company C Slutts, Harvey J., age 20, nativity Ohio, enlisted Aug. 14, 1862. (Company C)


Harvey John Slutts a Van Buren Co. Iowa resident.

Born: 27 May 1842 Belmont Ohio    Died: 1929 Buried Leando Cemetary Leando Van Buren Iowa    Father: Noah Slutts   Mother: Hannah Yaunt     Wife: Catherine   Children 1880 Census : Edith 11, Emma 10, Bertha 5, Orpha 2, Ada 9/12 of  yr.

Courtesy of  Diane Hacker

Arkansas Post National Memorial

GAR Grave Markers

War casualties

Page by page, line by line, word by word translation of the above letter.  




The SAM GATY is the river boat I believe Harvey was going up the Mississippi with the prisoners. 


  1. A letter from Hearvey Slutts to his father Noah Slutts written after The Battle of Arkansas Post, near memphis in route to St Louis Mo. with approx five thousand confederate prisoners. Click and find out how close the letter matches the historical account.  Thirty-fourth Regiment Iowa Volunteer Infantry.

  2. Noah Slutts on Ancestry.com

  3. Early Van Buren Co IA Marriages  Noah Slutts married Meek, Shirley  on 7-5-1865
    Slutts, Harvey J., age 20, nativity Ohio, enlisted Aug. 14, 1862. (Company C)

  4. Fisher, Milton, age 20, nativity Virginia, enlisted Aug. 12, 1862, killed in action Jan. 11, 1863, Arkansas Post, AK.

  5. alVan vast (who is he?)

  6. I ke Heaner(who is he?)

  7. Wyatt, Sacker, age 42, nativity Indiana, enlisted Aug. 11, 1862, discharged for disability May 12, 1863, Chicago, IL.

  8. http://boards.ancestry.com/mbexec/msg/rw/4k.2ADI/3632.1.1?m=3632.1.1.2

  9. The Ephriam mentioned is his oldest brother.


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Accordingly, in the last week of December 1862, Confederate forces operating out of the Post attacked and captured the unarmed Union steamer Blue Wing at Cypress Bend on the Mississippi, eight miles below the town of Napoleon. The Blue Wing, carrying ordnance and supplies and towing two barges of coal, was destined for the Federal fleet downriver at Vicksburg. The victorious Rebels towed the ship and its supplies up the Arkansas River to the recently completed Fort Hindman. This Confederate triumph would turn out to be the beginning of the end for the Post of Arkansas.

The Civil War in Arkansas - Places | Gillett

PICTURE: Capture of Fort Hindman, Arkansas, 11 January 1863. This riverine assault was typical of the many joint operations in the Mississippi River Valley during the Civil War.

Library of Congress Civil War Maps

Lower Mississippi River Valley, Vicksburgh Campaign,
( November 1862 - April 1863)

The Civil War Battle Map



Troop Movement Map
Battle of Arkansas Post
Forenoon, January 11, 1863


Troop Movement Map
Battle of Arkansas Post
5 p.m., January 11, 1863





BATTLEFIELD  MAPS  AND PHOTOGRAPHS What dose it all look like today? Zoom in on a satellite image of the Arkansas Post and more.  (keep clicking on each picture)

map source:  http://www.pueblo.gsa.gov/cic_text/misc/civilwar/civilwar.htm


 Battle Commanders Union 

General McClernand

 Commander photos




 Battle Commanders Confederate

The fort's commander, Colonel John Dunnington, insisted on surrendering to Admiral Porter (the Colonel had at one time been a U.S. naval officer)


Gen. Churchill, rebel general commanding, and his staff; seven colonels; about fifteen lieutenant-colonels and majors, and 330 other officers. Rebels killed and wounded, about 800; of the Union troops, about 1,000; the Thirty Fourth in killed and wounded, seventeen




David D. Porter

David Dixon Porter was the son of Captain David Porter, a naval hero in the War of 1812. Born in 1813, in Chester, Pennsylvania, he received little formal education, but at an early age accompanied his father on cruises. He joined the Mexican navy before returning to the United States in 1829 to receive an appointment as midshipman in the American navy. He served in the Mediterranean, Brazil, the Coast Survey, and at the Hydrographic Office in Washington, D.C. Promoted to lieutenant in 1841, he saw action in the Mexican War and received his first naval command at this time.

After the Mexican War, Porter worked for a number of private steamship firms before returning to the navy in 1855. As commander of the Supply, a storeship, he made two voyages to the Mediterranean for camels, which the army intended to use as pack ani mals in the Southwest. By early 1861, disgruntled by the lack of prospects in the navy, he was on the verge of resigning when Secretary of State Seward chose him to command the Powhatan in the secret expedition to relieve Fort Pickens.

After arriving at Pensacola, Porter remained for six weeks performing guard and blockade duties before proceeding to Mobile, where he instituted a blockade. After promotion to the rank of commander in August 1861, Porter helped plan and participated i n the New Orleans expedition. In 1862, he was chosen as commander of the Mississippi Squadron, over the superior claims of numerous officers. He owed this assignment to the high opinion of his energy and bravery held by Lincoln, assistant secretary of the navy, G ustavus Vasa Fox, and also secretary of the navy, Gideon Welles. He kept the Mississippi River open and cooperated with the army in the capture of Vicksburg. He was promoted to rear admiral in July 1863.

Later in the war, Porter commanded the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron and was instrumental in the capture of Wilmington, North Carolina, and its defenses. Following the war, he was appointed as superintendent of the Naval Academy, where he obtaine d increased congressional funding, enlarged the Academy's physical plant, and reformed its curriculum. He became vice admiral in 1866 and admiral in 1870, and served the Grant administration as naval adviser. His last years were spent on relatively unimportant naval duties and in a number of literary endeavors, which, according to one biographer, "he al one greatly admired." Porter died in Washington in 1891 and was buried in Arlington Cemetery.

Bibliography: Charles O. Paullin, "David Dixon Porter," DAB, 15: 85-89; Bearss, "Civil War Operations . . . Part II," pp. 235-36.



  Read More...A River Unvexed: A History and Tour Guide to the Campaign for the Mississippi River (The Civil War Campaigns Series) Amazon.com

In a flotilla of armed and unarmed gunboats. The river fleet consisted of three ironclads, six gunboats and more than 70 troop transports under Admiral David D. Porter. The U.S.S. Baron de Kalb, Louisville, Signal, Lexington, Rattler, Black Hawk (the command ship), and the Monarch among the boats participating.












Porter's headquarters boat


TIGRESS   McClernand's quarters    (forth boat from the left)

vickbatt.jpg (33797 bytes)

URL Sources





This regiment was called into existence by the proclamation of President Lincoln for "Six Hundred Thousand More," made July 2, 1862. The Companies composing the regiment were enlisted in the month of August; one in Wayne, two in Decatur, three in Lucas, and four in Warren counties. These companies rendezvoused at Camp Lauman, Burlington, and on the 15th day of October, 1862, were mustered into the United States service. The regimental officers at the commencement consisted of the following:

Colonel, G. W. Clark.
Lieutenent [sic] Colonel, W. S. Dungan.
Major, R. D. Kellogg.
Adjutant, W. M. Bryant.
Surgeon, C. W. Davis.
Assistant Surgeons, V. H. Coffman and Henry W. Jay.
Quarter Master, J. D. Sarver.
Chaplain, U. P. Golliday

Our stay at Camp Lauman was rendered delightful by the kind and courteous treatment received at the hands of the citizens of Burlington, and all will cherish pleasant memories of those days. One misfortune which befell the regiment at this time was the terrible suffering caused by the prevalence in the camp of measles, and this suffering was only a foretaste of the after effects of the disease, caused in many cases by subsequent exposure.

On the 22d of November 1862, the regiment embarked in boats for Helena, Arkansas. On this trip down the river many will recall the distress and inconvenience resulting from want of sufficient room and accommodations on the transports. The regiment arrived at Helena on the 5th of December and reported to Brig.-Gen. Steele, commanding the district of East Arkansas, and remained at Helena until the 21st of December. We had at this point our first experience with "dog tents," and the hardships of soldier life exposed to heavy rains, and chilled and benumbed with snow and the approaching inclement winter weather of that climate. And as to test the courage and loyalty of as brave men as ever marched to battle, in addition to the above named afflictions, the small pox broke out in the regiment. It is impossible to go into details in this brief history, and to depict the intense suffering which followed the incidents which we have mentioned.

We left Helena on the 21st of December and joined Gen. Sherman in his unfortunate expedition against Vicksburg. We were assigned to the Third Brigade of the Fourth Division of the Thirteenth Army Corps, commanded by Brig.-Gen. J. M. Thayer. All who were present will remember with great distinctness the operations on the 27th, 28th, and 29th of December at Chickasaw Bayou, and the unavailing assaults on Chicasaw Bluff, and how we lay in line in front of the enemy under constant fire, drenched and almost overwhelmed with the terrific rain storm, leaving us as we awoke one morning, lying midside deep in pools of cold water.

We will pass lightly the humiliation and misery attending the useless, and seemingly senseless slaughter connected with Sherman's assaults upon those impregnable hills. This was our first baptism of blood. At that time the whole army critcised Sherman severely, holding him responsible for our want of success, but we did not then know that the capture of Holy Springs, with all the stores held there for Grant's army had caused Grant to fall back on Memphis, and permitted Pemberton's force which was opposing him, to occupy the defenses of Vicksburg, against which owing to the overflowed bottoms and bayous, Sherman could not bring to bear one-fourth of his troops.

The accumulations of our sufferings and misfortunes in this early period of our history, as we now recall them, render it a matter of wonder that so many survived to fight the subsequent battles of the war and return home, crowned with victory and welcomed with applause.

About the time we finished our operations at the mouth of the Yazoo, just named, Gen. John A. McClernand arrived and organized out of these disheartened troops the expedition against Arkansas Post.

McClernand's troops and Porter's fleet reached Arkansas Post on the evening of the 9th of January. In the operations of the 10th and 11th of January, 1863, we had a further taste of war, accompanied with the exulation of victory. The Thirty-Fourth took a leading part in the siege and capture of the fort. Its flag being one of the first placed within the breastworks of the rebels, by Major R. D. Kellogg.

Among the 4,791 prisoners were Gen. Churchill, rebel general commanding, and his staff; seven colonels; about fifteen lieutenant-colonels and majors, and 330 other officers. Rebels killed and wounded, about 800; of the Union troops, about 1,000; the Thirty Fourth in killed and wounded, seventeen; among them the brave and fearless Capt. Dan H. Lyons of company C, mortally wounded by a bullet in the breast, who died the morning after the battle.

As if in recognition of the gallantry of the Thirty-Fourth, the prisoners taken in this engagement were put in charge of that regiment with what assistance they needed, being six companies of the Thirteenth Illinois regiment. These prisoners except the commissioned officers were conveyed to Camp Douglas, Chicago, Ill. The officers were sent to Johnson's Island.

One hesitates to attempt a description of the suffering of this trip to Chicago which resulted from packing and jamming of about 5,500 men on three moderate sized boats. The cases of small pox were greatly multiplied in the regiment and before we reached St. Louis the disease broke out among the prisoners. We were two weeks going from Arkansas Post to St. Louis.

Col. Clark stated in one of his reports, what we all remember too vividly, that "the human suffering during this trip exceeded anything I have ever witnessed in the same length of time."

The state rooms were filled with sick. The floors of the cabin were covered with the sick of our own regiment, and also sick rebels, all lying closely together, some with fevers, some with pneumonia, some with measles, some with small pox, all with chronic diarrhea. There were not enough well men to properly guard the prisoners and care for the sick.

Each night the pails used for excretions were filled to overflowing and the overflow would run down the sides of the cabin. The poisonous stench arising from the cabin was terrible. It could have been no worse in the black hole of Calcutta, or in the holds of slave-ships, which before our war, filled with human beings, made their long voyages with closed hatches.

At Memphis we put off a number of sick, at Cairo more, and at Arsenal Island just below St. Louis, a desolate looking place it was, 100 or more cases of small pox and varioloid1; in Chicago hospitals we left 200 of "our poor sick boys."

After disposing of the prisoners in Chicago, the regiment returned to Benton barracks on the 5th day of February, 1863. The regiment was at this time totally broken down. Its dead had been planted along the islands of the Mississippi, and at every graveyard we touched in our route, its sick and dying had filled the hospitals at every place where hospital accommodations could be had.

On the 26th of February, 1863, at Benton barracks we had only 298 enlisted men present and 101 "for duty," reduced from 941 four and a half months before, when we were mustered in -- a skeleton of our former organization. The few who were able and fortunate enough to secure leave of absence had gone to their homes to die, or to be nursed back to health by loving, helpful friends.

Of this number the gallant Maj. Kellogg and the writer of this history were able to reach Burlington, and for some days lay on beds in opposite corners of the same room, watching each other to see who would die first, but as neither was willing to go and leave the other, both were finally helped into the cars, and in the course of time reached home and friends.

Respectfully submitted,

J. S. Clark

Late Captain of Company C. Company B, after Consolidation, Thirty-Fourth Iowa Regiment.


The Thirty-fourth had also fought at Chickasaw Bayou, but not as here, in the thickest of the contest. It was on this field that the chivalric, accomplished Captain Daniel H. Lyons fell, mortally wounded, whilst bravely leading his command to the charge. The "star regiment," as the Thirty-fourth was called because its number agreed with the number of stars on the flag of the Union, was behind none of its comrade regiments at the Post of Arkansas.  26th inf ia & reb


Iowa during the Civil War


A threat to General Grant

General McClernand - the final straw at Arkansas Post.

Grant knew that McClernand was inept, a politician not a general. Grant had fought with McClernand at Forts Henry and Donelson, and at the Battle of Shiloh. Grant knew that McClernand showed some good qualities, but was most eager for the praise and glory of battle, probably to enhance his political situation. During a post-battle conference after the attack on Fort Donelson, General Grant gave McClernand a long lecture on strategy in front of several other generals. Those present described Grant as having to restrain his anger during this detailed lecture. Thus began a clash of tempers that would affect both men in future operations.


General McClerland (left) and Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant (right) standing by a tree in front of a tent, Cold Harbor, Va., June 1864.

McClernand, meeting with Lincoln, carped about the closing of the Mississippi by a "small, indeed comparatively insignificant garrison at Vicksburg." He promised to open the great river with a 60,000-man army, and then either strike eastward for Atlanta or, depending on what the President wished, carry the war into Texas.

On October 9 1862 (six days after the photo belolw) President Lincoln informed Secretary Stanton and General Halleck that McClernand would be permitted to raise troops in the midwest and then lead an amphibious expedition against Vicksburg. Then, on the 20th, Stanton handed McClernand secret orders, endorsed by the President, stating that he approved of the expedition and wanted it "pushed forward with all possible dispatch."

A frustrated and angry McClernand wrote his friend Abraham Lincoln, either accident or intention has so conspired to thwart the authority of yourself and the Secretary of War and to betry me, but with your support I shall not despair overcoming both. Dec 30, 1962.


  • On the 15th day of October, 1862(6 days after Lincoln's orders), Iowa regiments were mustered into the United States service.

  • On the 22d of November 1862, the regiment embarked in boats for Helena, Arkansas.

  • On the 5th of December 1862 the regiment arrived at Helena and reported to Brig.-Gen. Steele, commanding the district of East Arkansas, and remained at Helena.

  • Left Helena on the 21 of December 1862 and joined Gen. Sherman in his unfortunate expedition against Vicksburg.

  • About the time we finished our operations at the mouth of the Yazoo, just named, Gen. John A. McClernand arrived and organized out of these disheartened troops the expedition against Arkansas Post.

  • McClernand's troops and Porter's fleet reached Arkansas Post on the evening of the 9th of January 1863.

  • In the operations of the 10th and 11th of January, 1863, they had a further taste of war, accompanied with the exulation of victory. The Thirty-Fourth took a leading part in the siege and capture of the fort. Its flag being one of the first placed within the breastworks of the rebels, by Major R. D. Kellogg.


Abraham Lincoln meeting with Allan Pinkerton and Maj. Gen. McClernard

Allan Pinkerton, President Lincoln, and Maj. Gen. John A. McClernand,
Antietam, Maryland,
Alexander Gardner, photographer,
October 3, 1862.

"General McClerland has fallen back to the White River, and gone on a wild-goose chase to the Post of Arkansas."
-- Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant, dispatch to Halleck, January 1863.

Gen. McClernard, of Illinois, who commanded the Union army, rode up in front of our company in our line near enough for us to get a good look at him.  He seemed very kind and was dignified, making quite a military appearance.  He looked up and down our line, and asked our captain: is this all the men you have?  When told it was, the General said: you have killed as many of our men as we have captured of yours.   THE BATTLE OF ARKANSAS POST    by L. J. Caraway, Granbury Texas Confederate Veteran ?March 1906

"Glorious! Glorious! ... My star is ever on the ascent."
-- Major General John A. McClerland, following the Battle of Arkansas Post, January 1863.

General McClernand, responsible for crowding men worse than a humane man would crowd cattle on a voyage to the shambles, was scarcely less blameworthy than those who tortured our prisoners at Andersonville. Colonel Clark

The first difficulty which he(Grant) encountered was a protest from General McClernand against his (Grant's) assumption of personal command. McClernand insisted that he was placed in this, as an independent command, by the President, and denied General Grant's right to supersede or control him. "As I am invested," he said to Grant under date of January 30th, "by order of the Secretary of War, indorsed by the President, and by order of the President communicated to you by the General-in-chief, with the command of all the forces operating on the Mississippi River, I claim that all orders affecting the condition or operations of those forces should pass through these headquarters.... If different views are entertained by you, then the question should be immediately referred to Washington, and one, or both of us, relieved."

Again, on the same day, he wrote General Grant a long letter, insisting upon his right to command, in which he says: "I repeat that I respectfully ask for an explanation of this seeming conflict of authority and orders, that I may be enabled to guide my action intelligently."

Next day General Grant answered him, saying, "The intention of General Order No. 13 is that I will take direct command of the Mississippi River expedition, which necessarily limits your command to the Thirteenth Army Corps."

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE MISSISSIPPI, Post Arkansas, January 16, 1863. - His Excellency ABRAHAM LINCOLN, President of the United States: - SIR: I believe my success here is gall and wormwood to the clique of West Pointers who have been persecuting me for months. How can you expect success when men controlling the military destinies of the country are more chagrined at the success of your volunteer officers than the very enemy beaten by the latter in battle? Something must be done to take the hand of oppression off citizen soldiers whose zeal for their country has prompted them to take up arms, or all will be lost....The Mississippi River being the only channel of communication, and that being infested with guerrillas, how can General Grant at a distance of 400 miles intelligently command the army with me? He cannot do it. It should be made an independent command, as both you and the Secretary of War, as I believe, originally intended. Very respectfully, your obedient servant, JOHN A. McCLERNAND.

As General McClernand gets ready to head back to Milliken's Bend, he is annoyed to discover that the nearby town of Napoleon is in flames. "Take measures immediately to extinguish the flames..., and find...the incendiaries." An embarrassed Sherman is unable to comply. "I went in person to direct the extinguishment of the fire....It was impossible....It is [also] impossible to find out the incendiary; not a clue can now be found." Sherman however, has other troubles on his mind. First and foremost, is his new commander John McClernand, who Sherman feels is "unfit and...consumed by an inordinate personal ambition." "Cump" is also dismayed to learn that Grant is unhappy with the expedition's recent venture into Arkansas.

HEADQUARTERS FIFTEENTH ARMY CORPS, On board Forest Queen, Napoleon, Ark., January 17, 1863. - Maj. Gen. U.S. GRANT, Commanding Department of Tennessee: - DEAR GENERAL: I take a liberty of writing you direct semi-officially....I infer from a remark made by General McClernand that you have disapproved the step. If I could believe that Banks had reduced Port Hudson and appeared at Vicksburg during our absence I would feel the force of your disapproval, but I feel so assured that we will again be at Vicksburg before Banks is there that I cannot think any bad result of this kind can occur....Could we have followed up, the capture of Little Rock would have been easy....As to forcing a passage at any point along the Yazoo [River] from its mouth to Haines' [Bluff] I doubt it. I wish you would come down and see. I only fear McClernand may attempt impossibilities....I am, with great respect, your obedient servant, W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding.

To this General McClernand responded on February 1st, saying: "I acquiesce in the order for the purpose of avoiding a conflict of authority in the presence of the enemy, but ... I protest against its competency and justice, and respectfully request that this my protest may be forwarded to the General-in-chief, and through him to the Secretary of War, and the President."

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE TENNESSEE, Before Vicksburg, February 1, 1863. - Col. J. C. KELTON, Assistant Adjutant-General, Washington, D.C.: - COLONEL: General McClernand was assigned to duty in this department, with instructions to me to assign him to the command of an army corps operating on the Mississippi River, and to give him the chief command, under my direction. This I did, but subsequently receiving authority to assign the command to any one I thought most competent, or to take it myself, I determined to at least be present with the expedition....But whether I do General McClernand injustice or not, I have not confidence in his ability as a soldier to conduct an expedition of the magnitude of this one successfully. In this opinion I have no doubt but I am borne out by a majority of the officers of the expedition....I respectfully submit this whole matter to the General-in-Chief and the President. Whatever the decision made by them, I will cheerfully submit to and give a hearty support. I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant, U.S. GRANT, Major-General.

General Grant duly forwarded the protest to the War Office, and his action was approved, and here the matter ended.

Upon hearing of his demotion, an outraged McClernand protested to Grant in writing. He also wrote to Lincoln, protesting, "Do not let me be clandestinely destroyed," and again requested the independent command originally promised to him. 

Lincoln replied, 

I have too many family controversies (so to speak) already on my hands to . . . take up another. You are now doing well for the country and well for yourself much better than you could possibly be if engaged in open war with General Halleck. Allow me to beg that for your sake, for my sake, and for the country’s sake, you give your whole attention to the better work.

McClernand reluctantly accepted his position under Grant. But he also knew that he was next in line for command and had hopes someday of replacing Grant. Meanwhile, he assumed his role as Commander, 13th Corps, Army of the Tennessee. The 13th Corps consisted of four divisions, the 9th Division under command of Brigadier General Peter J. Osterhaus, the 10th Division, commanded by Brigadier General Andrew J. Smith, the 12th Division, commanded by Brigadier General Alvin P. Hovey, and the 14th Division, under the command of Brigadier General Eugene A. Carr.

 Over view of General McClernand 

1812-1900, From, b. Breckinridge co., Ky. He was admitted 1832 to the Illinois bar attained a seat as a  Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives  from 1843-1851 and 1859-61. At the onset  of the Civil War he resigned from Congress, raised a brigade of Illinois volunteers, and was given the rank of brigadier general  in May of 1861. He fought at Fort Donelson  in Feb, 1862 and at the battle of Shiloh. Through political maneuvering he superseded William T. Sherman  on Jan. 2, 1863 taking command of the river expedition in the Vicksburg campaign . After McClernand upon Sherman's suggestion had successfully assaulted Arkansas Post, Ulysses S. Grant took  his command. During  Grant's successful advance on Vicksburg, McClernand led the 13th Corps, fighting at Port Gibson and Champion's Hill,  he was later  relieved for insubordination. His command was later restored in Feb, 1864, he then  resigned his commission in November and returned to the legal profession.



Ulysses S. Grant Chronology

General Order No. 13









At midnight I left Admiral Porter on his gunboat; he had his fleet ready and the night was propitious. I rode back to camp and gave orders for all to be ready by daybreak; but when daylight came I received a note from General Steele reporting that, before his boats had got up steam, the fog had settled down on the river so thick and impenetrable, that it was simply impossible to move; so the attempt had to be abandoned. The rain, too, began to fall, and the trees bore water-marks ten feet above our heads, so that I became convinced that the part of wisdom was to withdraw. I ordered the stores which had been landed to be reembarked on the boats, and preparations made for all the troops to regain their proper boats during the night of the 1st of January, 1863. From our camps at Chickasaw we could hear, the whistles of the trains arriving in Vicksburg, could see battalions of men marching up toward Haines's Bluff, and taking post at all points in our front. I was more than convinced that heavy reenforcements were coming to Vicksburg; whether from Pemberton at Grenada, Bragg in Tennessee, or from other sources, I could not tell; but at no point did the enemy assume the offensive; and when we drew off our rear-guard, on the morning of the 2d, they simply followed up the movement, timidly. Up to that moment I had not heard a word from General Grant since leaving Memphis; and most assuredly I had listened for days for the sound of his guns in the direction of Yazoo City. On the morning of January 2d, all my command were again afloat in their proper steamboats, when Admiral Porter told me that General McClernand had arrived at the mouth of the Yazoo in the steamboat Tigress, and that it was rumored he had come down to supersede me. Leaving my whole force where it was, I ran down to the month of the Yazoo in a small tug boat, and there found General McClernand, with orders from the War Department to command the expeditionary force on the Mississippi River. I explained what had been done, and what was the actual state of facts; that the heavy reenforcements pouring into Vicksburg must be Pemberton's army, and that General Grant must be near at hand. He informed me that General Grant was not coming at all; that his depot at Holly Springs had been captured by Van Dorn, and that he had drawn back from Coffeeville and Oxford to Holly Springs and Lagrange; and, further, that Quinby's division of Grant's army was actually at Memphis for stores when he passed down. This, then, fully explained how Vicksburg was being reenforced. I saw that any attempt on the place from the Yazoo was hopeless; and, with General McClernand's full approval, we all came out of the Yazoo, and on the 3d of January rendezvoused at Milliken's. Bend, about ten miles above. On the 4th General McClernand issued his General Order No. 1, assuming command of the Army of the Mississippi, divided into two corps; the first to be commanded by General Morgan, composed of his own and A. J. Smith's divisions; and the second, composed of Steele's and Stuart's divisions, to be commanded by me. Up to that time the army had been styled the right wing of (General Grant's) Thirteenth Army Corps, and numbered about thirty thousand men. The aggregate loss during the time of any command, mostly on the 29th of December, was one hundred and seventy-five killed, nine hundred and thirty wounded, and seven hundred and forty-three prisoners. According to Badeau, the rebels lost sixty-three killed, one hundred and thirty-four wounded, and ten prisoners. It afterward transpired that Van Dorn had captured Holly Springs on the 20th of December, and that General Grant fell back very soon after. General Pemberton, who had telegraphic and railroad communication with Vicksburg, was therefore at perfect liberty to reenforce the place with a garrison equal, if not superior, to my command. The rebels held high, commanding ground, and could see every movement of our men and boats, so that the only possible hope of success consisted in celerity and surprise, and in General Grant's holding all of Pemberton's army hard pressed meantime. General Grant was perfectly aware of this, and had sent me word of the change, but it did not reach me in time; indeed, I was not aware of it until after my assault of December 29th, and until the news was brought me by General McClernand as related. General McClernand was appointed to this command by President Lincoln in person, who had no knowledge of what was then going on down the river. Still, my relief, on the heels of a failure, raised the usual cry, at the North, of "repulse, failure, and bungling." There was no bungling on my part, for I never worked harder or with more intensity of purpose in my life; and General. Grant, long after, in his report of the operations of the siege of Vicksburg, gave us all full credit for the skill of the movement, and described the almost impregnable nature of the ground; and, although in all official reports I assumed the whole responsibility, I have ever felt that had General Morgan promptly and skillfully sustained the lead of Frank Blair's brigade on that day, we should have broken the rebel line, and effected a lodgment on the hills behind Vicksburg. General Frank Blair was outspoken and indignant against Generals Morgan and De Courcey at the time, and always abused me for assuming the whole blame. But, had we succeeded, we might have found ourselves in a worse trap, when General Pemberton was at full liberty to turn his whole force against us. While I was engaged at Chickasaw Bayou, Admiral Porter was equally busy in the Yazoo River, threatening the enemy's batteries at Haines's and Snyder's Bluffs above. In a sharp engagement he lost one of his best officers, in the person of Captain Gwin, United States Navy, who, though on board an ironclad, insisted on keeping his post on deck, where he was struck in the breast by a round shot, which carried away the muscle, and contused the lung within, from which he died a few days after. We of the army deplored his loss quite as much as his fellows of the navy, for he had been intimately associated with us in our previous operations on the Tennessee River, at Shiloh and above, and we had come to regard him as one of us.

On the 4th of January, 1863, our fleet of transports was collected at Milliken's Bend, about ten miles above the mouth of the Yazoo, Admiral Porter remaining with his gunboats at the Yazoo. General John A. McClernand was in chief command, General George W. Morgan commanded the First Corps and I the Second Corps of the Army of the Mississippi.

I had learned that a small steamboat, the Blue Wing, with a mail, towing coal-barges and loaded with ammunition, had left Memphis for the Yazoo, about the 20th of December, had been captured by a rebel boat which had come out of the Arkansas River, and had been carried up that river to Fort Hind

We had reports from this fort, usually called the "Post of Arkansas," about forty miles above the mouth, that it was held by about five thousand rebels, was an inclosed work, commanding the passage of the river, but supposed to be easy of capture from the rear. At that time I don't think General McClernand had any definite views or plays of action. If so, he did not impart them to me. He spoke, in general terms of opening the navigation of the Mississippi, "cutting his way to the sea," etc., etc., but the modus operandi was not so clear. Knowing full well that we could not carry on operations against Vicksburg as long as the rebels held the Post of Arkansas, whence to attack our boats coming and going without convoy, I visited him on his boat, the Tigress, took with me a boy who had been on the Blue Wing, and had escaped, and asked leave to go up the Arkansas, to clear out the Post. He made various objections, but consented to go with me to see Admiral Porter about it. We got up steam in the Forest Queen, during the night of January 4th, stopped at the Tigress, took General McClernand on board, and proceeded down the river by night to the admiral's boat, the Black Hawk, lying in the mouth of the Yazoo. It must have been near midnight, and Admiral Porter was in deshabille. We were seated in his cabin and I explained my views about Arkansas Post, and asked his cooperation. He said that he was short of coal, and could not use wood in his iron-clad boats. Of these I asked for two, to be commanded by Captain Shirk or Phelps, or some officer of my acquaintance. At that moment, poor Gwin lay on his bed, in a state-room close by, dying from the effect of the cannon shot received at Haines's Bluff, as before described. Porter's manner to McClernand was so curt that I invited him out into a forward-cabin where he had his charts, and asked him what he meant by it. He said that "he did not like him;" that in Washington, before coming West, he had been introduced to him by President Lincoln, and he had taken a strong prejudice against him. I begged him, for the sake of harmony, to waive that, which he promised to do. Returning to the cabin, the conversation was resumed, and, on our offering to tow his gunboats up the river to save coal, and on renewing the request for Shirk to command the detachment, Porter said, "Suppose I go along myself?" I answered, if he would do so, it would insure the success of the enterprise. At that time I supposed General McClernand would send me on this business, but he concluded to go himself, and to take his whole force. Orders were at once issued for the troops not to disembark at Milliken's Bend, but to remain as they were on board the transports. My two divisions were commanded--the First, by Brigadier-General Frederick Steele, with three brigades, commanded by Brigadier-Generals F. P. Blair, C. E. Hooey, and J. M. Thayer; the Second, by Brigadier-General D. Stuart, with two brigades, commanded by Colonels G. A. Smith and T. Kilby Smith.

The whole army, embarked on steamboats convoyed by the gunboats, of which three were iron-clads, proceeded up the Mississippi River to the mouth of White River, which we reached January 8th. On the next day we continued up White River to the "Cut-off;" through this to the Arkansas, and up the Arkansas to Notrib's farm, just below Fort Hindman. Early the next morning we disembarked. Stuart's division, moving up the river along the bank, soon encountered a force of the enemy intrenched behind a line of earthworks, extending from the river across to the swamp. I took Steele's division, marching by the flank by a road through the swamp to the firm ground behind, and was moving up to get to the rear of Fort Hindman, when General McClernand overtook me, with the report that the rebels had abandoned their first position, and had fallen back into the fort. By his orders, we counter-marched, recrossed the swamp, and hurried forward to overtake Stuart, marching for Fort Hindman. The first line of the rebels was about four miles below Fort Hindman, and the intervening space was densely, wooded and obscure, with the exception of some old fields back of and close to the fort. During the night, which was a bright moonlight one, we reconnoitred close up, and found a large number of huts which had been abandoned, and the whole rebel force had fallen back into and about the fort. Personally I crept up to a stump so close that I could hear the enemy hard at work, pulling down houses, cutting with axes, and building intrenchments. I could almost hear their words, and I was thus listening when, about 4 A. M. the bugler in the rebel camp sounded as pretty a reveille as I ever listened to.

When daylight broke it revealed to us a new line of parapet straight across the peninsula, connecting Fort Hindman, on the Arkansas River bank, with the impassable swamp about a mile to its left or rear. This peninsula was divided into two nearly equal parts by a road. My command had the ground to the right of the road, and Morgan's corps that to the left. McClernand had his quarters still on the Tigress, back at Notrib's farm, but moved forward that morning (January 11th) to a place in the woods to our rear, where he had a man up a tree, to observe and report the movements.

There was a general understanding with Admiral Porter that he was to attack the fort with his three ironclad gunboats directly by its water-front, while we assaulted by land in the rear. About 10 a.m. I got a message from General McClernand, telling me where he could be found, and asking me what we were waiting for. I answered that we were then in close contact with the enemy, viz., about five or six hundred yards off; that the next movement must be a direct assault; that this should be simultaneous along the whole line; and that I was waiting to hear from the gunboats; asking him to notify Admiral Porter that we were all ready. In about half an hour I heard the clear ring of the navy-guns; the fire gradually increasing in rapidity and advancing toward the fort. I had distributed our field-guns, and, when I judged the time had come, I gave the orders to begin. The intervening ground between us and the enemy was a dead level, with the exception of one or two small gullies, and our men had no cover but the few standing trees and some logs on the ground. The troops advanced well under a heavy fire, once or twice falling to the ground for a sort of rest or pause. Every tree had its group of men, and behind each log was a crowd of sharp-shooters, who kept up so hot a fire that the rebel troops fired wild. The fire of the fort proper was kept busy by the gunboats and Morgan's corps, so that all my corps had to encounter was the direct fire from the newly-built parapet across the peninsula. This line had three sections of field-guns, that kept things pretty lively, and several round-shot came so near me that I realized that they were aimed at my staff; so I dismounted, and made them scatter.

As the gunboats got closer up I saw their flags actually over the parapet of Fort Hindman, and the rebel gunners scamper out of the embrasures and run down into the ditch behind. About the same time a man jumped up on the rebel parapet just where the road entered, waving a large white flag, and numerous smaller white rags appeared above the parapet along the whole line. I immediately ordered, "Cease firing!" and sent the same word down the line to General Steele, who had made similar progress on the right, following the border of he swamp. I ordered my aide, Colonel Dayton, to jump on his horse and ride straight up to the large white flag, and when his horse was on the parapet I followed with the rest of my staff. All firing had ceased, except an occasional shot away to the right, and one of the captains (Smith) of the Thirteenth Regulars was wounded after the display of the white flag. On entering the line, I saw that our muskets and guns had done good execution; for there was a horse-battery, and every horse lay dead in the traces. The fresh-made parapet had been knocked down in many places, and dead men lay around very thick. I inquired who commanded at that point, and a Colonel Garland stepped up and said that he commanded that brigade. I ordered him to form his brigade, stack arms, hang the belts on the muskets, and stand waiting for orders. Stuart's division had been halted outside the parapet. I then sent Major Hammond down the rebel line to the right, with orders to stop Steele's division outside, and to have the other rebel brigade stack its arms in like manner, and to await further orders. I inquired of Colonel Garland who commanded in chief, and he said that General Churchill did, and that he was inside the fort. I then rode into the fort, which was well built, with good parapets, drawbridge, and ditch, and was an inclosed work of four bastions. I found it full of soldiers and sailors, its parapets toward the river well battered in, and Porter's gunboats in the river, close against the fort, with their bows on shore. I soon found General Churchill, in conversation with Admiral Porter and General A. J. Smith, and about this time my adjutant-general, Major J. H. Hammond, came and reported that General Deshler, who commanded the rebel brigade facing and opposed to Steele, had refused to stack arms and surrender, on the ground that he had received no orders from his commanding general; that nothing separated this brigade from Steele's men except the light parapet, and that there might be trouble there at any moment. I advised General Churchill to send orders at once, because a single shot might bring the whole of Steele's division on Deshler's brigade, and I would not be responsible for the consequences; soon afterward, we both concluded to go in person. General Churchill had the horses of himself and staff in the ditch; they were brought in, and we rode together to where Garland was standing, and Churchill spoke to him in an angry tone, "Why did you display the white flag!" Garland replied, "I received orders to do so from one of your staff." Churchill denied giving such an order, and angry words passed between them. I stopped them, saying that it made little difference then, as they were in our power. We continued to ride down the line to its extreme point, where we found Deshler in person, and his troops were still standing to the parapet with their muskets in hand. Steele'e men were on the outside. I asked Deshler: "What does this mean? You are a regular officer, and ought to know better." He answered, snappishly, that "he had received no orders to surrender;" when General Churchill said: "You see, sir, that we are in their power, and you may surrender." Deshler turned to his staff-officers and ordered them to repeat the command to "stack arms," etc., to the colonels of his brigade. I was on my horse, and he was on foot. Wishing to soften the blow of defeat, I spoke to him kindly, saying that I knew a family of Deshlers in Columbus, Ohio, and inquired if they were relations of his. He disclaimed any relation with people living north of the Ohio, in an offensive tone, and I think I gave him a piece of my mind that he did not relish. He was a West Point graduate, small but very handsome, and was afterward killed in battle. I never met him again.

Returning to the position where I had first entered the rebel line, I received orders from General McClernand, by one of his staff, to leave General A. J. Smith in charge of the fort and prisoners, and with my troops to remain outside. The officer explained that the general was then on the Tigress, which had moved up from below, to a point in the river just above the fort; and not understanding his orders, I concluded to go and see him in person. My troops were then in possession of two of the three brigades which composed the army opposed to us; and my troops were also in possession of all the ground of the peninsula outside the "fort-proper" (Hindman). I found General McClernand on the Tigress, in high spirits. He said repeatedly: "Glorious! glorious! my star is ever in the ascendant!" He spoke complimentarily of the troops, but was extremely jealous of the navy. He said: "I'll make a splendid report;" "I had a man up a tree;" etc. I was very hungry and tired, and fear I did not appreciate the honors in reserve for us, and asked for something to eat and drink. He very kindly ordered something to be brought, and explained to me that by his "orders" he did not wish to interfere with the actual state of facts; that General A. J. Smith would occupy "Fort Hindman," which his troops had first entered, and I could hold the lines outside, and go on securing the prisoners and stores as I had begun. I returned to the position of Garland's brigade and gave the necessary orders for marching all the prisoners, disarmed, to a pocket formed by the river and two deep gullies just above the fort, by which time it had become quite dark. After dark another rebel regiment arrived from Pine Bluff, marched right in, and was also made prisoners. There seemed to be a good deal of feeling among the rebel officers against Garland, who asked leave to stay with me that night, to which I of course consented. Just outside the rebel parapet was a house which had been used for a hospital. I had a room cleaned out, and occupied it that night. A cavalry-soldier lent me his battered coffee-pot with some coffee and scraps of hard bread out of his nose-bag; Garland and I made some coffee, ate our bread together, and talked politics by the fire till quite late at night, when we lay down on straw that was saturated with the blood of dead or wounded men. The next day the prisoners were all collected on their boats, lists were made out, and orders given for their transportation to St. Louis, in charge of my aide, Major Sanger. We then proceeded to dismantle and level the forts, destroy or remove the stores, and we found in the magazine the very ammunition which had been sent for us in the Blue Wing, which was secured and afterward used in our twenty-pound Parrott guns.

On the 13th we reembarked; the whole expedition returned out of the river by the direct route down the Arkansas during a heavy snow-storm, and rendezvoused in the Mississippi, at Napoleon, at the mouth of the Arkansas. Here General McClernand told me he had received a letter from General Grant at Memphis, who disapproved of our movement up the Arkansas; but that communication was made before he had learned of our complete success. When informed of this, and of the promptness with which it had been executed, he could not but approve. We were then ordered back to Milliken's Bend, to await General Grant's arrival in person. We reached Milliken's Bend January 21st.

McClernand's report of the capture of Fort Hindman almost ignored the action of Porter's fleet altogether. This was unfair, for I know that the admiral led his fleet in person in the river-attack, and that his guns silenced those of Fort Hindman, and drove the gunners into the ditch.

The aggregate loss in my corps at Arkansas Post was five hundred and nineteen, viz., four officers and seventy-five men killed, thirty-four officers and four hundred and six men wounded. I never knew the losses in the gunboat fleet, or in Morgan's corps; but they must have been less than in mine, which was more exposed. The number of rebel dead must have been nearly one hundred and fifty; of prisoners, by actual count, we secured four thousand seven hundred and ninety-one, and sent them north to St. Louis.






Vicksburg is the Key!

Spring 1863

At  the time of the Civil War, the Mississippi River was the single most important economic feature of the continent; the very lifeblood of America. Upon the secession of the southern states, Confederate forces closed the river to navigation, which threatened to strangle northern commercial interests.

President Abraham Lincoln told his civil and military leaders, "See what a lot of land these fellows hold, of which Vicksburg is the key! The war can never be brought to a close until that key is in our pocket.... We can take all the northern ports of the Confederacy, and they can defy us from Vicksburg."  Lincoln assured his listeners that "I am acquainted with that region and know what I am talking about, and as valuable as New Orleans will be to us, Vicksburg will be more so."

It was imperative for the administration in Washington to regain control of the lower Mississippi River, thereby opening that important avenue of commerce enabling the rich agricultural produce of the Northwest to reach world markets.

lincoln.jpg (36234 bytes)
Photo courtesy of National Archives

It would also split the South in two, sever a vital Confederate supply line, achieve a major objective of the Anaconda Plan, and effectively seal the doom of Richmond. In the spring of 1863, Major General Ulysses S. Grant launched his Union Army of the Tennessee on a campaign to pocket Vicksburg and provide Mr. Lincoln with the key to victory.



Time Line of The Civil War, 1863


Civil War Veteran 

Harvey John Slutts 

Photo courtesy of  Diane Hacker






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Arkansas Post, Arkansas
January 10-11, 1863

Arkansas Post, Ark., Jan. 10-11, 1863. 13th and 15th
Army Corps and Part of the Mississippi Squadron. After the
defeat of Sherman at Chickasaw bluffs, in the last days of
Dec., 1862, he was superseded in command of the river
expedition by Maj.-Gen. J. A. McClernand. One of the first
acts of the new commander was to carry out the orders of the
war department and divide the army into two corps, designated
the 13th and 15th. The former, commanded by Brig.-Gen. George
W. Morgan, consisted of Steele's and Stuart's (formerly M. L.
Smith's) divisions. The latter, under Sherman, was composed
of the divisions of A. J. Smith and Osterhaus. On the 5th the
entire force left Milliken's Bend, on board the transports,
accompanied by the gunboats DeKalb, Cincinnati, Louisville,
Glide Rattler, Lexington and Black Hawk, and the ram Monarch
for the reduction of Fort Hindman, at Arkansas Post, on the
Arkansas river. McClernand's principal reason for this move
was that armed detachments from the fort could easily descend
to the mouth of the Arkansas, where they could seriously
interfere with the opening of the Mississippi.

The village of Arkansas Post occupies the first high
ground to be found on ascending the river, and the fort stood
on the bluff, where it commanded an unobstructed view of the
river for a mile each way. It was a square, full-bastioned
work about 100 yards on a side. It had a parapet 18 feet
across, was surrounded by a ditch 20 feet wide and 8 feet
deep, was provided by strong casemates, and well protected by
outlying lines of rifle-pits. The armament included one 8-
inch and two 9-inch columbiads and 14 field guns, and the
garrison numbered about 5,000 men under the command of Brig.-
Gen. T. J. Churchill. The gunboats, followed by the
transports, proceeded up the Arkansas river and late on the
afternoon of the 9th halted about 3 miles below the fort.
During the night and the morning of the 10th the troops were
disembarked, and at 11 o'clock Sherman's corps began the
advance on the fort. Steele's division, after skirmishing
with the enemy's pickets a while, encountered a swamp, and in
passing around it lost the road and did not rejoin the corps
until the following morning. Stuart moved up the river road
to the first line of rifle-pits reaching that point in time to
see the Confederates in full retreat toward the fort, the line
of defenses having been subjected to an enfilading fire from
the gunboats. Lindsey's brigade of Osterhaus' division, with
four 10-pounder Parrott guns and a company of cavalry, was
landed at Fletcher's and moved across the bend to a position
opposite the fort, to cut off retreat in that direction. De
Courcy's brigade was left to guard the transports at the
landing, and the rest of Morgan's corps was united with that
of Sherman for the general assault on the fort.

The night was passed without fires or tents and by 10:30
a. m. on the 11th everything was ready for the attack. The
gunboats moved up to within a few hundred yards of the fort
and opened fire with the entire armament of 66 guns. As soon
as the sound of firing from the boats was heard by the land
forces the 45 pieces of field artillery were also brought into
action, and for the next half hour the roar of cannon was
almost deafening. At the end of that time the guns of the
fort were silenced, the infantry advanced with Steele on the
right, then Stuart, next A. J. Smith, and Sheldon's brigade of
Osterhaus, division on the extreme left. By 1:30 p. m. four
brigades had made their way across a narrow space of cleared
ground and found a lodgment in a ravine, within short musket
range of the Confederate lines. The artillery was then pushed
forward, Lindsey's guns on the opposite side of the river
getting a position from which an oblique fire could be poured
into the rifle pits, carrying away a battle flag and killing a
number of men. About 3 o'clock the lines were reformed to
some extent and preparations made for a general and final
assault, when suddenly white flags appeared at several places
above the ramparts. Orders were at once given to cease
firing, though the Union troops were so disposed as to
preclude all possibilities of escape, after which Sherman and
Morgan rode into the fort and demanded a surrender. One of
the Confederate brigade commanders refused the demand and
asseverated that the white flags had been displayed without
authority. Churchill, however, took a more philosophical view
of the situation and, as the Federals were already practically
in possession of the fort, told his subordinate that there was
nothing left but to comply with the demand. He then sullenly
ordered his men to stack arms, and at 4:30 formally turned
over the fort to McClernand. The Confederate loss was about
200 in killed and wounded, 4,791 were sent north as prisoners,
while the fort, with all its stores of arms and ammunition, 17
pieces of artillery, 7 stand of colors, including the garrison
flag, 563 horses and mules, and a large number of wagons fell
into the hands of the victorious assailants. The Union loss
was 134 killed, 898 wounded and 29 missing.

Source: The Union Army, vol. 5


Arkansas Post  

Other Names: Fort Hindman

Location: Arkansas County

Campaign: Operations against Vicksburg (1862-1863)

Date(s): January 9-11, 1863

Principal Commanders: Rear Adm. David D. Porter and Maj. Gen. John A. McClernand [US]; Brig. Gen. Thomas J. Churchill [CS]

Forces Engaged: Army of the Mississippi [US]; Fort Hindman Garrison [CS]

Estimated Casualties: 6,547 total (US 1,047; CS 5,500)

Description: From Fort Hindman, at Arkansas Post, Confederates had been disrupting Union shipping on the Mississippi River. Maj. Gen. John McClernand, therefore, undertook a combined force movement on Arkansas Post to capture it. Union boats began landing troops near Arkansas Post in the evening of January 9, 1863. The troops started up river towards Fort Hindman. Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman’s corps overran Rebel trenches, and the enemy retreated to the protection of the fort and adjacent rifle-pits. Rear Adm. David Porter, on the 10th, moved his fleet towards Fort Hindman and bombarded it withdrawing at dusk. Union artillery fired on the fort from artillery positions across the river on the 11th, and the infantry moved into position for an attack. Union ironclads commenced shelling the fort and Porter’s fleet passed it to cutoff any retreat. As a result of this envelopment, and the attack by McClernand’s troops, the Confederate command surrendered in the afternoon. Although Union losses were high and the victory did not contribute to the capture of Vicksburg, it did eliminate one more impediment to Union shipping on the Mississippi.

Result(s): Union victory

CWSAC Reference #: AR006

Preservation Priority: IV.1 (Class C)

National Park Unit: Arkansas Post National Memorial


In 1686, Henri de Tonti established a trading post known as "Poste de Arkansea" at the Quapaw village of Osotouy. It was the first semi-permanent French settlement in the lower Mississippi River Valley. The establishment of the Post was the first step in a long struggle between France, Spain, and England over the interior of the North American continent.

Over the years, the Post relocated as necessary due to flooding from the Arkansas River, but its position always served of strategic importance for the French, Spanish, American, and Confederate military. Spanish soldiers and British partisans clashed here in the 1783 "Colbert Incident," the only Revolutionary War action in Arkansas.

Arkansas Post became part of the United States during the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. By 1819, the post was a thriving river port and the largest city in the region and selected the capital of the Arkansas Territory.

During the Civil War, Confederate troops tried to maintain tactical control of the confluence of the two rivers, and in 1862 they constructed a massive earthen fortification known as Fort Hindman. In January 1863 Union troops destroyed the fort and adjacent river port town, ensuring control of the Arkansas River.

Today, the memorial and museum commemorate the multi-layered and complex history of the site. Located on a peninsula bordered by the Arkansas River and two backwaters, the site offers excellent fishing and wildlife watching opportunities.



Capital of Arkansas Territory - 1819 to 1821
Arkansas State Park - February 27, 1929
National Historic Landmark - October 9, 1960
National Memorial - July 6, 1960
National Register of Historic Places - October 15, 1966


Arkansas Post National Memorial  

[Federal Register: June 30, 1999 (Volume 64, Number 125)]
[Page 35180-35181]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Arkansas Post National Memorial

AGENCY: National Park Service, DOI.

ACTION: Notice of Intent to prepare a General Management Plan and 
Environmental Impact Statement for Arkansas Post National Memorial, 


SUMMARY: The National Park Service (NPS) will prepare a General 
Management Plan (GMP) and an associated Environmental Impact Statement 
(EIS) for Arkansas Post National Memorial, Arkansas, in accordance with 
section 102(2)(C) of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 
(NEPA). This notice is being furnished as required by NEPA Regulations 
40 CFR 1501.7.
    To facilitate sound planning and environmental assessment, the NPS 
intends to gather information necessary for the preparation of the EIS, 
and to obtain suggestions and information from other agencies and the 
public on the scope of issues to be addressed in the EIS. Comments and 
participation in this scoping process are invited.
    Participation in the planning process will be encouraged and 
facilitated by various means, including newsletters and open houses. 
The NPS will conduct a series of public scoping meetings to explain the 
planning process and to solicit opinion about issues to address in the 
GMP/EIS. Notification of all such meetings will be announced in the 
local press and in NPS newsletters or other mailings.

ADDRESSES: Written comments and information concerning the scope of the 
EIS and other matters, or requests to be added to the project mailing 
list should be directed to: Mr. Ed Wood, Superintendent, Arkansas Post 
National Memorial, 1741 Old Post Road, Gillett, Arkansas 72055. 
Telephone: 870-548-2207. E-mail: ed__wood@nps.gov

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Superintendent, Arkansas Post National 
Memorial, at the address and telephone number above.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Arkansas Post National Memorial is a 
commemorative unit of the National Park System located in the 
southeastern quadrant of Arkansas near the confluence of the Arkansas 
and Mississippi Rivers. The site

[[Page 35181]]

commemorates a series of events related to the establishment of a 
French trading post at the Quapaw Indian village of Osotuoy in 1686.
    In accordance with NPS park planning policy, the GMP will ensure 
the Memorial has a clearly defined direction for resource preservation 
and visitor use. It will be developed in consultation with servicewide 
program managers, interested parties, and the general public. It will 
be based on an adequate analysis of existing and potential resource 
conditions and visitor experiences, environmental impacts, and costs of 
alternative courses of action.
    The environmental review of the GMP/EIS for Historic Site will be 
conducted in accordance with requirements of the NEPA (42 U.S.C. 
Sec. 4371 et seq.), NEPA regulations (40 CFR 1500-1508), other 
appropriate Federal regulations, and National Park Service procedures 
and policies for compliance with those regulations.
    The National Park Service estimates the draft GMP and draft EIS 
will be available to the public by the summer of 2000.

    Dated: June 21, 1999.
William W. Schenk,
Regional Director.
[FR Doc. 99-16580 Filed 6-29-99; 8:45 am]


Arkansas Post National Monument

In 1686, Henri de Tonti established a trading post known as Poste de Arkansea at the Quapaw village of Osotuoy. It was the first semi-permanent French settlement in the lower Mississippi River Valley. The establishment of the post was the first step in a long struggle between France, Spain, and England over the interior of the North American continent.

The site of that trading post moved seven times during its history due to flooding from the Arkansas River. Because of its strategic location near the confluence of the Arkansas and Mississippi Rivers, Arkansas Post was the location of French, and later Spanish forts. In 1783, the Colbert Incident, the only Revolutionary War skirmish in Arkansas, occurred at Arkansas Post.

In 1800 control transfered again to France and in 1803, Arkansas Post became part of the United States during the Louisiana Purchase. By 1819, the post was a thriving river port and the largest city in the region important enough to be selected the capital of the Arkansas Territory. During the Civil War, Confederate troops tried to maintain tactical control of the confluence of the two rivers, and in 1862 they constructed an earthen fortification known as Fort Hindman. In January, 1863, Union troops destroyed the fort and adjacent river port town, ensuring control of the Arkansas River. Today, the park and museum commemorate the complex history of the site. Located on a peninsula bordered by the Arkansas River and two backwaters, the site offers excellent fishing and wildlife watching opportunities.



Sherman's failure at Chickasaw Bluffs, the recent disaster of the Union Army at Fredericksburg, and the temporary withdrawal of Grant from marching on Vicksburg as a result of the destruction of his supply base at Holly Springs, made it necessary that the Union forces score a victory for both morale and political purposes. Accordingly, Sherman and Porter decided to attack Fort Hindman or Arkansas Post as it was known. This fort was located approximately fifty miles up the Arkansas River from its confluence with the Mississippi. Fendall and Strausz were engaged on producing maps of the state of Arkansas prior to this expedition and both accompanied this expedition on the BLACK HAWK. Just prior to the attack, Fendall expressed his anger to Gerdes: "... We have heretofore done no field work. The Admiral gives all of his orders in that way to Strausz. He seems to think that I am a draughtsman and keeps me copying maps. But I am going to take out the planetable next chance in spite of Strausz, Adm. or everybody else."(48)

Strausz once again is sent out by Porter on the afternoon of January 10 with a group of marines to make a reconnaissance of the fort which was only partially successful. In Strausz's report to Gerdes,(49) however, he gives an inkling of the source of his charm and ability to stay on Porter's good side. He reports: "The marines and I however claim the credit of having been the first to lead to the taking of some rifle pits at which we had been shelling all day, the Adml was quite amused when I reported the result of our expedition...." On January 11, 1863, the gunboats began firing on the fort at 2 P.M. and "at 3 P.M. the water batteries were silenced and the BLACK HAWK gallantly passed the fort.... by 4 1/2 P.M. the forts surrendered to the gunboats."

Strausz must have been somewhat of a bon vivant as he advises Gerdes, whom he still believed would eventually report to Porter, to bring out supplies of "every kind," but in particular, "I think it would be very desirable to have either whisky or Hochstadtlers Bitters for we are all suffering from the want of some. Alcoholic liquors, if it would not be too much trouble for you, I would beg you to bring a few gallons or half doz. bottles of bitters on my account...."

In a subsequent letter to Gerdes,(50) Fendall understated the battle: "We lay off a couple of miles and knocked fits out of the [fort]. After a couple of afternoon's amusement of this kind the rebels gave themselves up...."(51) Fendall, who was all business, requested no luxuries from Gerdes. He wanted for Gerdes to either send or bring with him "a few pair of cotton gloves for plane table use" so as to keep his field sheets clean as he wanted to "make a survey in the vicinity of Vicksburg." Fendall, while at Fort Hindman, made a survey of the Confederate works which was sent off to the Secretary of the Navy and Superintendent Bache. Bache, still unsure of Fendall, commented: "Fendall has truly done well, if there are no drawbacks."(52)

Fendall finally got his chance to do real field work upon return from the Arkansas Post expedition. By late January, he was working along the Mississippi in front of Vicksburg producing a map of the river which was among the most beautiful of Civil War combat maps. This map was produced under the very noses of the Confederates. Fendall reported to Gerdes February 1, 1863: "Yesterday, I was three miles beyond our pickets and within 600 yds of the enemy's batteries. I did not stop work till the cannon balls plowed up the ground within 20 feet of us. One of my men had his hat blown off by the wind of a ball and one struck the levee just under my plane table. I reckon about all of the inhabitants of Vicksburg were out after me. We (our pickets) captured one captain who was heading off my retreat and I had a conversation with a boat which approached within 100 yards of my table. Tomorrow the Admiral will send a large force with me...."

Although Bache had previously had his concerns about Fendall's blunt nature, he was delighted to receive a copy of this letter from Gerdes, and he used "extracts from which I have at once sent to some of our friends in the House.... I shall write thro' you to Mr. Fendall. He is doing admirably. How timely these things are! Our bill is before the House and will soon be up for discussion...."(53) Bache was always looking for information to assist him in his yearly budget wars with Congress. Fendall, who was the most unlikely of individuals to assist in political battles, provided him with fodder which would aid in passing the Coast Survey budget uncontested in Congress for 1863-1864.



Little Rock Arkansas 
     June 18th 1864

Dear Brother I take my seat this afternoon to write you a few lines in......

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