Clark County Arkansas Genealogy Trails
Skirmish at Bozeman's house
This skirmish was about four miles from Arkadelphia on the old Military Road which is Highways 26 and 51. On April 1, 1864, Confederate General Joseph O. Shelby caught up with and attacked the rear guard of Union General Frederick Steele's army. Union General Samuel A. Rice, in charge of the supply, pontoon, and brigade trains, rushed to support the troops under attack. After eight long and bloody hours of savage fighting, the opponents being a "brigade against a division," darkness fell and the battle ended. Nearly 400 prisoners were taken. There were many dead and wounded. "Rice, shot twice, hatless and swordless, finally reached the main army, swearing he fought nothing but devils who rode horses upon his bayonets, and shot his infantry in square with revolvers."
Skirmish at Spoonville (Hollywood)
This battle was two miles south of Hollywood on Terre Noire and Gentry Creeks, now Highway 26. On April 2, 1864, General Joseph Shelby attacked the Union Army from the rear and Generals Marmaduke and William L. Cabell came from Antoine, at Gentry Creek, and attacked the front. Marmaduke and Cabell withdrew to Antoine to set up on Wolf Creek to attack the Union forces as they crossed the Little Missouri River on their way to Washington. However, the Federals turned at Halfway on the Military Road and headed toward Camden.
Battle of the Bees, Okolona
This took place one mile north of Okolona. On April 3, 1864, General Joseph Shelby caught up with General Samuel Rice's Union troops. They engaged in a skirmish in a pecan orchard during a severe thunderstorm. Along with the other damage due to hail and high winds, several beehives were overturned. The insects first attacked the Confederates, then turned their attention to the Union army. Both armies left the battlefield to their stinging tormentors.
Skirmish at Elkins' Ferry
This skirmish took place three or four miles south of Okolona. General Joseph Shelby had fallen back at the Little Missouri River and moved on the Washington road to Antoine. He crossed the river there to join Marmaduke and Cabell, informing them that the Federals planned to cross at Elkins' Ferry. The Rebels crossed Wolf Creek on the south side of the Little Missouri, skirmished a while, then set up at Elkins' Ferry to await the Federals. Union Colonel Drake described the heavy skirmishing on April 3, and 4, 1864, as "very warm, and my men were falling wounded on my right and left." He commented that the Rebel forces "in one continuous line rushed upon us, firing volleys of musketry and yelling like demons." After many hours of intense fighting, the Federals finally gained control of the ferry crossing. The Union Army camped there and constructed bridges and corduroy roads across the river and bottoms. These were all afloat by April 7, due to heavy rains.
(The Elkins' Ferry battle site is part of the Camden Expedition National Historic Landmark.)
Source: Clark County Historical Association, financed in part with tax funds from the State of Arkansas and the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program.