Hard times continue in Pocahontas and Randolph County, as bands of Confederate guerrillas and unattached jayhawkers control most of north Arkansas late in the civil war. We learned in Pocahontas and the Civil War #9 that north of Pocahontas there was almost nothing left for an army, or the civilians, to live on. But we learn in the report below that south of Pocahontas there was still plenty of food and supplies to steal!
LITTLE ROCK, April 7, 1864 (Received 10th.)
To: Major-General ROSECRANS, Commanding Department of the Missouri:
GENERAL: Your dispatch is received. I thank you. General Steele left here the 24th ultimo [the 24th of last month], and is now at or near Camden.
The country north of White River is infested with bands of guerrillas under McRae, numbering in all near 1,200 men under different local leaders. They depredate [to ransack or plunder] in the counties of Searcy, Van Buren, Independence, Jackson, and up toward Pocahontas, and in the country between the Arkansas and White Rivers there are several bands. I have no force with which I can successfully act against them. There is scarcely a sufficient number at Helena to protect the post. White River is navigable to Jacksonport at all times. From that point to Pocahontas is 65 miles, with good roads, and through a section with plenty of forage.
I concentrated quite a force last week and sent an expedition up White River against McRae’s force (numbering about 600 men), under Colonel Andrews, who forced him to fight, though numbering only 200 men, and really gave him a good thrashing, killing and wounding 125 and occupying Pocahontas.
You could send subsistence stores up the White River, if troops can be stationed at Jacksonport. My garrison is at Batesville, 35 miles above. I will rejoice to move with you and once more be under your command. I think now of seizing horses and mounting men, and make an attempt to disperse or capture McRae’s force. I have a small force at Fayetteville.