Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Last Challenge in Arkansas

The action at Dardanelle fought January 14th 1865 along the Arkansas River was a last shot by the Confederacy to break up the Union dominance in the area.

Confederate Colonel William H Brooks led a force of about 1,500 made up of his own cavalry and cavalry of Colonels Ras Stirman and Robert C Newton to the Arkansas River on January 14th 1865.  The point being to gage the strength of the Union troops garrisoned along the river.  On that same day a Union detachment of 276 men from the 1st Iowa and 3rd Wisconsin Cavalry under the command of Major J D Jenks disembarked from Union steamboats to occupy the earthworks at Dardanelle.

At about 2 pm Brooks made an attack against Jenks force at Dardanelle.  Jenks used the two pieces of artillery in the stockade and concentrated his men.  The Brooks’ cavalry with only one piece of artillery engaged the Union troops for four hours before withdrawing.

The Union side reported about 29 casualties, and the Confederated listing about 81.  Union Sergeant William Ellis of the 3rd was awarded the Medal of Honor for his service at Dardanelle.  This marked the last serious Confederate challenge in the Arkansas River area of Union control.

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