Battle of Reed's Bridge - Aug 27,1863

Civil War Battlefield, Historical Preservation, Arkansas Heritage, Campaign on Little Rock, Military Road, Trail of Tears, ReEnactment, Indian Movement

        Biography of Reed's Bridge Commanders

Sterling Price, Confederate (Commander)

Price was born in Prince Edward City, Virginia, in 1809 and moved to the frontier state of Missouri at age 21. There he became a successful slave owning tobacco planter and established a strong political career. He served as a state legislator from 1836-1838 and 1840-1844, followed by a term as congressman, 1844-1846. He was elected governor of Missouri in 1852 and held that office until 1856. Price's military career included the post of military governor of New Mexico during the Mexican War, in which he rose to brigadier general.

At the outbreak of Civil War, Price was commander of Missouri state troops. He led the Missouri militia at Wilson's Creek, and Elkhorn Tavern in May 1861. After capturing a large Union garrison at Lexington, he was promoted to major general in March 1862. Price commanded troops at Pea Ridge, Arkansas, and at Iuka and Corinth, Mississippi, and met defeat at all three battles. Price had opposed General Van Dorn's plan to attack Corinth, and suggested they wait until they could be joined by more Confederate forces. Following the defeat at Corinth, Price again argued with Van Dorn, who wanted to back track and try to take the town a second time. This time Price, along with Dabney Maury, was able to convince Van Dorn to retreat across the Hatchie River. Following the engagement at Davis Bridge, Price led the army over the Hatchie River at Crumm's Mill.

Price commanded troops in an unsuccessful attempt to retake Helena, Arkansas in July of 1863 and was also forced to surrender Little Rock in August. Price is best known for his 1864 attack of Missouri in which he led the Army of Missouri in an expedition to recapture the state for the Confederacy. He drove his men forward from southeast to northwest Missouri, engaging in skirmishes almost daily. He met with some success and occupied the towns of Herman, Boonville, and Glasgow in a matter of ten days. Eventually, however, Federal troops outnumbered Price and forced the Confederates back into Arkansas. At the raid's end Price had fought in forty-three engagements and lost half of his men. Following the war, Price lived in St. Louis and died in 1867.

Brigadier General John Marmaduke (Confederate)

Marmaduke was born in Missouri in 1833 and he graduated from West Point in 1857.  In 1861, he became Colonel of the 3rd Confederate Infantry and led this unit with distinction at Shiloh.  He was appointed Brigadier General in November of 1862 and commanded a cavalry brigade at the Battle of Prairie Grove in December. In July of 1863, Marmaduke’s command fought at the Battle of Helena and the next month at Reed’s Bridge. Although briefly arrested after he killed Brigadier General Lucius Walker in a duel, Marmaduke was soon restored back to command. Marmaduke fought again at Pine Bluff in October of 1863 and he commanded troops which destroyed a Union supply train at Poison Springs, Arkansas in October of 1864. Later, Marmaduke was captured In Kansas and spent the rest of the war in the Fort Warren prison in Boston. While imprisoned, he was appointed to Major General in March of 1865. After the war Marmaduke entered politics and was elected Governor of Missouri. He died in office on December 28, 1887.

Brigadier General Lucius (Marsh) Walker  (Confederate)

Walker was born in Tennessee in 1829 and attended West Point, graduating in 1850. He resigned from the army after two years to become a businessman in Memphis.  When Tennessee seceded from the Union, Walker was appointed Colonel of the 40th Tennessee Regiment. He was appointed Brigadier General in March of 1862 but missed the Battle of Shiloh due to illness. Walker’s command fought under Major General Earl Van Dorn at the Battle of Corinth in October of 1862. Walker was then sent to the Trans-Mississippi Department where he was assigned a brigade of cavalry.  His actions at both the Battle of Helena and Reed’s Bridge during the Little Rock campaign led to a feud with Brigadier General John Marmaduke. After his courage was questioned, Walker challenged Marmaduke to a duel. On September 6th, 1863 outside of Little Rock, Marmaduke mortally wounded Walker who died the next day.

John Wynn Davidson (Union)

Davidson was born at Fairfax County, Virginia, August 18, 1824.  He  graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1845 and, after frontier duty in Kansas and Wisconsin, took part in the Mexican War, mainly in California with the so-called Army of the West. He was promoted to Captain, 1st United States Dragoons in 1855, and fought Indians throughout New Mexico and California, and was wounded in an engagement with Jirarilla Apaches. At the start of the Civil War he was stationed at Fort Tejon near Los Angeles, and it is alleged that declined commission in the Confederate Army. After duty in the Washington, D.C. defenses, he was appointed a Brigadier General of Volunteers to rank from February 3, 1862, perhaps as a reward for adherence to the Union, and commanded credibly a brigade of W. F. Smith's Division of Keyes's IV Corps in the Peninsular Campaign. During this campaign he was engaged at Lee's Mills, Mechanicsville, Savage Station, and Glendale. He commanded the St. Louis district of Missouri from 6 August till 13 November 1862, the Army of Southeast Missouri till 23 February 1863, and the St. Louis district again until 6 June co-operating with General Steele in his Little Rock expedition and directing the movements of troops against Pilot Knob and Fredericktown, and in the pursuit of the enemy during Marmaduke's raid into Missouri.

He led a cavalry division from June until September and was engaged in the actions at Brownsville, Reed’s Bridge and Ashley's Mills, Arkansas, and took part in the capture of Little Rock. He was made chief of cavalry of the military division west of the Mississippi on 26 June 1864, and on 24 November led a cavalry expedition from Baton Rouge to Pascagoula, Mississippi. He was brevetted brigadier-general in the regular army on 13 March 1865, for the capture of Little Rock, and major general for his services during the war. After the Civil War he held various commands in Texas and the Indian Territory, and was promoted to Colonel of the 2nd United States Cavalry in 1879. Two years later, while on duty at Fort Custer, Montana, he was badly injured when his horse fell with him. He died while on sick leave at St Paul, Minnesota, June 26, 1881. He was subsequently buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery.

Frederick Steele, Union (Commander)

Steele was born in Delhi, New York on January 14, 1819. He was graduated at the United States military academy in 1843, and served as 2nd lieutenant in the Mexican war, receiving the brevets of 1st lieutenant and captain for gallant conduct at Contreras and Chapultepec respectively. He was promoted to 1st lieutenant, 6 June, 1848, and served in California until 1853, and then principally in Minnesota, Kansas, and Nebraska. He was promoted to major on 14 May, 1861, and commanded a brigade in Missouri from 11 June, 1861, until April of 1862, being engaged at Dug Spring and Wilson's Creek, and also in charge of the southeastern district of that state after February. He had become colonel of the 8th Iowa regiment on 23 September, 1861, and on 29 January, 1862, was commissioned brigadier-general of volunteers. He led a division in the Army of the Southwest from May to November, 1862, being engaged at Round Hill, 7 July, and in the occupation of Helena, Arkansas. On 29 November he was made Major-General of volunteers, and, after engaging in the Yazoo expedition, he commanded a division in the Vicksburg campaign, taking part in the operations at Young's Point, the advance to Grand Gulf, the attack on Jackson, and the siege of Vicksburg.

From July of 1863 to January of 1864, he was at the head of the Army of Arkansas, taking part in the engagement at Reed’s Bridge and the capture of Little Rock, 10 September, 1863.  From September to November he commanded the department of that state. He led a column in the Mobile campaign, and at the close of the war received the brevet of brigadier-general, United States army, for services in the capture of Little Rock, and that of major-general for services during the war. He was then transferred to Texas, and placed in command on the Rio Grande, and from 21 December, 1865, he had charge of the Department of the Columbia. From 23 November, 1867, till his death he was on leave of absence. He died in San Mateo, California, on January 12, 1868.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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