Guerrillas in Arkansas
During the American Civil War, there were such things called guerrillas. No, I am not talking about the muscular black creatures that hide in the jungle. Though that is exactly how the Confederate independent companies got there name. Where and when did guerrilla warfare begin? Who did it involve? Who were these so called guerrillas and what was there strategy? Did certain Military commanders in Arkansas make an impact on the use of guerrillas? What were the strategies that Federals and Unionists used to stop guerrilla warfare? Daniel Sutherland’s Guerrillas: The Real War In Arkansas explains how partisan fighters helped shape the strategic and tactical patterns of the war. Shows us the reasons men became guerrillas, their roles in the Confederate service, and the guerrilla operations effectiveness.
First off, guerrilla warfare began in February 1862 after Federal forces infiltrated as far south as Fayetteville and Batesville. In self-defense, Arkansans became guerrillas and started skirmishes. Guerrillas were formed with men who had been serving outside Arkansas in Confederate units or away from their family and homes. Not to be a traitor or do what they pleased but men often left the paper army to fight near their homes, where it matter most! Federal soldiers easily outnumbered and overpowered local defenses because Confederate government did not commit nearly enough troops to Arkansas. These guerrillas were shadow warriors and ghosts who struck Federal soldiers and Unionist flanks and rears. Guerrilla ambushes and midnight raids in Arkansas was how the Civil War was fought. Not a war within the war, but THE WAR.
Secondly, General Earl Van Dorn became the first Confederate commander to endorse the use of Arkansas guerrillas in May 1862. After Van Dorn’s retreat from Pea Ridge, he has little choice for hundreds of men deserted to fight in isolated bands in northwest Arkansas. In June 1862, General Thomas C. Hindman, commander of...
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