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Union Orders, Reports and Letters -- Arkansas Page 1

OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 48, Part 2 (Powder River Expedition) Chapter LX. LOUISIANA AND THE TRANS-MISSISSIPPI. Page 78 - 79

Harrisburg, Poinsett County, April 12, 1865.

Major-General REYNOLDS, U. S. Army,

Commanding U. S. Forces in Arkansas, Little Rock, Ark.:

GENERAL: The inclosed papers in reference to outrages committed by the Federal troops in the neighborhood of Clarksville, Ark., have been sent to me from district headquarters, with instructions to take action to bring the perpetrators of such infamy to justice. It might be useless to make demands of the immediate officers of such men, and therefore I hope you will pardon me for sending the charges direct to your headquarters and requesting you to issue such orders in the premises as will wipe out this stain from your flag. I will not presume to make suggestions, but leave the matter entirely to your sense of justice and humanity, for such horrid crimes as are related in the inclosed statements will surely sicken the heart and rouse the indignation of every gentleman in your army, and if the guilty parties can be discovered I feel assured that you will properly punish such fiends or turn them over to me for punishment. I would be pleased to know your action in the matter, that I may know whether other steps will be necessary to carry out the instructions from my superior officers.

I have the honor to be, yours, most respectfully, &c.,

Brigadier-General, Commanding.




February 16, 1865.

Colonel E. P. TURNER,

Assistant Adjutant-General:

COLONEL: I have just finished reading a letter from Mrs. Swagerty, of Johnson County, Ark., to her husband, Major Swagerty, of McNair's brigade. The lady is personally known to me, and I put implicit faith in her statement. She describes the conduct of the Federals in the neighborhood of Clarksville since Brooks fired on the boats as perfectly fiendish. Even the persons of the ladies are outraged. I make this extract from her letter, and while it is modestly said, it has its terrible significance:

Mr. Harris escaped being killed, and has gone south. Tell him his wife was greatly abused, but will recover; Mrs. Major Thompson, it is thought, will not. These things are too horrible to write or think of. Colonel Waugh is in command at Clarksville, with about 600 men - negroes, Kansas, and Arkansans. These outrages are committed by his command, and took place about the 18th ultimo. The letter is dated the 25th of January. This command say they will stay where they are until April. The letter was brought out by hand, as well as others, all concurring, I am told, in describing wrongs to our helpless women committed indifferently by black and white.

I hardly know why I write this to you; but yet I have some hope that steps may be taken to secure the helpless women from further wrong, and that some retribution may be devised that may reach the guilty. Wrongs such as are so delicately alluded to in the extract ask prevention and avengers.

I am, colonel, respectfully, &c.,

Provost-Marshall-General, District of Arkansas.


Center Point, Ark., March 8, 1865.

Major-General FAGAN:

GENERAL: Having just returned from Johnson County I write you in order to give you some knowledge of the ill treatment of some of your old friends, outrages committed by the Federal soldiery. After being robbed of all their household, wearing apparel, and subsistence, they are then a subject of search for money. Not being satisfied on searching their persons, they are taken from their beds and placed upon beds of fire and tortured for the purpose of getting money. Aunt Tish (Mrs. Howel) was taken from her bed and burned so severely that there is but little hope of her recovery. All the flesh from below the knee of one leg has dropped off. Mrs. Susan Willis at the same time burned severely on the feet. Mrs. Wiley Harris burned by placing her head in the fire, and then whipped almost lifeless. Mrs. Major-Thompson burned on head, arms, and hands. I must yet tell you that Isbell, my wife, was taken from her bed and placed upon coals of fire, and after being burned severely was made to go in the damp of night some 400 yards to get money, and made to walk a part of the way with her feet all in a crisp, Isbell's mother remaining at the house suffering with like punishment. Notwithstanding these outrages, that of still deeper infamy is now the suffering pangs at heart of some of the helpless ladies of Johnson.


OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 17, Part 1 (Corinth) WEST TENN. AND NORTHERN MISS. Chapter XXIX. Page 720

Steamer Tigress, Arkansas Post, Ark., January 16, 1863.

MAJOR: On the 14th instant I received orders to take one regiment of infantry and one gunboat and ascend the Arkansas River to the place where the steamer Luzerne had been fired into by rebel partisans on that day. At 8 a.m. I went on board the steamer Omaha, on which was the Fifty-seventh Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Colonel Mungen, and started up the river, but found that no gunboat had reported,a nd I then descended to the flag-ship and found the gunboat there in waiting. I then at 10 a.m. advanced, and at 3 p.m. was at South Bend. Here I burned 7,800 bushels of corn, and sent a detachment out south 2 miles and burned 22,500 more bushels of corn and about 50 hides. At Clay's place I captured 50 sheep, 6 mules, 50 hides, 1 bell, and other property contraband of war, and, in compliance with your orders, burned the dwelling and storehouse owned by rebels in arms near the place of attack by guerrillas the day before, and left the following notice for the inhabitants of that vicinity:

People of Arkansas:

I am sent up this river to take possession of Confederate property. Yesterday you fired into our transports. You have been repeatedly warned by us, and, I believe, by your own authorities, to desist from this mode of warfare. All engaged in this infamous practice are recognized by both sides as assassins. You citizens along the banks of the river are know to have been engaged with the party that attacked our transports yesterday. To-day I have burned one of your mansions. If you repeat your useless but assassin-like attacks I will devastate this entire country.

By order:


Colonel, Commanding.


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