Military Wiki
Battle of Jenkins' Ferry
Part of the American Civil War
DateApril 30, 1864 (1864-04-30)
LocationGrant County, Arkansas
Result Union victory in retreat
United States United States Confederate States of America Confederate States
Commanders and leaders
Frederick Steele Kirby Smith
12,000 10,000
Casualties and losses
700 1,000

The Battle of Jenkins' Ferry was fought April 30, 1864, in Grant County, Arkansas during the American Civil War. It was the climactic battle of the Camden Expedition, which was a part of the Union Army’s failed Red River Campaign. Each side sustained a large number of casualties, especially considering the size of the respective forces, and a general was killed on each side. As a result of the battle, the Union force was able to complete a successful retreat from a precarious position at Camden, Arkansas to their defenses at Little Rock, Arkansas.

Campaign leading to the battle

Red River campaign

In March 1864, the Union Army in Louisiana under the command of Major General Nathaniel P. Banks and the Union Navy operating on the Mississippi River under the command of Admiral David Dixon Porter launched the Red River Campaign. The campaign's immediate objective was the capture of Shreveport, Louisiana, which was the headquarters of Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith, commander of the Confederacy's Trans-Mississippi Department. Shreveport also was the temporary capital of Confederate Louisiana, a major supply depot and a gateway to Texas. An incidental objective of the campaign was to purchase cotton, which was in short supply in the northern States and thereby possibly to win the loyalty of planters along the river for the Union. It was thought this action might expand Reconstruction in Louisiana.[1] Major General Henry Halleck, General-in-Chief of the Union Army, who devised the plan, also wanted to open the road to the occupation of Texas by Union forces and to discourage French incursions from Mexico.[2] France had invaded and occupied Mexico in June 1863, setting up a government under their puppet "emperor," Maximilian.[3]

Since President Lincoln had approved the Red River Campaign plan before Ulysses S. Grant was promoted to Lieutenant General and General-in-Chief, Grant felt he could not stop the campaign. Grant did try to hurry its execution because he would have preferred to use a 10,000–man force which was diverted to the campaign to reinforce Major General William T. Sherman in Sherman's drive from north Georgia to Atlanta. Grant also would have liked to have pinned down more Confederate troops in Alabama with an attack on the Confederate stronghold at Mobile, Alabama.[4]

General Banks had a force of at least 20,000 men available near New Orleans for the campaign.[5] He was to be joined by 10,000 men of Sherman's army from Vicksburg, Mississippi under the command of Brigadier General Andrew J. Smith. Smith's force accompanied Porter's flotilla up the Red River. Initially they were successful in capturing Fort DeRussy to open passage up the Red River.[6] Major General Frederick Steele commanding approximately 14,000 men also was supposed to move his forces in support of Banks against Shreveport from their bases to the north at Little Rock, Fort Smith, and Pine Bluff, Arkansas.[5]

Camden expedition

To Camden

Steele's part in the campaign became known as the Camden Expedition. Steele later said its objective was to reach and occupy Camden, Arkansas and to draw Confederate cavalry away from Shreveport in support of Banks’s effort to take that city. Nonetheless, Banks obviously planned for Steele to join him in the attempt to take Shreveport, not just to occupy Camden temporarily. Even Grant sent a telegram to Steele which told Steele that a demonstration alone was insufficient support of Banks.[7] After Banks’s forces were repulsed in their march toward Shreveport at the battle of Mansfield, Louisiana by outnumbered forces led by Confederate Lieutenant General Richard Taylor, Banks had paused his retreat at Alexandria, Louisiana. Banks still thought he could renew the campaign and communicated to Steele his desire for Steele’s reinforcements to join his forces in another attempt to take Shreveport.[8]

Steele, with 8,000 men, first marched southwest from Little Rock to Arkadelphia, Arkansas. Steele planned to meet a Union column of 4,000 men from Fort Smith, Arkansas, led by Brigadier General John Thayer, at Arkadelphia.[9] A Federal cavalry force of about 2,000 men from Pine Bluff, Arkansas was supposed to keep watch on the Confederate garrison at Camden, divert attention from Steele’s movement and eventually to join up with Steele.[9] Even though Steele was three weeks behind schedule, he did not find Thayer at Arkadelphia when his forces arrived there on March 29, 1864.[10] Steele’s men had marched for the last three days in the rain on already reduced rations.[11] The poor country along the route of the march was destitute and there was little food or forage to be had.[11] After waiting until April 1, 1864, with his supplies being further depleted and no word from Thayer, Steele moved southwest toward Washington, Arkansas, the temporary capital of Confederate Arkansas.[11] He eventually united with Thayer near Elkins' Ferry on the Little Missouri River on April 9, 1864. Thayer brought few supplies, however, and the combined force then became short of supplies.[12]

Steele succeeded in aiding Banks only to the extent of keeping the five Confederate cavalry brigades in the region from joining the forces opposing Banks. Two Confederate infantry divisions from Arkansas and Missouri under the overall command of Major General Sterling Price, the commander of Confederate forces in Arkansas, were sent from the Camden area to support the forces opposing Banks. Under the command of Brigadier General John S. Marmaduke and the overall command of Price, who stayed in Arkansas, three of the five Confederate cavalry brigades left in Arkansas harassed Steele's force as it moved from Arkadelphia. They could not stop its slow progress. The opposing forces fought a small battle at Elkins' Ferry on the Little Missouri River on April 3, 1864, where Steele's forces stymied Marmaduke's attempt to prevent them from crossing the Little Missouri River.[13] They fought another small battle at Prairie D'Ane, Arkansas on April 10, 1864.[13] On April 12, Steele feinted toward Washington, where Price had moved to resist Steele's presumed objective to take the town. Steele then sidestepped the Confederates with a move to Camden, which was out of the way for a march to Shreveport.[11] After brushing aside Marmaduke’s cavalry 14 miles (23 km) from Camden, Steele's force occupied Camden on April 15, 1864.[14] Price had earlier evacuated that fortified town in order to defend the temporary Confederate state capital at Washington, Arkansas.[12]

At Camden, Poison Spring and Marks' Mill

Price, who had been joined by two Texas cavalry brigades under Brigadier General Samuel B. Maxey, appeared at Camden with his cavalry soon after Steele’s occupation of the town. With the seven cavalry brigades, Price besieged the entrenched Steele, even though Steele's Union force still outnumbered Price's Confederate force.[15]

Steele had hoped to be resupplied from depots at Little Rock and Pine Bluff and to collect provisions from the countryside.[11] He was denied significant resupply when Confederate cavalry forces of 1,700 troopers under Brigadier General Marmaduke and 1,600 additional troopers under Brigadier General Maxey overwhelmed a Union foraging expedition under the command of Colonel James M. Williams which would have been successful had it been able to return to Camden.[16] The Confederates captured 170 wagons and teams from a 198-wagon supply train and destroyed the other wagons at the battle of Poison Spring, Arkansas. One source stated that the Confederates killed or captured "most" of the Union Army escort of 1,170 infantry and cavalry and four artillery pieces during the battle on April 18, 1864.[17] Another source states that the Union forces lost 301 men, mostly killed or missing.[18][19] The Confederates killed some African-American soldiers from the escort in this battle as they tried to surrender, according to reports from the field.[20] About the time the remnants of the Union force who were not killed or captured at Poison Spring stumbled back into Camden, Steele learned that General Banks had turned back in his drive toward Shreveport after being defeated at the battle of Mansfield, Louisiana (also known as Pleasant Grove or Sabine Cross Roads), about 40 miles (64 km) from Shreveport, on April 8, 1864.[21]

Banks had won a tactical victory and inflicted more casualties (1,626) than his forces sustained (1,369) at the battle of Pleasant Hill the day after the battle of Mansfield. His force also outnumbered the Confederate force, but Banks thought otherwise so he continued his retreat toward Alexandria.[22] Meanwhile, Admiral Porter had to retreat down the Red River and back toward the Mississippi River while under near constant Confederate fire from the river banks. Porter had to return not only because of Banks’s retreat, but because his flotilla was in danger of being stranded by uncommonly low water levels in the Red River. Although the boats were freed from the Red River by May 13 through skillful engineering and damming of the river, Banks had to wait at Alexandria during the time Porter's boats were bottled up in order to protect the fleet from Confederate attack from the shore. Only after the boats were safely down the river could Banks move in any direction.[23]

On April 23, 1864, when Steele received the dispatch from Banks asking that he join Banks so they could move again on Shreveport, Steele responded that he was in no position to join Banks. He also noted that he now faced not only Confederate cavalry but Sterling Price's returned infantry and additional infantry under Kirby Smith. Kirby Smith had joined Price with some of the infantry which had been with Taylor at the battle of Pleasant Hill. Brigadier General Thomas J. Churchill’s Arkansas division and Brigadier General Mosby Parsons's Missouri division had returned to Price's command. They were followed by Major General John G. Walker’s larger Texas division with Kirby Smith. Kirby Smith had decided that Steele was a bigger threat, and a bigger prize, than Banks when Banks continued to retreat after the battle of Pleasant Hill on April 9, 1864. Kirby Smith thought he could destroy Steele's force and perhaps still turn back and trap Banks later.[24] Taylor vehemently disagreed with this decision and wanted to attack Banks immediately. Nonetheless, Taylor could not convince Kirby Smith to change his plan. As Banks appeared to be waiting for the naval force at Alexandria, Louisiana, Kirby Smith became even more certain that his decision was correct and he had time to execute it.[25]

On April 25, 1864, in an action called the Battle of Marks' Mill, two Confederate cavalry brigades under the overall command of Brigadier General James Fagan, operating under Price, captured a Union wagon train of between 211 and 240 wagons and 1,300 men of the escort which Steele had sent to seek supplies from the federal depot at Pine Bluff. Only about 150 of the 1,400 to 1,700[26] Union soldiers escaped after a five–hour fight.[27] Fagan had about 300 casualties in the engagement. Reports showed his men killed wounded African-American Union soldiers at the end of the battle. The Confederates in turn would pay for this at the battle of Jenkins' Ferry.[28]

Retreat from Camden

Steele was now desperately short of supplies, outnumbered and in danger of being surrounded at Camden. After his senior officers agreed with him that he had no other reasonable choice, Steele ordered a night withdrawal toward Little Rock on April 26 and the early morning of April 27, 1864. The Confederates did not detect Steele's movement until later in the day. Steele's forces used a pontoon bridge which they had carried on the campaign to cross the Ouachita River. Steele thus gained a head start on the Confederates who pursued the Union force as soon as they realized that Steele had withdrawn from Camden. First, the Confederates had to get across the swollen, and bridgeless, Ouachita River on the morning of April 28 by constructing a raft bridge.[29] This delay allowed Steele to get a further head start, although rain soon slowed him down.[29] The Confederates struggled through the rain, as well, but they did not have as many wagons or as much equipment to slow down their pursuit.[30]

Meanwhile, on April 28, Price sent Samuel Maxey's division of two cavalry brigades back to Oklahoma and Texas to attend to reported threats to that territory by another Union force.[31] Brigadier General Fagan, who had commanded the victorious Confederate forces at Marks Mill, took off on independent operations but did not fulfill his orders which permitted this movement along with some stated objectives. He failed in his first objective to destroy the Federal supply depot at Pine Bluff, probably because he could not cross the swollen Saline River, a tributary of the Ouachita River. Fagan also failed to occupy a position across Steele's supply and communication lines between Camden and Little Rock, as Price had ordered.[31] Fagan probably was looking for food and forage for his own force.[31] Fagan was not in immediate communication with Price and not in a position to know about Steele's recent movements out of Camden, but Price realized on April 29 that Fagan was not blocking the Union retreat. Fagan and his 3,000 troopers would arrive at Jenkins’ Ferry on April 30, 1864, which was too late to take part in the battle.[32]

General Steele moved due north out of Camden by way of Princeton, Arkansas. His force was harassed by Confederate cavalry as General Marmaduke's men caught up to the Union column on their approach to the Saline River. When Steele's forces reached Jenkins' Ferry on the swollen river, they had to stop to construct their pontoon bridge to get across. The remaining 10,000 Confederates under Kirby Smith and Price then caught up to Steele, who also had about 10,000 men remaining from his original forces. The Confederates brought on a battle by attacking the Union rear guard in the early morning of April 30, 1864.[33] Steele’s cavalry had been able to cross the Saline River overnight on April 29. Now Steele had to fight off Kirby Smith's army before his infantry forces could finish their efforts to get their wagons, artillery and remaining troops over their pontoon bridge river crossing.[34]


The site of the battle

General Steele's Union forces reached Jenkins’ Ferry, Arkansas on the Saline River at 2:00 p.m. on April 29, 1864 in their retreat from Camden, Arkansas to their base at Little Rock, Arkansas. They found that the river was swollen by heavy rain. The rain continued in torrents on April 29 and the riverbank and approaches became a quagmire of mud and standing water.[35] The tired and famished Union troops could not construct their pontoon bridge and get their wagons and artillery out of the mud and over the river during the night, although the Union cavalry did get across. Since the Union commanders realized that Kirby Smith's Confederate forces were rushing to catch up to them, a Union Army rear guard built breastworks and took a formidable defensive position to oppose the Confederates when they arrived in force on the morning of April 30. With Steele continuing to supervise the river crossing, Brigadier General Frederick (Friedrich) C. Salomon should have commanded the rear guard action against the pursuing Confederates but he left the task to Brigadier General Samuel Rice and 4,000 Union infantrymen.[36]

Before dawn on April 30, 1864, Marmaduke’s Confederate cavalry troopers arrived near Jenkins’ Ferry, dismounted and skirmished with Steele's rear guard infantry force about 2 miles (3.2 km) from the Saline River crossing.[37] Rice had placed the Union forces behind breastworks, abatis and rifle pits.[35] Rice's lines were protected by Cox Creek, sometimes shown as Toxie Creek on the right. While some accounts have stated that the Union position was bordered by an impassable cane swamp on one side and thick, rain-drenched timber on the other,[35] other sources state that the left flank was vulnerable and only after failed Confederate efforts to turn his left flank did Rice extended the left end of his line until it rested on a steep wooded slope.[36] The difficult approach to the Union position was only about four hundred yards wide[35] and would allow at most only 4,000 Confederate infantry to attack at one time.[38] In the event, the Confederates attacked in an even more piecemeal manner.[35]

Price first committed the infantry under Brigadier General Thomas J. Churchill and then the infantry under Brigadier General Mosby M. Parsons to the battle as soon as they arrived on the field. In turn, they each made little headway because they had no cover for an attack and the approach to the Union position was ankle to knee deep in mud and pools of water. These Confederate divisions were sent into the attack piecemeal, brigade by brigade, not in a more concentrated effort.[39]

Gunpowder smoke added to a blanket of fog soon after the battle began. This smoke and fog made it nearly impossible for the opposing forces to see each other except by crouching down low. This served to help the defenders more since they were mainly lying behind their works and not attempting to get to them through the mud as the Confederate attackers were attempting to do. They also could simply fire into a narrow area where the Confederates had to attack and achieve effective results.[40] The mud and standing water prevented cavalry and artillery from participating much in the battle. In fact, the Confederates lost three artillery pieces to a charge by the 2nd Kansas Colored Infantry and the 29th Iowa Infantry regiments from their fortified positions.[36]

After Price’s forces under Brigadier Generals Churchill and Parsons had made little progress, Kirby Smith came up with the large Texas infantry division under Major General John George Walker. Walker carried on the attack in the same manner as the previous divisions had done, brigade by brigade.[35] All three Confederate brigade commanders under Walker were wounded in these attacks.[30] Two of them, Brigadier General William Read Scurry and Colonel Horace Randal were mortally wounded. Union Brigadier General Samuel Rice also was mortally wounded in the final Confederate assault at Jenkins' Ferry.[36] After taking about 1,000 casualties in their repeated attacks against the well-fortified Union troops while inflicting only about 700 casualties on the defenders, including the capture of stragglers, the Confederates gave up the piecemeal attacks on the Union position.[40] Before leaving the field, some African-American soldiers of the 2nd Kansas Colored regiment shot Confederate wounded near Rice’s line in retaliation for the shooting of African-American soldiers who were trying to surrender at Poison Spring and the killing of wounded African-American soldiers at Marks’ Mill.[36]

Withdrawal, results and casualties

By about 3:00 p.m. on April 30, 1864, the Union forces finally crossed the Saline River with all their remaining men and the artillery pieces and equipment and supply wagons which were not irretrievably stuck in the mud, which they burned.[35] Steele's forces were compelled to abandon many more wagons in the swamp north of the Saline River.[41] The Confederates did not renew the attack as Steele's men crossed the pontoon bridge on the afternoon of April 30. Not only were the Confederates exhausted from the morning’s battle, but the Union forces had set up artillery and infantry on the opposite side of the river to protect the remaining Union soldiers as they crossed the bridge.[35] After crossing the Saline River, Steele's forces cut and burned the pontoon bridge, which they would not need for the remainder of their march. With no way to get across the river, the Confederates could not follow them.[36] By not trapping Steele's force at Camden or cutting them off before they reached the Saline River, the Confederates under Kirby Smith lost a good chance to destroy Steele's army, which was the major portion of Union forces in Arkansas.[36] After crossing the river and three days' further march, Steele’s forces regrouped within the fortifications of Little Rock.[42]

Considering the numbers engaged and percentage of casualties, the battle of Jenkins' Ferry was one of the Civil War's bloodiest battles.[36] Both armies paid dearly for the engagement. The Confederates officially reported 86 men killed, 356 wounded, and one missing for a total of 443 casualties. The numbers would doubtless have been much higher, perhaps 800 to 1,000, if Walker's Texas division's losses were known. Walker filed no report on the battle. Officially reported but incomplete Union casualties were 63 killed, 413 wounded, and 45 missing, a total of 521 casualties.[43] The Union total casualty figure was incomplete because Brigadier General John Thayer filed no report. As noted above, in view of the incomplete or missing casualty reports, historians Shelby Foote and Gregory J. W. Urwin in the Heidlers' Encyclopedia of the American Civil War used 1,000 and 700 as the best estimate of total Confederate and Union casualty figures, respectively, for this battle.[38]

The Battle of Jenkins' Ferry may be counted as a Union victory, at least tactically.[44] Not only did the Confederates sustain more casualties, but Steele's Union troops successfully held back the attacking Confederates. This allowed the Union forces time and space to move most of their remaining wagons, artillery, equipment, cavalry and infantry across the Saline River and to escape back to the safety of Little Rock. Yet, Steele's victory was hollow from a strategic viewpoint. Kirby Smith’s forces held the battlefield, prevented Steele from joining with or further assisting Banks and forced Steele's continued retreat back to Little Rock. In the campaign overall, Steele had lost 3,000 men to Smith’s loss of 2,000. Many of Kirby Smith's men were lightly wounded. Steele had lost 10 artillery pieces to balance with 3 captured. He also lost 635 wagons, 2,500 mules, enough horses to mount a cavalry brigade and a long list of captured material, including ammunition, food and medical supplies.[45] The Union force lost General Rice while the Confederate force lost General Scurry and Colonel Randal.

Kirby Smith's last hope to destroy Steele's army outside of his well-fortified base at Little Rock was dashed as a result of the mismanaged, disjointed and piecemeal attacks at Jenkins' Ferry. Although the Union position and weather conditions limited Confederate options, a more concentrated effort appears to have been possible. The Confederates also failed to concentrate on the Union's more vulnerable left flank at the outset, choosing instead to pursue frontal assaults across Kelly's field, where the Southern lines of infantry were devastated by Union fire. Assuming Rice had left this weak spot in, or just beyond, his defenses, the Confederates' early missed opportunity to attack in this area with concentrated force allowed Rice to see the possible vulnerability in his position and to extend and protect the left flank of the Union line. After the Union left flank was closed off, any opportunity for a successful Confederate attack at that point and any realistic chance Kirby Smith and Price might have had to trap most of Steele's force was gone.[39]


After his situation had become hopeless at Camden, Steele gave up all thoughts of uniting with Banks on the Red River in a further campaign to take Shreveport and realized that he had to save his army. The battle of Jenkins' Ferry showed that Steele's force indeed was in danger while it was at Camden and southwest of the Saline River. Steele's decision to retreat to Little Rock therefore was a good one. Banks in turn had to give up any hope of renewing his campaign against Shreveport. His major problems in renewing the campaign actually did not include an insufficient number of men, however, because he was reinforced in late April by forces under Major General John McClernand. Banks had logistical problems and would not have gunboat transport and support because of Porter’s inability to operate in the unusually low water of the Red River during that spring and summer. In fact, Banks had to protect Porter’s fleet at Alexandria, Louisiana until it could be freed from the Red River on May 13 before he could move in any direction.[46]

Despite some Confederate disappointment in not destroying, through casualties or capture, most of the Union forces engaged in the Red River Campaign, the Confederates had a considerable tactical victory. The Federals lost over 8,000 men in the Red River Campaign, including the Camden Expedition, and returned to their starting points at the end of it. The Confederates lost about 6,500. The Confederates captured 57 artillery pieces, about a thousand wagons, most of them loaded, and 3,500 horses and mules.[47]

As Shelby Foote noted, the Confederates also gained a strategic victory in the Red River Campaign.[47] They were able to delay the return of Brigadier General Andrew Smith’s 10,000–man force to Major General Sherman's army for use in the Atlanta Campaign. Also, about 20,000 Confederate soldiers from Alabama were able to reinforce General Joe Johnston in his defense against Sherman. These forces otherwise might have been engaged in Alabama had Banks attacked Mobile, Alabama, as Lieutenant General Grant would have preferred, rather than attempt to take Shreveport under Halleck’s plan.[48] The Union Army tied up significant forces in the Red River Campaign and lost significant numbers of artillery pieces, wagons, mules and supplies that could have been used in the more decisive campaigns further east. Yet, Kirby Smith could not get his forces back to Alexandria in time for a further attempt to capture or destroy Banks's force. The disruption and retreat of Union forces in Arkansas also cleared the way for Price's 1864 invasion of Missouri. Ultimately that campaign provided no long term benefit to the Confederates, who were driven out of Missouri again after the Battle of Westport and the consequent offensive by Union cavalry under Major General Alfred Pleasonton, which defeated the Confederates in 4 battles in 5 days following the battle of Westport.[49]

Opposing forces

The battlefield today

Monument erected by the Daughters of the Confederacy

The battleground at Jenkins' Ferry, preserved as Jenkins' Ferry State Park, is one of the Camden Expedition Sites that together were declared a National Historic Landmark in 1994.[50]

In popular media

The battle is briefly depicted, and mentioned by two USCT soldiers who speak with President Abraham Lincoln (Daniel Day-Lewis) in the opening scene of the 2012 Steven Spielberg movie Lincoln.

See also


  1. McPherson, James, M., ed., The Atlas of the Civil War, p. 148. Philadelphia, PA: Running Press Book Publishers, 2005. ISBN 978-0-7624-2356-9. In the event, the naval force and accompanying soldiers in particular alienated the local population by simply confiscating or destroying cotton.
  2. Heidler, David S. and Heidler, Jeanne T., eds., Encyclopedia of the American Civil War: A Political, Social and Military History, p. 1616. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2000. ISBN 0-393-04758-X. Article on Red River Campaign by R. Blake Dunnavent.
  3. Foote, Shelby, The Civil War, A Narrative, Red River to Appomattox, pp. 376–377. Volume 3 of 3. New York: Random House, Inc., 1974. ISBN 0-394-46512-1 (v. 3); McPherson, James M., Battle Cry of Freedom, pp. 683–684. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988. ISBN 0-19-503863-0
  4. Foote, vol. 3, 1974, p. 25
  5. 5.0 5.1 Foote, vol. 3, 1974, p. 28
  6. Heidler ed., Dunavent, 2000, p. 1616
  7. Foote, 1974, p. 64
  8. Foote, vol. 3, 1974, pp. 61–62
  9. 9.0 9.1 Foote, vol. 3, 1974, p. 65
  10. Josephy, Jr., Alvin M., The Civil War in the American West, p. 211. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1991. ISBN 978-0-394-56482-1
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 Josephy, 1991, p. 211
  12. 12.0 12.1 Foote, vol. 3, 1974, p. 67
  13. 13.0 13.1 McPherson, 2005, pp. 150–151
  14. Foote, 1974, p. 69.
  15. Foote, vol. 3, 1974, p. 67–69
  16. Eicher, David J., The Longest Night: A Military History of the Civil War, p. 653. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster Paperbacks, Inc., 2001, first paperback edition 2006. ISBN 978-0-684-84945-4
  17. Josephy, 1991, p. 212
  18. Foote, vol. 3, 1974, p. 70
  19. Eicher, 2001, p. 653 says Union casualties at Poison Spring were 204 killed and missing and 97 wounded, with 117 of the dead being African-Americans. He does not give a separate number of captured Union soldiers. He states that Confederate losses totaled 114.
  20. Eicher, 2001, p. 653 bases this statement in part on Colonel Williams’s report from eyewitnesses.
  21. Foote, vol. 3, 1974, p. 70; Faust, Patricia L., ed., Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War p. 305. New York, NY: Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc., 1986. ISBN 0-06-181261-7
  22. McPherson, 2005, p. 148
  23. Faust, 1986, p. 620; Foote, vol. 3, 1974, p. 61
  24. McPherson, 2005, p. 148; Foote, vol. 3, 1974, pp. 53–54
  25. Foote, vol. 3, 1974, pp. 54–55
  26. Foote, vol. 3, 1974, p. 72; Faust, 1986, p. 395; Josephy, 1991, p. 213; and Eicher, 2001, p. 654 all give brief accounts of this action. They differ somewhat on the number of Federal soldiers engaged. Most of them give the 240–wagon number.
  27. Josephy, 1991, p. 212. Eicher, 2001, p. 654 states that numerous prisoners were captured but also says Union losses were 100 killed, 250 wounded, 100 captured. Confederate losses were 41 killed, 108 wounded, 144 missing.
  28. McPherson, 2005, p. 150
  29. 29.0 29.1 Heidler ed., Urwin, 2000, p. 1068, Article on "Battle of Jenkins Ferry" by Gregory J. W. Urwin.
  30. 30.0 30.1 Foote, vol. 3, 1974, p. 75 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Foote75" defined multiple times with different content
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 Josephy, 1991, p. 213
  32. Foote, vol. 3, 1974, p. 76
  33. Foote, vol. 3, 1974, p. 74
  34. Foote, vol. 3, 1974, pp. 73–74
  35. 35.0 35.1 35.2 35.3 35.4 35.5 35.6 35.7 Josephy, 1991, p. 214
  36. 36.0 36.1 36.2 36.3 36.4 36.5 36.6 36.7 Heidler ed., Urwin, 2000, p. 1069 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Heidler1069" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Heidler1069" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Heidler1069" defined multiple times with different content
  37. Faust, 1986, p. 395
  38. 38.0 38.1 Foote, vol. 3, 1974, p. 75; Heidler, ed., Urwin, 2000, p. 1069
  39. 39.0 39.1 Josephy, 1991, p. 214; Heidler, ed., Urwin, 2000, p. 1069
  40. 40.0 40.1 Foote, vol. 3, 1974, p. 75; Josephy, 1991, p. 214
  41. Josephy, 1991, p. 215
  42. Foote, vol. 3, 1974, p. 77; Faust, 1986, p. 107
  43. Eicher, 2001, p. 654 gives lower numbers and a more even distribution of casualties: Union 64 killed, 378 wounded, 86 missing; Confederate 86 killed 356 wounded, 1 missing, without mentioning the incomplete reports.
  44. The National Park Service battle summary calls it a "Union victory in retreat."
  45. Foote, vol. 3, 1974, p.76. McPherson, 2005, p. 150 gives slightly different overall casualty figures, stating that Steele had lost almost 2,500 soldiers while the Confederates lost about half that many.
  46. Faust, 1986, p. 620; Foote, vol. 3, 1974, pp. 61, 84. Foote states that Banks and his forces left Alexandria on May 13, the day after Porter was able to get past the rapids near Alexandria, which allowed Porter's flotilla to make it back to the Mississippi River.
  47. 47.0 47.1 Foote, vol. 3, 1974, p. 91
  48. Shelby Foote stated, in fairness to Banks, even Banks would have preferred to move against Mobile rather than against Shreveport.
  49. Heidler, ed., 2000, p. 2093, Article on "Battle of Westport" by Mark J. Lause.
  50. "In the spring of 1864, three Civil War battles took place in south central Arkansas that were part of the Union Army's "Red River Campaign." Arkansas's three state historic parks that commemorate these battles—Poison Spring, Marks' Mills and Jenkins' Ferry—are part of the Red River Campaign National Historic Landmark."; retrieved August 20, 2010. shows the location as: Coordinates: 34°11'48"N 92°33'55"W


  • Baker, William D., The Camden Expedition of 1864. Little Rock: Arkansas Historic Preservation Program.
  • Eicher, David J. The Longest Night: A Military History of the Civil War. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2001. ISBN 0-684-84944-5.
  • Faust, Patricia L., ed., Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc., 1986. ISBN 0-06-181261-7.
  • Foote, Shelby. The Civil War: A Narrative. Vol. 3, Red River to Appomattox. New York: Random House, 1974. ISBN 0-394-74913-8.
  • Heidler, David S. and Heidler, Jeanne T., eds., Encyclopedia of the American Civil War: A Political, Social and Military History. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2000. ISBN 0-393-04758-X. Combines into one volume the original 5 volume work published by ABC-CLIO, Santa Barbara, California in 2000. Article on "Battle of Jenkins' Ferry", pp. 1068–1069 by Gregory J. W. Urwin. Article on "Red River Campaign," p. 1616 by R. Blake Dunnavent. Article on "Battle of Westport," p. 2093, by Mark J. Lause.
  • Josephy, Jr., Alvin M., The Civil War in the American West. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1991. ISBN 978-0-394-56482-1.
  • McPherson, James M., ed., The Atlas of the Civil War. Philadelphia: Running Press Book Publishers, 19103-4371; 2005. ISBN 978-0-7624-2356-9.
  • McPherson, James M. Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era. Oxford History of the United States. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988. ISBN 0-19-503863-0.
  • National Park Service summary of Jenkins' Ferry
  • Jenkins Ferry State Park web site retrieved August 20, 2010
  • Hittle, Jon B.E., "Citizens and Patriots: The Thirty-Sixth Iowa Infantry Regiment in the Civil War." Des Moines, Iowa: State Historical Society GenWeb History Project, 2009

Further reading

  • Bearss, Edwin Cole, Steele's Retreat From Camden & the Battle of Jenkins' Ferry, Eagle Press of Little Rock, 2nd edition, 1990
  • Walker, Joe, "Harvest of Death: The Battle of Jenkins' Ferry, Arkansas", CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2012. ISBN 978-1461021902

  • Hittle, Jon B.E., "Citizens and Patriots: The Thirty-Sixth Iowa Infantry Regiment in the Civil War." Des Moines, Iowa: State Historical Society GenWeb History Project, 2009

Coordinates: 34°12′47″N 92°32′50″W / 34.21306°N 92.54722°W / 34.21306; -92.54722

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