The First Arkansas Infantry Volunteers was recruited at Fayetteville after the battle of Prairie Grove, by Dr. James M. Johnson, of Huntsville, Madison County, and contained Washington County men in various parts of its organization. The following is a brief account of its history, by F. M. Johnson, major, commanding regiment:

“At the time of the muster-in of J. M. Johnson as colonel of this regiment it numbered thirty-six commissioned officers and 810 enlisted men, recruited in the previous sixty days in Madison, Washington, Newton, Benton, Searcy and Crawford Counties. It participated in the battle of Fayetteville, under the immediate command of Lieut.-Col. E. J. Searle and Maj. E. D. Ham, on the 18th of April, 1863, and marched for Springfield on the 25th of that month. On the 6th of July it was ordered to Cassville, Mo., where it shortly afterward arrived, and on the 17th of August joined the Army of the Frontier, under command of Maj.-Gen. Blount, at Fort Gibson, Cherokee Nation, pursued the rebels under Cooper and Stanwatie to Perryville, in the Choctaw Nation, and, returning to Fort Smith, was the first regiment to enter the garrison on the 1st of September, 1863. Shortly afterward, by order of Brig.-Gen. McNeil, the regiment proceeded to Waldron, and remained there until February, 1864, when it was again ordered to report at Fort Smith to take part in the movement southward under Brig.-Gen. Thayer; left Fort Smith with the frontier division on the 24th of March, 1864, forming part of the first brigade under Col. John Edwards; participated in the battle of Moscow, losing three men killed and several wounded; entered Camden on the 16th of April, 1864, and was engaged in a reconnoisance of the enemy after the battle of Poisoned Springs; left Camden on the 26th of April, and, as a part of the right wing of the Union army, was engaged with the enemy at the battle of Saline River, where it repulsed a strong flanking party with considerable loss to the enemy, and losing no men itself. On the 1st of May, 1864, the regiment arrived at Little Rock, and proceeded thence to Fort Smith, where it arrived on the 17th of the same month; since which time it has been engaged in escort and guard duty on the frontier. The greatest aggregate was in November, 1863–979 officers and men; the lowest in March, 1865–774; present aggregate, 788, 31 commissioned officers and 757 enlisted men.”

The regimental officers and captains are as follows: Colonel, James M. Johnson; lieutenant-colonel, Elhanon J. Searle; majors, Elijah D. Ham, Francis M. Johnson; surgeon, William B. Waterman; assistant surgeons, Thomas B. Drake, Harvey H. Bolinger, Robert B. Campfield; chaplains, Francis Springer, John M. Leard; adjutants, Francis M. Sams, William Patterson; regimental quartermasters, Crittenden C. Wells, Jonathan H. Hewes; Company A, captains, Randall Smith, Daniel E. Sutcliffe; Company B, captains, Elith Haynes, Thomas H. Scott; Company C, captain, James R. Vanderpool; Company D, captains, Ransom R. Rhodes, William H. Newman; Company E, captains, James M. Hutchings, John W. Spralding; Company F, captains, John McCoy, George W. Raymond; Company G, captain, George W. R. Smith; Company H. captain, William C. Parker; Company I, captains, William J. Heffington, John Whiteford, Samuel Bard; Company K, captain, Abial Stevens. Total casualties, 184.

Back to: Washington County, Arkansas History

Source: History of Benton, Washington, Carroll, Madison, Crawford, Franklin, and Sebastian Counties, Arkansas. Chicago, IL, USA: Goodspeed Publishing Co., 1889.