11th Arkansas Infantry Regiment
The 11th Arkansas Infantry was organized with eight companies (approximately 700 men) at Benton, in Saline County, Arkansas in July, 1861. Jabez M. Smith, of Benton, was elected Colonel, Mark Miller, Lt. Col., James T. Poe, major, Moses Waters, adjutant, and W.A. Moss, sergeant major. Company commanders were Co. A, the "Saline Tornadoes" of Saline County, Cpt. M. Vance; Co. B, the "Rough and Ready Riflemen" of Saline County, Cpt. J. Douglas; Co. C, from Saline and Hot Spring counties, Cpt. J. Sanders; Co. D, the "Fairplay Riflemen" of Saline county, Cpt. Z. Philips; Co. E, the "Falcon Guards" of Columbia and Hempstead counties, Cpt J. Moss; Co. F, the "Saline Avengers" of Saline county, Cpt. L. Mauney; Co. G, the "Camden Knights" of Ouachita county, Cpt. J. Logan; and Co. H, from Columbia County, Cpt. J. Matthews. Company I, from Saline, Hot Spring, and Pulaski counties under Cpt. Anderson Cunningham and Co. K, from Saline county under Cpt. J.G. Johnson, joined the regiment at Memphis, TN, and Island No. 10, respectively.
The regiment was ordered to Fort Pillow, TN, in November, 1861, was brigaded with the 12th Arkansas, commanded by Col. E.W. Gantt; and was stationed at Island No. 10 near Tiptonville, TN on the Mississippi River. The regiment was transferred back and forth from Island No. 10 to New Madrid, MO at the whim of General Gideon Pillow. Island No. 10 was surrendered on April 15, 1862 after a terrific bombardment by Union mortar boats and gunboats, aided by a rise of the river's water level which nearly submerged the island. The Confederate defenses at Island No. 10 consisted of dissolving earthworks and twenty cannon. Maj. W.J. Hoadley, of Little Rock, having served his guns with great bravery, spiked them and escaped with one section of the regiment. The others were included in the surrender, and were transported to prison camps at Camp Butler (near Springfield, IL) and then to Camp Chase (Chicago), the officers were sent to Johnson's Island near Lake Erie. Lieutenant Gibson, of Co. H, was shot dead at Johnson's Island by a federal sentry because he crossed the camp's "dead line". The 11th and 12th Arkansas were exchanged at Vicksburg, Mississippi on September 16, 1862, and were subsequently reorganized at Jackson, MS in October of that year.
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© 2006 Gary Hardy