THE MARYLAND CAMPAIGN OF 1862: THROUGH ARKANSAS EYES
In early June of 1862 the 3rd Arkansas spent its time digging earthworks for gun emplacements, troop trenches and revetments. This necessary work brought Lee the moniker of “Spades Lee”. However, later in the war these trenches would be welcome shelter for the Army of Northern Virginia.
On June 12th company F participated in running off a Union gunboat that was firing on a part of the Confederate Line to the south of where the 3rd was working. The accuracy of the Arkansas squirrel hunters and a battery of artillery precipitated the withdrawal of the gunboat to more favorable climes.
Walker’s Brigade during the last of June consisted of 5 regiments: 3rd Arkansas, 2nd Georgia, 27thand 46th North Carolina and the 30th Virginia. The brigade was bivouacked south of the James River around Drewry’s Bluff. The 3rd was situated next to the 27th North Carolina and got to know the “Tarheels” pretty well.
Lee had planned to attack McClellan and had brought Stonewall Jackson east from his very successful campaign in the Shenandoah Valley to help. On June 26th the Confederates attacked. The 2nd Arkansas Infantry ceased to exist. Utilized in the thick of the fighting on Beaver Dam Creek it was completely used up.
Meanwhile, the 3rd marched toward the fighting, but was never used in any of the Seven Days battles. They were ordered back to Drewry’s Bluff on July 2nd.
From July 4th to August 22nd the 3rd was back to digging entrenchments. During this time period what was left of the 2nd Arkansas Battalion was amalgamated into the 3rd.
On August 22nd General Walker was given command of a division consisting of the Brigades of Daniel, Ransom and Walker’s old brigade under the command of Col. Van Manning, an Arkansan. On August 27th General Walker was ordered to march north to join the army leaving Daniels’ Brigade and another brigade under
Wise to guard Richmond. During the march the men learned of the victory at 2nd Manassas. On the 4th of September the division arrived on the vacated Manassas battlefield.
The unburied Union dead and unburied dead horses created an unbearable stench and along with the refuse of battle was a horrific scene.
However, the division did not tarry as they learned they army has continued north to invade Maryland.