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The Eighteenth Arkansas Infantry was a regiment that served in the Confederate army in both the Western Theater and in the Trans-Mississippi. (Another regiment was also briefly known as the Eighteenth Arkansas before being renamed the Third Confederate Infantry.)
The unit consisted of ten companies from across central, southern, and eastern Arkansas. The companies represented Jefferson, Dallas, Prairie, Arkansas, St. Francis, Saline, and Ouachita counties. Organized in DeValls Bluff (Prairie County) on April 2, 1862, the regiment joined the majority of Confederate troops in the state as they moved east of the Mississippi River after the Battle of Pea Ridge. The first colonel of the unit was David Carroll from Jefferson County.
Moving to Fort Pillow on the Mississippi River in Tennessee, the unit suffered from a measles outbreak that eventually killed about 165 men in the regiment. Others who survived were so weakened that they were discharged from active service. The unit saw its first action at the fort on April 15, 1862, when a flotilla of Union gunboats shelled the position. The regiment did not suffer any casualties.
The regiment moved to Corinth, Mississippi, and joined a brigade under Brigadier General William Cabell. The brigade also consisted of Nineteenth, Twentieth, and Twenty-First Arkansas Infantry Regiments, as well as the Eighth Arkansas Infantry Battalion. Col. Carroll resigned his commission, and Lieutenant Colonel John Daly replaced him as the commander of the regiment. An additional battalion was formed from the regiments of the brigade, with each unit supplying men. The new unit was known as the Twelfth Arkansas Battalion, and the men from the Eighteenth Arkansas made up Company A of the unit. Seeing action at the Second Battle of Corinth on October 4, 1862, the regiment had twelve killed, thirty-four wounded, and eighty-two missing. Daly received a mortal wound in the battle and died the following day. Major Robert Crockett was promoted to colonel on the same day and took command of the regiment.
The Eighteenth Arkansas was transferred to the Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana, where it joined a brigade under the command of Brigadier General William Beall. Due to losses from sickness at the Second Battle of Corinth, the regiment was consolidated with the Fourteenth and Twenty-Third Arkansas Infantry Regiments. The other units in the brigade included the consolidated Eleventh and Seventeenth Arkansas and Johnson’s Fifteenth Arkansas. Part of the garrison of Port Hudson, Louisiana, the Eighteenth worked to strengthen the fortifications at the Mississippi River port.
Participating in the siege that took place from May until July 9, 1863, the regiment surrendered with the rest of the Confederate garrison. The enlisted men of the regiment were paroled, while the officers were held in prison camps for the remainder of the war. Two lieutenants of the regiment escaped while being transported up the Mississippi River by jumping overboard between Napoleon (Desha County) and Helena (Phillips County).
The enlisted men returned to Arkansas, where they reorganized into a mounted infantry regiment. The Nineteenth and Twentieth Arkansas Infantry regiments and the Twelfth Arkansas Infantry Battalion were also mounted, and they joined the Eighteenth in a brigade under the command of Brigadier General Thomas Dockery. The brigade engaged Union troops who were part of the ill-fated Camden Expedition, fighting in the Action at Marks’ Mills.
In the autumn of 1864, the regiment consolidated with the Twelfth and Twenty-Third Arkansas Infantry regiments and the Eighth and Twelfth Arkansas Infantry battalions to form the Second Arkansas Consolidated Infantry. All of these units were captured at Port Hudson and served in the Trans-Mississippi after their parole.
Serving in Arkansas and Texas, the unit was surrendered along with the rest of the Confederate army in the Trans-Mississippi on May 26, 1865. The unit disbanded, and the men returned home without formally surrendering.
Another unit was known as the Eighteenth Arkansas for one month during its service. The First Arkansas Infantry Battalion organized in 1861 as part of Hindman’s Legion. Companies from Mississippi and Tennessee were added to the battalion to bring it up to full strength, and it was named the Eighteenth Arkansas Infantry on January 1, 1862. On January 31, the unit was renamed as the Third Confederate Infantry, as it contained companies from several states.
For additional information:
Reynolds, Robert. Into the Mouth of the Cannon: A Historical Biography of the 18th Arkansas Infantry and the Civil War in the Western Theater from 1860 to 1863. Bloomington, IN: Authorhouse, 2007.
Henderson State University
Last Updated 5/19/2017
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