ARKANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY, Volume 17 (Autumn 1958), p. 272

 

 

FROM PARACLIFTA TO MARKS' MILL:

THE CIVIL WAR CORRESPONDENCE OF

LIEUTENANT ROBERT C. GILLIAM

 

 

EDITED BY JAMES J. HUDSON

 
 
The Robert C. Gilliam letters written between October, 1863 and May, 1864 cover a period of excitement and apprehension in southern Arkansas (1). By the time Robert C. Gilliam wrote his first letter in the series, on October 22, 1863, Federal forces had gained complete control of the Arkansas and Mississippi Rivers severing the last effective link between the eastern and western portions of the Confederacy. Hoping to knock the Trans-Mississippi Department of the Confederacy completely out of the war, Major-General Henry W. Halleck, General-in-Chief of the Federal Armies, decided upon a spring campaign against Confederate General E. Kirby Smith's forces in Northwest Louisiana. The movement, to be known as the Red River campaign, would be a simultaneous advance from Arkansas and Louisiana with Shreveport as the first major objective (2). The Southern prong of the Federal attack, to leave from Baton Rouge, was under the control of Major-General Nathaniel P. Banks. The movement from Arkansas, later to be known as the Camden Expedition (3), was commanded by Major-General Frederick Steele whose headquarters were located at Little Rock.
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1. These letters are in the possession of a great-grandson of Lt. R. C. Gilliam, Surrey E. Gilliam, an El
Dorado, Arkansas attorney.
2. Lieutenant-General U. S. Grant, who replaced Halleck as General-in-Chief shortly after the Red River
Expedition was conceived, was not enthusiastic about the project but gave his reluctant approval.
3. Ira Don Richards' "The Camden Expedition, March 23-May 3, 1864," Unpublished MA Thesis at the
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, 1958. This is perhaps the most thorough study of the Camden Expedition. See also Wiley Britton, "Resume of Military Operations in Missouri and Arkansas, 1864-65" in R. U. Johnson and C. C. Buel (ed.), Battles and Leaders of the Civil War (4 vols. New York: Century Co., 1884-1887), IV, 374-75.
 

 

 

 

 

 

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