It didn’t take long for the Union advance to run into the Confederates on the morning of April 15th.
The Confederates were outnumbered and saddle weary from their long ride. The combined Union Infantry and Cavalry units pushed aside the Confederates after a 2 hour skirmish and continued their move to Camden.
Meanwhile, Confederate General Marmaduke, fearing the Union forces would get their hands on the Confederate supplies in Camden, raced to the town and set fire to as much public property as they could. They then withdrew 8 miles southwest of the city.
Union General Rice entered Camden as the sun was setting on April 15th.
Two events occurred in the Confederate camps late on April 15th.
The first: Price had followed the southern detour around the Union Army and joined General Marmaduke’s Division south of Camden. The Confederates began to block roads out of Camden to the west and to the south. This left the Union Army with only the northern and eastern roads out of Camden, unless they want to get into another fight.
Secondly: Overall Confederate Trans-Mississippi Commander, General Kirby Smith decided he would attack Union General Steele’s Force in Camden, AR. This decision came after his subordinate, General Richard Taylor had defeated the Union Force under General Banks at Mansfield, La (40 miles south of Shreveport, LA) and fought Banks to a standstill at Pleasant Hills, LA (50 miles south of Shreveport, LA).
Confederate General Smith supposedly believed if he could soundly defeat Steele, then he could recapture Little Rock. So, much to the chagrin of Confederate General Richard Taylor, Commander Smith took 3 infantry Divisions and headed northeast toward Arkansas.