Camden Expedition: April 20, 1864



The Union supply train from Pine Bluff was escorted safely into Camden on April 20th.  The train consisted of 150 wagons containing ammunition, quartermaster stores and 10 days of half rations of hardtack, bacon, coffee and salt.

But the most precious commodity the wagons contained was mail. The Union soldier’s morale raised another notch just from the letters from home.

Steele knew he was in a predicament.  He had lost the initiative when he entered Camden and decided to stay.

On the Confederate side, General Kirby Smith knew the Camden fortifications could not be taken and that he would have to get a portion of his force east of the Ouachita River to provide a blocking force, build breastworks west of Camden and lay siege to the city. Both Confederate General Smith and Union General Steele knew a siege could be broken if Union gunboats could make it up the Ouachita River. The gunboats could provide cover for a flotilla of supply ships that could resupply Steele’s Union army.

Meanwhile, the Confederate cavalry raid participants were being supplied and getting ready for launching their foray. And one of the leaders would be the strong and resolute General Jo Shelby.


About Civil War Reflections

Vernon has been a Civil War buff since childhood, but had been inactive in Civil War history for over two decades. However, in the early 1990s his interest was rekindled after watching Ken Burns’ “Civil War Documentary” on PBS. He particularly became interested in the Battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg) and decided to learn more about this epic struggle.
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