Field & Staff
Organized at Camden, AR on January 2, 1862 with the following officers: Colonel James M. Gee, Lt. Col. John C. Wright, Major P. Lynch Lee, Adjutant Benjamin W. Johnson; Co. A, Cpt. Proctor; Co. B, Cpt. H. Purefoy; Co. C, Cpt. L.W. Matthews; Co. D, Cpt. Frank Jordan; Co. E, Cpt. Ferguson; Co. F, Cpt Alexander Byrne; Four of the companies were taken from the early regiment commanded by Col. Marsh Walker when he was promoted brigadier general. Before its completion as a regiment, six companies were sent to the defense of Fort Henry on the Tennessee River where they were part of the garrison when a fleet of gunboats and Grant's federal Army of the Tennessee attacked. Fort Henry being nearly flooded, the infantry regiments in the garrison (including the 15th Arkansas) were sent overland to reinforce neighboring Fort Donelson on the Cumberland River while the heavy artillery batteries fought it out with the gunboats to cover their movement. At the following assault by Grant and the gunboats on Fort Donelson, the 15th Arkansas was distinguished for their valor. They manned the heavy guns until these were burst or dismounted, and then led in a sortie in the snow and sleet against the Federal trenches which were in the course of construction in their front.They took the first line of works, suffering great loss - at least one fourth of the regiment. Cpt. Frank Jordan was among the slain, and Adjutant Ben W. Johnson among the wounded. The remaining men and officers were made prisoners in the "unconditional surrender". The enlisted men were sent to POW camps at Camp Butler; the officers to Fort Warren. Lt. Col. John C. Wright escaped, and returning to Arkansas, was appointed as a colonel of cavalry under General Hindman and later commanded a brigade in the Camden Expedition. The other officers were exchanged in the fall of 1862, and the regiment was reorganized at Jackson, MS on October 16, 1862 under Colonel Ben W. Johnson, Lt. Col. P.L. Lee, Maj. W.E. Steward, and Adjutant J.E. Baker. The captains on reorganization were Co. A, Cpt. John Stevenson; Co. B, Cpt. Joseph Daniels; Co. C, Cpt. James Franklin; Co. D, Cpt. John Hubbard; Co. E, Cpt. Ed Wilson; Co.F, Cpt. William Walker; Co. G, Cpt. Albert Reed; Co. H, Cpt. Wilkerson; Co. I, Cpt. L.W. Matthews; and Co. K, Cpt. McClung.
The regiment after reorganization was sent south to Louisiana to resist federal General Nathaniel Banks' operations, and fought in many minor engagements - Cross Landing, Greenfield, Plum's Store, and with the 1st Alabama and 13th Mississippi, engaged at Keller's Lane a largely superior force of Federals, whom they routed, taking many prisoners and valuable stores. The regiment was called into the fortifications of Port Hudson when this strongpoint was attacked by Banks and elements of the U.S. Navy. Captain Reed, of Co. G, was killed on May 29, 1863; Captain Hubbard, of Company D, was killed the same day. Within a day or two, Captain Stevenson died of wounds received. Captain E. Wilson died from concussion of the brain, caused by his being struck by a shell. The regiment, though not serving in the wider filed of conflict, contained some of the finest fighting material, proved its patience, and suffered and was exposed as much as any in the Confederate service. The 15th Arkansas went into the works at Port Hudson with 484 men; it emerged on the surrender of that place with only 92 survivors. Exchanged in the fall of 1863, the few survivors were consolidated with the 19th Arkansas Infantry in November 1863, and were further consolidated with the remnants of the 20th and Dawson's - Hardy's Consolidated Infantry Regiment late in September, 1864 to form the 3rd Consolidated Infantry Regiment, Trans-Mississippi Dept.