21st Arkansas Infantry Regiment










The 21st Arkansas Infantry Regiment was organized at Corinth, Mississippi on May 14, 1862 by consolidating the remnants of McCarver's 14th Arkansas Infantry and Lemoyne's 17th Arkansas, and giving the consolidated regiment a new number. Field officers were Colonel Jordan E. Cravens, Lt. Col. William G. Matheny, and Majors William M. Dowdle and Harrison Moore. Their initial assignment was to BG Albert Rust's Brigade in Van Dorn's Army of the West, where they participated in the initial defenses of Corinth and were assigned to Cabell's Brigade for the remanider of the Corinth campaign in the spring and summer of 1862 and in the Battle of Corinth on October 3-4, 1862. After Corinth, the regiment served briefly in Craven's Brigade in eastern Louisiana near Port Hudson. Assigned to Green's Brigade in January 1863, the 21st Arkansas joined the defenses of the approaches to Vicksburg, and joined the garrison fortifying Grand Gulf on the Mississippi River below Vicksburg. On April 29, 1863, Admiral David Porter's fleet of gunboats bombarded Grand Gulf in an attempt to clear the position in preparation for Grant's amphibious crossing of the Mississippi. Repulsed by the strong position and batteries at Grand Gulf, Grant moved further downstream to cross at Bruinsburg, flanking the Grand Gulf garrison out of their position. Marching to block the Union advance, Green's Brigade and the 21st Arkansas joined Confederate forces at the battles of Port Gibson on May 1, at Champion Hill and the Big Black River bridge on May 16 and 17, respectively, and was besieged at Vicksburg from May 19 until July 4, 1863. Surrendered with the Vicksburg garrison, the survivors of the regiment were paroled there later that month. The 21st Arkansas was not reformed after the Vicksburg surrender, however many of its survivors made their way back to Arkansas where they were formed, with survivors of Mitchell's-Power's 14th Arkansas, the 15th Northwest, and the 16th Arkansas to form the 1st Trans-Mississippi Infantry Regiment (Consolidated) in January, 1864.

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