6th Arkansas Infantry Regiment

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Field & Staff--Unassigned

The 6th Arkansas Infantry Regiment was organized at Little Rock on June 10, 1861 with the election of Col. Richard Lyon as Colonel, A.T. Hawthorn as Lt. Col., and D. L. Kilgore as Major. C.A. Bridewell was appointed adjutant and John F. Ritchie as adjutant. Company commanders were Co. A, the "Capital Guards" of Little Rock, Cpt. Gordon N. Peay; Co. B, the "Dallas Volunteer Rifles" of Calhoun county, Cpt. P.H. Echols; Co. C, the "Dallas Rifles", Cpt. F.J. Cameron; Co. D, the "Ouachita Voyageurs" of Ouachita county, Cpt. J.W.  Kingswell; Co. E, the "Dixie Grays" of Arkansas county, Cpt. Sam G. Smith; Co. F, the "Lafayette Guards" of Lafayette county, Cpt. Sam H. Dill; Co. G, the "Columbia Guards" of Magnolia county, Cpt. J.W. Austin; Co. H, the "City Guards"of Camden, Cpt. S.H. Southerland; Co. I, the "Lisbon Invincibles" of Union county, Cpt. Sam Turner; and Co. K, the "Ouachita Grays" of Ouachita county, Cpt. Hope T. Hodnett.

After the organization, the regiment marched on June 19th overland to Pocahontas. Measles broke out in camp, and a great many died here. In September, 1861, the regiment was transferred to Confederate service in the brigade (consisting of the 2nd, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th Arkansas Infantry regiments) commanded by Brig. Gen. William J. Hardee. Company B, as well as a number of individual soldiers from the other companies, declined to enlist for Confederate service here, and were released. After a raid into Missouri, the 6th Arkansas returned to camp at Pittman’s Ferry, on Current River. The latter part of September, 1861, the brigade was moved to southeast Missouri, and thence by boat to Columbus, KY, arriving on October 3. From there, it was sent to Cave City, Barren county, KY, where it spent the winter of 1861. While camped at Cave City, the 6th Arkansas smelled its first powder, and a deep companionship with Terry’s Texas Rangers and Swett’s Mississippi Battery was formed in a skirmish with a Union patrol. Colonel Lyon was killed in an accident on October 10, 1861, while supervising the crossing of the regiment over the Tennessee River, when his horse fell over a precipice with him. Lt. Col. Alexander T. Hawthorn succeeded to Colonel in his place. On December 17th, the 6th Arkansas supported the 8th Texas Cavalry (Terry’s Texas Rangers) and Swett’s Mississippi Battery in a skirmish at Woodsonville, KY, when Colonel Terry was killed. The regiment occupied this advanced position until the fall of Fort Donelson, when it moved with the remainder of the army to Corinth, Mississippi under General Albert Sydney Johnston. BG Hardee having been promoted to Major General, Col. T.C. Hindman of the 2nd Arkansas was promoted to brigadier general and the brigade command until he was promoted to major general, and Col. R.G. Shaver was appointed as his successor. Col. Shaver commanded the brigade gallantly at the vicious battle of Shiloh, General Hindman commanding the division. When Corinth was evacuated, the brigade retreated to Tupelo, MS where it remained until July, 1862. Then the 6th Arkansas was sent to Chattanooga, TN, with General Bragg, and from there on to the Kentucky campaign. It was present when 4,500 Federals surrendered at Munfordville, KY, and was in the line at Perryville, when Adjutant Sampson Harris, of Company A, was mortally wounded. Sergeant W.W. Carter of Company A was promoted to lieutenant and succeeded Harris as adjutant. Before the regiment had left Corinth, approximately 200 men of the 12th Arkansas which had escaped from Island No. 10 were organized into two companies and attached to the 6th Arkansas. In December, at Shelbyville, TN, these two companies were returned to their own regiment as the 12th Arkansas had been exchanged by that time. Casualties at the battle of Perryville had already weakened the regiment, as well as decimating the 7th Arkansas, so the 6th and 7th Arkansas regiments were consolidated into one unit on December 15, 1862. The regiment was heavily engaged at the battle of Murfreesboro, TN (Stones River) on December 31, 1862, through January 2, 1863; and in the spring advanced to Bellbuckle, where it remained until June 24, 1863, when it was hastily ordered to the front to Liberty Gap, where it found and reinforced the 5th Arkansas in dealing with a large Union force. It retreated from middle Tennessee to south of the Tennessee River, and went into camp at Chickamauga Station, a few miles south of Chattanooga, and remained there until about the 1st of September, when Bragg began maneuvering for the battle of Chickamauga. The regiment was engaged, actually, or in line of battle, all through the Georgia campaign , at Tunnel Hill, the Atlanta Campaign and the defenses of Atlanta where they, along with the rest of Govan's Brigade, were captured en masse near Jonesboro, GA. They were exchanged three weeks later, and rejoined the Army of Tennessee at Palmetto, GA. and were at the battles of Spring Hill, Franklin, and Nashville, TN. The survivors were consolidated into a single regiment, the 3rd Confederate Infantry Regiment, Consolidated, containing the survivors of the 1st, 2nd, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 13th, 15th, Dawson's 19th, and 24th Arkansas and the 3rd Confederate Infantry at the last reorganization of the Army of Tennessee at Smithfield, NC on April 9, 1865, only to be surrendered with General Johnston's army near Greensboro, NC on April 26, 1865. Of the nearly 1000 men mustered with the regiment, only about 150 remained with the colors at the surrender.

Officers: Col Richard Lyon. Field Officers: Lt.Col (later Col.) Alexander T. Hawthorn, Maj. F. J. Cameron, Maj. William F. Douglas, Maj. J.B. Gordon, Maj. Dawson L. Kilgore, Lt. Col. Gordon N. Peay, Maj. (later Lt. Col. and Col.) Samuel G. Smith.

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