Our Family Genealogy Pages

Home Page  |  Surnames  |  Search  |  Photos  |  Headstones  |  Forum  |  What's New

Robert THOMPSON[1]

Male 1839 - 1864  (24 years)

Personal Information    |    Media    |    Notes    |    Sources    |    Event Map    |    All    |    PDF

  • Name Robert THOMPSON 
    Born 3 Dec 1839  Tipton Co., Tennessee, United States Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Military 17 Jun 1862  Camden, Ark. Find all individuals with events at this location 

    1Sgt - Age 22. Enl 17 Jun 1862 at Camden, AR. Belonged to 1st AR Vols, Co A. Detained and attached to this regt.

    Died 30 Apr 1864  CSA - Killed battle of Jenkin's Ferry, Grant Co., Arkansas Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I770  Prichard - Thompson Genealogy
    Last Modified 15 Jul 2009 

    Father John THOMPSON,   b. 11 Nov 1810, South Carolina, United States Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1 Aug 1890, Tipton Co., Tennessee, United States Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 79 years) 
    Mother Jane SIMONTON,   b. 30 Nov 1820, Chester Co., South Carolina, United States Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 17 Sep 1843, Tipton Co., Tennessee, United States Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 22 years) 
    John Thompson family bible. Printed 1842.
    John Thompson family bible. Printed 1842.
    John and Jane Simonton Thompson headstone
    John and Jane Simonton Thompson headstone
    Salem ARP Cemetery, Tipton, Tennessee
    Family ID F58  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 3 Dec 1839 - Tipton Co., Tennessee, United States Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMilitary - COMPANY B 33RD ARKANSAS INFANTRY REGIMENT CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA 1Sgt - Age 22. Enl 17 Jun 1862 at Camden, AR. Belonged to 1st AR Vols, Co A. Detained and attached to this regt. http://www.couchgenweb.com/civilwar/33rdcob.html - 17 Jun 1862 - Camden, Ark. Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 30 Apr 1864 - CSA - Killed battle of Jenkin's Ferry, Grant Co., Arkansas Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 
    Pin Legend  : Address       : Location       : City/Town       : County/Shire       : State/Province       : Country       : Not Set

  • Documents
    1850 US Census - Simonton
    1850 US Census - Simonton
    Year: 1850; Census Place: District 7, Tipton, Tennessee; Roll: M432_897; Page: 342; Image: 680.

    NARA M317. Compiled service records of Confederate soldiers from Arkansas units.
    NARA M317. Compiled service records of Confederate soldiers from Arkansas units.
    Military Unit: Thirty-third Infantry, O-V
    Surname Starts With: T
    Givenname: Robert
    Surname: Thompson
    Age: 22
    Year: 1862
    Confederate monument at Jenkins Ferry, Ark.
    Confederate monument at Jenkins Ferry, Ark.
    Will of Robert Simonton, Sr
    Will of Robert Simonton, Sr
    Will Book B pages 5-7, Covington, Tipton, Tennesee, US

    Oakland Cemetery, Camden Arkansas
    Oakland Cemetery, Camden Arkansas
    Following the battles of Poison Spring, Marks Mill, and Jenkins Ferry, the bodies of the fallen Confederate soldiers were carried by wagons to places of burial. Many were brought to Camden and placed in the "Old Cemetery", or Oakland, in a central burial place. Some 22 years later, the confederate Monument was erected by the citizens of Camden and unveiled by Mrs. A. A. Tufts on May 29, 1886. There are some 250 stone makers surrounding the monument, most of them inside a chain enclosure. Thirty-eight of the markers have the names of the soldiers who are buried there, and the rest are marked "Unknown Confederate soldier".

  • Notes 
    • The battle of Jenkins Ferry, Ark. 30 Apr 1864.

      In Camden, General Steele had to decide what was to be done before his command was immobilized by a breakdown in transportation and the consumption of his few remaining supplies. There seemed to be but one alternative to starvation and capture-an immediate retreat to Little Rock.

      Early on April 26, 1864, Steele slipped out of Camden toward Little Rock. He chose to follow the Camden Trail which crossed the Saline River at Jenkins' Ferry. The road was built before 1836 and served as one of the five main or "trunk roads" in Arkansas.

      By 9 AM on April 27, upon learning that Steele had left Camden, the Confederate Army, under Generals E. Kirby Smith and Sterling Price, occupied the city and headed north after the Union column. If a Confederate force could get ahead of Steele and cut him off before he reached the Jenkin's Ferry on the Saline River, perhaps the entire army could be destroyed.

      On April 29, 1864, after three days of forced marching through heavy rains, Steele arrived in Sandy Springs (now the community of Leola). Here he found formidable opposition, not from the approaching Confederates, but from the flooded river which lay in his path:

      On either side of the Saline River was a low, marshy swamp covered in varying depths of water. Rain had been falling for several hours and the road which followed Cox Creek to the river was a sea of mud.

      The river was rising rapidly and Cox Creek was bank full. On either side of the swamp, ridges of high ground provided a sense of security before plunging onto the muddy road below.

      Colonel Aldoph Engleman, a Union brigade commander, described the area in his diary:

      The ground, with the exception of an open field near the road, was a majestic forest growing out of the swamp which was very difficult to pass through on horseback, the infantry being most of the time in the water up to their knees.

      Confederate General Mosby M. Parsons wrote:

      The road descended from the high lands to the valley of the Saline River. To the front was a plowed field about a quarter of a mile square which was flanked on the south and east by heavy timber. Still farther to the front and about a quarter of a mile was another field about the same dimension as the first, an intervening strip of woods separating the two. This field, as the first, was bounded on the south and east all the way to the river by heavy woods and wet marshes.

      It was into this swamp that Steele's ill-fated wagon train was forced to enter. An India rubber pontoon bridge was set up at the ferry site and the army began to cross, one wagon at a time. Because of the heavy weight of the wagons and the poor condition of the road, the train bogged down in the mire stretching all the way from Sandy Springs to the river. Despite this difficulty, Steele managed to get his cavalry, artillery, and most of his wagons across the Saline River by 8 AM. It was at this point that the Confederates arrived on the scene.

      Steele immediately sent his men back down the Camden Trail to the rear of the slowly moving train to engage the enemy. The Battle of Jenkins' Ferry had begun.

      R.M. Rogers, a Confederate soldier who later became treasurer of Grant County, remembers his April 30th encounter with Steele's Federals:

      Our army had reached a small house about two miles from Jenkins' Ferry. This is known as the Jiles Farm. We were ordered into a line of battle. This gave an opportunity for reflection. My thoughts went back to my childhood. When these thoughts passed through my mind I then thought of my present condition, a poor soldier worn out by fatigue of hard marching through heavy rain, mud and water without a moment's rest, suffering from hunger, now standing in battle rank waiting for orders to move into a dreadful battle. Tears came streaming down my cheeks. I could restrain my feelings no longer. Just as we were about to move forward I took a small piece of old bread for my breakfast and marched down into that dreadful conflict.

      Steele's rear guard collided with Smith's Confederates in the Jiles' Field. The Confederates launched a series of violent but piecemeal attacks along the entire Federal line. As the train slowly moved across the pontoon bridge at Jenkins' Ferry, the battle moved from field to field along the Camden Trail toward the Saline River.

      Lieutenant Colonel Aldoph Dingler of the 43rd Illinois reported the action:

      We poured volley ofter volley into the thick masses of the enemy. After firing had lasted some half on hour, the smoke became so dense, waving like a thick fog between the dark trees over the swampy ground, that it was impossible to see anything at a distance of 20 yards.

      Colonel John A. Garrett of the 40th Iowa Infantry described the battle on the part of the Union Army:

      I moved my command forward against the advancing Confederates; the line now advancing, making short halts, then moving forward. After advancing a short distance we began to pass over the enemy dead. My men moved right on with a shout, pouring a well-directed fire on the retreating enemy. My men, out of cartridges,now resupplied themselves from boxes brought in on horseback which they opened with their boyonets. The battle was fought in a swamp covered by a heavy forest. Mud and sheets of water were everywhere.

      My men held their ground, firing from 60 to 200 rounds each. I may state that my men had drawn no bread for five days. They had a coffee supper on the night of the 29th and a coffee breakfast.

      As Smith's Confederates continued to push down the Camden Trail through the muddy woods, they met stubborn resistance. A Confederate private with Walker's Texas Division related:

      An incessant roar of musketry prevailed for about six hours. During this time the tide of battle ebbed and flowed, now advancing then retreating, but at no time did the ground fought over vary more than about 250 yards. Owing to the dense fog and dense clouds of smoke which hung in the thick woods, many times opposing lines could only be discovered by the flash of their muskets.

      Had we received reinforcements we could have destroyed the entire train and perhaps have captured the entire army. The Federal troops fought well and were handled in a masterly manner.

      It was in the Jiles, Cooper and Kelley fields that both sides sustained most of their casualties. Generals as well as privates fell on both sides. Confederate Brigadier General William R. Scurry fell on the field. Colonel and acting brigade commander Horace Randal, Colonel Hiram Lane Grinstead of the 33rd Arkansas Infantry, and Union General Samuel A. Rice were mortally wounded.

      A Confederate private remembered the battlefield after the fighting ceased:

      After the battle a detail of men were employed in burying the dead. Armed with shovel, pick ax, and spade they proceeded albng the road to complete this mournful task which the enemy was unable to accomplish.

      The ground was thickly strewn with ghastly, mangled forms. It was almost too horrible for human endurance. No conception of the imagination, no power of human language could do justice to such a horrible scene.

      The Union Army, by this time, had managed to cross the river at Jenkins' Ferry. Steele destroyed his India rubber pontoon bridge and floated it down the river. Unfortunately, the bottom on the north side of the river was worse and the train promptly bogged down again. The Confederates were unable to immediately cross the river giving Steele needed time for his retreat.

      By abandoning those wagons stuck in the mud, the train managed to reach the security of the high ground north of the river. Moving hurriedly from the high ground toward Little Rock, Steele ordered all unnecessary baggage destroyed. Wagons, ammunition, clothing and other supplies were dumped along the road. Whenever a wagon was fired or struck, most all of its contents were thrown into the water and mud.

      A veteran of the Jenkin's Ferry battle remembered this phase of the expidition:

      All along the road for miles were burning wagons, their contents thrown over a wide area. If all the cartridges that were sown that day should bear fruit, even sixty-fold, there would never be peace anymore.

      Despite Confederate resistance and the poor conditions of the road, the Union Army arrived in Little Rock on May 3rd. General Steele was now out of danger, but he had paid a high price for the consolation. He had lost 635 wagons, 2,500 horses and mules, and 2,750 casualties in the campaign. He had emplyed about 4,000 men in the Battle of Jenkin's Ferry. Of those about 800 were killed or wounded.

      The Red River Expidition was over. The Arkansas and Louisiana phases had been failures. Banks was pushed back into Louisiana and Steele was driven back in Arkansas. The Southwest region of Arkansas remained in Confederate hands until the end of the war.

    • Report of Brig. Gen. James C. Tappan, C.S. Army, commanding brigade, of engagement at Jerkins'' Ferry

      Hdqrs. Tappan's Brig., Churchill's Div.,
      In the Field, May 2, 1864.

      Lieutenant: I have the honor to make the following report of the part taken by my brigade in the engagement which occurred on April 30 at Jenkins' Ferry, on Saline River some 45 miles from Little Rock, Ark. : When we returned from Louisiana the enemy occupied Camden. They evacuated it on the night of April 26, and our forces took possession of it the next day. Thursday morning we crossed the river at Camden in pursuit of the enemy. Owing to the delay in crossing we only went 14 miles that day. We continued the pursuit on Friday, marching some 25 miles, and within 12 miles of Jenkins' Ferry. At 12 o'clock that night we resumed our march and continued it until we arrived within a mile of the Saline Bottom, when we halted and built fires to warm and dry the men. It had rained Friday evening and nearly all that night. The men were very wet and the roads quite muddy.

      My brigade consisted of Grinsted's regiment, commanded by Col. H.L. Grinsted; Dawson's and Portlock's (consolidated) regiments, commanded by Lieut. Col. W.R. Hardy, and Shaver's and Gaither's (consolidated) regiments, commanded by Col. R.G. Shaver. We had hardly finished building fires before we were ordered to advance. By this time the cavalry skirmishers had engaged those of the enemy. On reaching the brow of the hill, at the edge of the bottom, I was ordered by Brigadier-General Churchill, commanding the division, to deploy my brigade as skirmishers and move forward at once and attack the enemy, who were posted in our front from a half to three-quarters of a mile. I instantly did as directed, selecting one company from each regiment as a reserve. As I was forming the line a subsequent order directed me to select Grinsted's regiment also as a reserve, which I did. I immediately moved forward with the other two regiments. We passed through a field and came to another field about 300 yards long. As we reached the end of this field the enemy commenced firing upon us. I advanced rapidly upon them, my line being so arranged that Lieutenant-Colonel Hardy's command was thrown into the field, with Colonel Shaver's command on his right, his left reaching to the edge of the field. The enemy skirmishers were posted on a line about the center of the field, their line of battle being in the woods at the end of the same. My command drove in the skirmishers and became heavily and hotly engaged with their main line. Finding the force of the enemy much greater than was represented, I ordered Colonel Grinsted to move forward with his regiment to my support. As Colonel Grinsted came upon my line the enemy opened on us with an increased fire, and very heavily pressed my line. It was at this time that Colonel Grinsted was shot dead while gallantly leading his regiment forward.

      I sent word to Brigadier-General Churchill of the condition of affairs, and that re-enforcement's were needed to enable me to sustain my position. In a short time General Hawthorn came forward with his brigade and formed my line on his right. Calling in my men who had been acting as skirmishers, I first engaged the enemy about 8 o'clock. From that time until Brigadier-General Hawthorn's brigade came up some half to three-quarters of an hour elapsed. About 10.30 o'clock Brigadier General Parsons' (Missouri) division came upon the field. About 11.330 o'clock I received orders to retire with my brigade. As I went off I met Major-General Walker's (Texas) division advancing to engage the enemy. About12.30 o'clock we returned to the field with the balance of Brigadier-General Churchill's division, and remained there heavily engaging the enemy until 1.30 o'clock, at which time the enemy fled, leaving his dead and wounded on the field and destroying his pontoon bridge after crossing the river. This ended one of the most hotly contested engagements of the war. For full six hours the battle raged with vehemence unsurpassed, my brigade having been engaged at least five out of the six hours.

      I cannot speak too highly of the gallantry and bravery of my officers and men. They never hesitated to go wherever ordered, at one time charging through an open field upon the enemy protected and posted behind logs and trees. In the death of Col. H.L. Grinsted the army has lost a brave and gallant officer, the country a good and useful citizen. To Colonel Shaver, Lieutenant-Colonel Hardy, and Lieutenant-Colonel Thompson, who commanded Grinsted's regiment after the fall of its colonel, I am deeply indebted for the promptness with which they obeyed my orders and for the gallantry and zeal they manifested upon the field in the engagement of their commands. No officers could have acted with more coolness, bravery and determination than they did, for which they deserve well of their country.

      I am under great obligations to the members of my staff, Capt. Amos Tappan, Capt. J. J. Horner, Lieut. W.P. McCabe, and Lieut. C.E. Mitchell. They bore themselves with gallantry and rendered me great assistance. The same may be said of my volunteer aides William F. Sale and E.E. Ives, of Arkansas.

      My loss was as follows: Three officers killed and 11 wounded; 30 men killed and 100 wounded.

      I herewith send reports of Colonel Shaver and of Lieutenant-Colonels Hardy and Thomson.

      Very respectfully, Your obedient servant,

      J. C. TAPPAN,
      Brigadier-General, Commanding Brigade.

      Lieut. A. H. SEVIER,
      Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

  • Sources 
    1. [S10] 1850 United States Federal Census, Bureau of the Census, (United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Seventh Census of the United States, 1850. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1850. M432, 1,009 rolls.) (Reliability: 2).
      Year: 1850; Census Place: District 7, Tipton, Tennessee; Roll: M432_897; Page: 342; Image: 680.