On the 25th of October in 1863, two Federal cavalry regiments of about 600 men, garrisoned the town of Pine Bluff, Arkansas. General John S. Marmaduke’s Confederate cavalry had been sent out on a series of raids, retreating to Camden, in the southern part of the state. Early in the day Marmaduke’s forces attacked the garrison at Pine Bluff. The Confederate attacking force was estimated at 2,500 men, larger than the Union garrison.
Marmaduke’s men swept through the town of Pine Bluff. Colonel Powell Clayton, commander of the garrison, had fortified the courthouse with cotton bales and the greatly outnumbered Federal cavalrymen held off the Confederate attack. Marmaduke decided not to assault the Federal stronghold, fearing it would have cost him 500 of his men. He’d already captured 250 horses and mules and destroyed at least 600 bales of cotton.
Marmaduke’s reported losses were 40 men killed and wounded. Federal losses reported were 16 dead and 39 wounded. Clayton captured 33 prisoners. Both sides felt satisfied with the results of the battle. Clayton’s men were officially praised for their bravery by General Steele, the Federal commander at Little Rock, and Marmaduke had carried out a reasonably successful raid.
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