Battle of Catlett’s and Treadwell’s Plantations

(Bogue Chitto Creek) and

Livingston (Robinson’s Mills),

in Mississippi, October 16-18, 1863

A Regimental History of the

Eleventh Arkansas Infantry Regiment


Poe’s Cavalry Battalion C.S.A., 1861-1865

The skirmishing actions described above by Colonel John L. Logan in his battle report were part of the attempted check against the Federal forces of Major General James B. McPherson during his so-called Canton Expedition of October, 1863. A column consisting of two infantry divisions (Logan’s and Tuttle’s) and Winslow’s Cavalry Brigade -- a total of considerably more than 8,000 men -- crossed the Big Black River at Messinger’s Ferry on the main road to Canton. As described above by Colonel Logan, the massive Federal force first clashed with Wirt Adams’ force one mile west of Brownsville on the evening of October 15.

Opposite Colonel Logan’s Brigade, including the 11th & 17th Consolidated Arkansas Infantry (Mounted) commanded by Colonel John Griffith, outside Brownsville and at Catlett’s Plantation on October 16, 1863 were the following Yankee units the 4th Illinois Cavalry, 5th Illinois Cavalry, 11th Illinois Cavalry, 4th Iowa Cavalry, and 10th Missouri Cavalry. Near Brownsville at daybreak of October 16, Colonel Griffith’s 11th & 17th Consolidated Arkansas Regiment was dismounted and placed in advance of Logan’s main force as skirmishers; this within a thicket of woods on the Federal’s right side. This position was abandoned by Colonel Griffith and his men when it was learned that the Federals had sent an entire infantry brigade plus artillery to support their cavalry.

Simultaneously, Major General McPherson had deployed additional forces towards the south, near Treadwell’s Plantation, endangering the Confederate’s rear. Colonel Logan then had Colonel Griffith and the 11th/17th Arkansas Infantry pull back to Bogue Chitto Creek, literally in yard of Mr. Catlett’s house; this next phase of the day’s action occurred roughly between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Here the men of the 11th and 17th Arkansas were deployed north of Mr. Catlett’s house, along a rise on the east side of Bogue Chitto Creek. Their Yankee adversaries during this action were again the 4th Illinois Cavalry, 5th Illinois Cavalry, 11th Illinois Cavalry, 4th Iowa Cavalry, and 10th Missouri Cavalry. Again, the Federal cavalry once again disengaged and rapidly headed toward Canton until it reached the intersection of the Clinton and Vernon roads. Under CSA General W. H. Jackson’s orders, Logan also disengaged his command, including the 11th/17th Arkansas Infantry, and headed northeast to intercept the Federal troopers.

After traveling about 5 miles, Logan’s force found CSA General Whitfield’s Brigade deployed across the Canton road where Bogue Chitto Creek crosses it at the Treadwell Plantation. Whitfield asked for assistance and Logan obliged, deploying his brigade for this last phase (2:00 p.m. to dark) of the day’s action. Here, the men of Colonel John Griffith’s 11th and 17th Consolidated Arkansas Infantry were once again dismounted and deployed; this time, on the south side of the Canton road, next to the 9th Tennessee Battalion and slightly southeast of Mr. Treadwell’s house. Once again, the 11th/17th Arkansas Infantry was positioned on a rise overlooking Bogue Chitto Creek to the west; the advancing Yankees moved in from the west along the Canton road. The persistent 4th Illinois Cavalry, 5th Illinois Cavalry, 11th Illinois Cavalry, 4th Iowa Cavalry, and 10th Missouri Cavalry were once again their opponents.

After an abortive attempt to advance around 6:30 p.m., the Yankee horsemen retreated and waited for the rest of McPherson’s force to come up. Included not only the cavalry units previously mentioned, but also Batteries D and E, 1st Illinois Light Artillery; Battery L, 2d Illinois Light Artillery; 8th, 17th, 20th, 30th, 31st, 45th, 47th, 81st, 114th, and 124th Illinois Infantries; 6th Indiana Independent Battery Light Artillery; 93rd Indiana Infantry; 2d Iowa Battery Light Artillery; 8th, 12th, and 35th Iowa Infantries; Battery H 1st Michigan Light Artillery; 5th Minnesota Infantry; 7th and 11th Missouri Infantries; 3d Ohio Independent Battery Light Artillery; 20th, 32d, 68th, 72d, 78th, and 95th Ohio Infantries; and the 8th Wisconsin Infantry. Against this massive, overpowering force, Colonel Logan was ordered to withdraw his brigade, including the 11th/17th Arkansas Infantry, at dawn the next morning and reform approximately 1.5 miles west of Livingston, near Robinson’s Mills.

Here, defending a strong position at Robinson’s Mills with part of CSA General Whitfield’s Brigade, Logan’s Brigade including Colonel John Griffith’s 11th and 17th Consolidated Arkansas Infantry skirmished through early morning with their now well-known foes in the 4th Illinois Cavalry, 5th Illinois Cavalry, 11th Illinois Cavalry, 4th Iowa Cavalry, and the 10th Missouri Cavalry until about 10:00 a.m. At that time, their Yankee adversaries made a general advance upon their position on the high-ground and deployed on the north side of the Canton road; both Roberts’ and Swindoll’s artillery batteries opened upon them and the Federals quickly withdrew.

As Colonel Logan documents in his report above, his brigade was then ordered to pursue the now withdrawing Federals first to Clinton, then to Bolton’s Depot, Edwards’ Depot, Champion’s Hill, and finally to the Big Black River. A long, exhausting campaign of skirmishing for Colonel Logan and his men, including the 11th and 17th Consolidated Arkansas Infantry (Mounted) was finally finished -- his total casualties were light, only 6 slightly wounded. According to Dyer’s Compendium (Volume 1), the total losses for Federal Major-General McPherson’s massive force during his Canton Expedition were 5 killed, 15 wounded, and 10 missing.

After this campaign, Colonel John Logan received leave to journey to Richmond, Virginia in order to request that his old regiment, the 11th Arkansas Infantry, be transferred to CSA General Sterling Price’s command. During his absence, Colonel John Griffith of the 11th and 17th Consolidated Arkansas Infantry was in command of the brigade. During this time, Colonel Griffith’s Brigade consisted of the following units: 11th and 17th Arkansas Infantry (Mounted), 14th Confederate Cavalry, 9th Louisiana Battalion, 9th Tennessee Battalion, Stockdale’s Mississippi Battalion, Wilbourn’s Mississippi Battalion, and Robert’s Mississippi Battery. `

Colonel John Griffith commanded this cavalry brigade until November 23, 1863 when the newly promoted Brigadier-General Wirt Adams was given Logan’s former command. During this time, Colonel Griffith received Special Order No. 235, dated November 4, 1863: directing him to send a 100-man squadron of cavalry to burn the grounded Federal gunboat USS Indianola and bring in any Negroes on area plantations. It is unclear whether or not these directives were accomplished.