The 1st Arkansas Mounted Rifles (1861–1865) was a Confederate Army cavalry regiment during the American Civil War. Of the Arkansas Confederate units formed during the war, only the 3rd Arkansas saw more combat action than the 1st Mounted Rifles.
At the outbreak of the Civil War, Arkansas formed some 48 infantry regiments, and a number of cavalry units. With the exception of the 3rd Arkansas, all of the Arkansas units would sign one year enlistments, thus leading to assignments in what was referred to as the "western theater", due to most of the large scale battles being fought in the east. The 1st Arkansas Mounted Rifles would sign one year enlistments, then later would sign a "three year or the duration of the war" extension.
First organized in Little Rock, Arkansas on June 16, 1861, the regiment was initially commanded by Colonel Thomas J. Churchill. The regiment was composed of the following volunteer companies:
- Co. A, Chicot Rangers, Capt. Daniel H. Reynolds;
- Co. B, Des Arc Rangers, Capt. John S. Pearson;
- Co. C, Johnson Rifles, Capt. Oliver Basham;
- Co. D, Augusta Guards, Capt. Charles H. Matlock;
- Co. E, Lawrence County Rifles, Capt. Zachariah P. McAlexander;
- Co. F, Pulaski Rangers, Capt. Thomas J. Churchill;
- Co. G, Napoleon Rifles, Capt. John L. Porter;
- Co. H, Yell County Rifles, Capt. Thomas J. Daniel;
- Co. I, McCulloch Rangers, Capt. Robert W. Harper;
- Co. K, Independence Rifles, Capt. William E. Gibbs;
The regiment was first attached to General Benjamin McCulloch's Brigade. By August, they were on the move toward Springfield, Missouri, where they first saw action in the Battle of Wilson's Creek. Following that battle, the regiment was dispatched to Indian Territory to battle the Native American pro-Union Cherokee soldiers. They served in that capacity from September through October 1861. They were then sent to Corinth, Mississippi, where they joined with massing Confederate forces.
On March 6, 1862, the regiment was engaged during the Battle of Pea Ridge, then again during the Battle of Richmond. They were dismounted in the spring of 1862, and fought the remainder of the war as infantry. Following Colonel Churchill's promotion to Major General, the regiment was placed under the command of General Kirby Smith. Following this they saw action near Richmond, Kentucky. After the Battle of Perryville, Smith's forces were merged with the Army of Tennessee under General Braxton Bragg. Shortly thereafter, they fought in the Battle of Murfreesboro, then were sent south to help relieve Confederate forces during the Siege of Vicksburg. They would remain a part of the Army of Tennessee for the remainder of the war, seeing action during the Battle of Chickamauga and the Battle of Chattanooga, with their last major action being during the Battle of Franklin.
Consolidation and Surrender
on April 9, 1865, the depleted Arkansas regiments of D. H. Reynolds' Brigade, Walthall's Division, Confederate Army of Tennessee, were consolidated into a single regiment the 1st Arkansas Consolidated Mounted Rifles, at Smithfield, North Carolina. The companies of the consolidated regiment were consolidated from the following Arkansas regiments:
- Company A—1st Arkansas Mounted Rifles.
- Company B—1st Arkansas Mounted Rifles.
- Company C—2nd Arkansas Mounted Rifles.
- Company D—2nd Arkansas Mounted Rifles.
- Company E—4th Arkansas Infantry.
- Company F—4th Arkansas Infantry.
- Company G—31st Arkansas Infantry.
- Company H—9th Arkansas Infantry.
- Company I—9th Arkansas Infantry.
- Company K—25th Arkansas Infantry.
The 1st Arkansas Consolidated Mounted Rifles surrendered with the Army of Tennessee at Greensboro, North Carolina, April 26, 1865. The 1st Arkansas Consolidated Mounted Rifles was paroled on May 1, 1865, at Jamestown, North Carolina.