ruin the evening, the remaining Officers of the 87TH attended the “ball.” Although the ladies present were reported to be courteous and handsomely dressed, they appeared to be more worried about the safety of their horses and mules (from the 87th) than upon the social aspects of the occasion.
During this time frame the regiment appeared to be well equipped as reports show a high ratio of horses to soldier, this being at a time when cavalry units were having difficulties finding mounts.
On January 4, 1865 the regiment moved to Helena, Arkansas and went into camp, performing scouting operations. On January 10, 1865 the regiment lost one man killed at Coahoma County, Mississippi. On February 7, 1865, with three days’ rations, the regiment started on a march of 300 miles toward Jacksonport, Arkansas and to Helena Arkansas. The regiment was assigned to the District of Eastern Arkansas, 7th Corps, where it remained doing scouting service until mustered out on June 16, 1865 at Helena Arkansas by Captain Newcomb.
Captain Willis , on February 10, 1865, commanded a small force, took Confederate gunfire from a Mr. George house, which they set on fire to dislodge the Confederate forces. During this engagement one man was killed and three wounded from the 87th. Captain Willis’ force captured three prisoners from the 23RD and 44TH Mississippi regiments/
Typical of some of the scouting missions the 87th embarked upon during this time frame from Colonel Crebs’ report of 11 February 1865, which is quoted in his report: “General: In obedience to your orders to me dated February 7, I started at 8 a.m. on the 8th instant with 175 men, on a scout to the interior. My route led me through La Grange, Moro, Cotton Plant, and above that through the lower part of what is called the “Colony,” terminating in that direction at Alexander Miller’s nearly east and distant about ten miles from Augusta. From this point I re-crossed Bayou De View, taking a general course east or south east to Madison on the Saint Francis River, where I found transports awaiting, we embarking upon which I returned to camp, reaching here at 2 o’clock last night. Distance traveled, including scouts from the line of march about 300 miles. We found the roads next to impassable from mud and water. The streams on the line of march were numerous and from recent rains greatly swollen, rendering the crossings difficult and dangerous: four of which, namely, Caney Creek, Bayou De View, Second Creek, and L’Anguille River, I had to swim and one, the “bayou,” twice. In addition to places above named often for miles together we found water in the swamps from knee-deep to the skirts of the saddles, and the weather being cold, the men from being continually wet suffered greatly. We found the county generally infested with roving soldiers from the commands of Dobbin, Lyles, McGhee, Raibon, and perhaps others. Jackman, with a small body of Missourians, had also been through there a short time since but their present whereabouts I could not learn. I fell warranted in saying that there are as many as 1,500 or 2.000 men on the east and west side of the Saint Francis River, south or southeast of a line running from Memphis to Augusta, on the White River, but entirely disorganized, scattered through the country, and living off the citizens. They have couriers and signals, by means of which the approach of an enemy is rapidly telegraphed, and if the force is small they will collect and resist; if large, they hide at once in swamps and thickets impenetrable except to those thoroughly acquainted with the country. At a place ten miles from Cotton Plant and eight miles from Alexander Miller’s at Vaughn’s we found the headquarters of Dobbin; captured a number of papers, none however of value; found his headquarters transportation, which I destroyed, and between 2,000 and 3,000 bushels of corn, which I burned, and also a small amount of meat which I appropriated for the use of the command, being at the time without rations, except bread. Approaching Madison, we had a severe skirmish with the enemy, in which we killed 2 and captured 1, dispersing the balance in all directions. Had the misfortune to lose one man captured in the melee. His horse being shot, he was hurried off in the thicket and could not be found. From information received from citizens and soldiers captured I feel authorized to say that the chief object of Lyles and Dobbin, who are personally at this time between Madison and Memphis, is to collect the rebel tax on cotton passing to Memphis, on obtaining which it is forwarded to the city at once as cotton belonging to citizens, and from the proceeds of such sales supplies for the army-such as arms, ammunition, and clothing-are clandestinely brought through the line for the use of the command, it being the intention in this way to procure an outfit for the command for the spring campaign. As one evidence of this will state that a Colt army revolver captured in the skirmish on Sunday near Madison, was before that day unused, and the man upon whom it was captured admits he obtained it but a few days before from Memphis. I respectfully request that Private Hutson A. Keith, of Company I, who captured it in a hand to hand fight, and for his general good conduct having in the last six months in the same way captured two other prisoners and killed in honorable fight a lieutenant in the rebel service, as a mark of commendation, may be permitted to retain the same as private property. As the result of our expedition, in addition to destroying the property above enumerated, we