For Arkansas soldiers during the Civil War, you could either be fighting for the Confederate or the Union Armies. In response to, when Alfred was discharged from the Confederate Army he explains thus:
“I never enlisted in the Confederate Army so I never was discharged from the rebel service. The recruiting officers come in our country for recruits and I and others did not enlist. So they caught me and my brother, A. B. Spencer and others of our neighbors as conscripts. They guarded us and said they would make us fight. So they held us near 2 months, as near as I remember. As to the commander I dont know who he was. I never had my arms. They guarded us so my brother and myself ran away from there dark as night, as I ever say we lay out until the U.S. Troops came to Fort Smith. I went to the U.S. Army there in the year 1863. I enlisted in the U.S. Army the 16 of September 1863.”
Sept. 16, 1863 Alfred enlisted in the Union Army at Ft. Smith Arkansas, and was mustered in at Springfield, Missouri and assigned to Company I, 2nd Regiment. Arkansas Cavalry Volunteers.
From the many records found in Alfred's Civil War Pension files, we learn that he was :
- Enlisted on 16th of September 1863 at Fort Smith Arkansas in Company “I” 2nd Regiment of the Arkansas Calvary Volunteers, to serve 3 years or during the war, and mustered into service as a Private on the 3rd day of December 1863, at Springfield, Missouri
- Reported on muster rolls for Nov. & Dec. 1863. First of July Present.
- January and February 1864, absent; detached service escorting train to Yellville since the 26 of Feb 1864.
- March to April 1864 present.
- Company rolls show him; march 27 1864, present-sick.
- …was stationed at Cassville, Missouri from July 2nd to Aug 31 1864.
- June 30, 1865 reported present.
- Discharged: August 20 1865 at Memphis, Tennessee.
An event during the train escort to Yellville would affect Alfred the rest of his life, and give us a vast amount of records to use for research. There are many accounts on what occurred during this event, some are second hand and some are Alfred's during different times in his life.
"I was a Private in company I, 2nd Arkansas Regiment Calvary Vols. State that near Yellville in the State of Arkansas did on or about the 31st day of January 1864 I was in the line of duty when I was hurt. We was in a charge on the enemy when my horse fritehed? me up, I fell back on the pommy of my Saddle and Ruptured me on the right side. The horse also fell down and fell partly on me. I could not wear my belt and equipments around me on account of my injury. The two men that helped me on the horse after he fell with me, namely was Robert Harris and Samuel Earl. They are both dead..."
An account of the event given by a witness named Henry Morgan reads as follows:
“We were in a charge and when we got to the foot of the hill, the horse of Spencer fell almost turning a summersal? and fell on him, I was present and saw the horse fall, saw Spencer partly under him – his head? was out. Saw the horse get up…”
The main body of Company was back at Burryville at headquarters. This escort encountered an enemy force. When Alfred reached the top of the hill, probably during a charge, his horse stumbled, throwing him onto the horn of his saddle on his right side which caused an abdominal rupture. Alfred did not seek treatment but treated himself at the time. The examination notes explain: He was not treated in any hospital,
“but gave himself all the treatment received at that time.”
What a good solider! Unfortunately, as all too often happens in the Army, they needed proof that this occurred for Alfred to receive his pension for his disability caused in the line of duty!
Alfred would have many witnesses that noticed his injuries afterward:
Private Jasper Baxter explained;
“I remember said soldier was not able for duty on or about January or February in 1864, do not know what caused his disability but it was understood that he got hurt by his horse falling with him at or near Yellville Arkansas in a charge on the enemy…I was not with the Soldier when he got hurt I was at Burryville, Arkansas, at head quarters.”
A grandaughter of Alfred remembers the story this way, probably passed down from stories straight from Grandpa Alfred!
"...grandpa's regiment was on a charge against the Rebel forces. As they were going up the hill, grandpa's overcoat was flapping in the breeze and bullet's were flying everywhere and a bullet went through grandpa's overcoat, right under his arm. His horse stumbled throwing him across the saddle horn, causing an abdominal rupture. Since they had no medical assistance in the battlefield, grandpa had to tend to his own wound until they could get to where there would be medical help. Some of grandpa's old neighbors were captured and they were scared to death because the Rebel's told them that if they were captured by the Yankee's, that they would kill them. The Regiment assured them that they would not be harmed."
Alfred is buried Cincinnati Cemetery, Washington, Arkansas.
The Civil War Pension in these images were filled out by his third wife (the 1923 date), Elizabeth Jane Lane, who past away a few years after the date on the pension.