Both Union and Confederate cavalry moved north of Jenkins' Ferry on April 29, 1864. Lt. Col. Benjamin Elliott's 1st Missouri Cavalry Battalion had been sent to Princeton on the 28th to seek Gen. Frederick Steele's army as it retreated from Camden. They skirmished heavily with Union troops until dark, then proceeded toward Pratt's Ferry on the Saline River on April 29. Gen. E.A. Carr's Union cavalry, meanwhile, rode north to head off a potential attack on Steele's troops by Confederate Gen. James Fagan's Confederate cavalry, reported in the area.
(Continued on other side)
(Continued from other side)
Elliott's Missouri cavalry arrived at Pratt's Ferry on April 29, 1864, hoping to link up with Fagan's Confederate cavalry. They were not there, so Elliott crossed the Saline River to find forage for his horses. On April 30, about 2,000 Union troops approached Whitten's Mill, some driving in Elliott's pickets. The Confederates counterattacked and the U.S. troops, fearing it was Fagan's entire force, quickly fell back and began burning their wagons and gear. Elliott's men continued to follow Steele's army as it retreated, attacking pickets and foragers.