Naval Combat at West Point
The U.S. gunboat Cricket steamed up the Little Red River Aug. 14, 1863, hunting the Confederate steamboats Kaskaskia and Tom Sugg. She captured the vessels at Searcy Landing and destroyed a pontoon bridge. While the flotilla steamed downriver, 500 Confederate cavalrymen led by Col. G.W. Thompson attacked. The Kaskaskia's pilot was wounded, and Confederate troops tried to board her, but were repelled. The Cricket fired her cannons at the attackers and some rounds hit West Point, damaging several houses as the vessels struggled downstream.
Combat on the Little Red River
The Confederates pursued the Cricket and steamers down the river, attacking again about four miles below West Point without success. The Cricket met the U.S.S. Lexington farther downstream, and the Confederates struck again as the fleet steamed down the Little Red. The Lexington opened fire with her 8-inch guns, and Thompson called off the attack. The Confederates suffered 8 casualties, including Maj. L.A. Gilkey, who fell mortally wounded. Union troops lost 2 men killed and 6 wounded in the only naval engagement of the 1863 Little Rock Campaign.