Howel A. “Doc” Rayburn
Rayburn enlisted as a Private in Comp. “C”, 12th Texas. Cavalry Regt. In 1862 enroute to Tn. with Parson’s Brigade, he was left in Des Arc, either sick or wounded. While recovering he persuaded other young men to help the Confederate cause and was successful in organizing a small company to begin their guerilla strikes against Union troops. Rayburn was elected Captain, assisted by Lt. John Bethell. Their activities earned the name “the Phantom Unit”.
Doc was young, blonde and blue-eyed. Dressed as a female he managed well to enter a dance with a group of girls. He was able to learn valuable information from the Union soldiers. Leaving before the dance was over, he took “Limber Jim”, a beautiful black horse which belonged to a Union officer.
This horse carried Capt. Rayburn through the Missouri Campaign when his company served as guards for General Sterling Price. – Lonoke County Museum