29May/16

Original Arkansas Civil War Map Based on 1854 Political Boundaries

Arkansas in the Civil War: A Military Atlas out June 10, 2016! Just in time for Father’s Day!
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Arkansas in the Civil War: A Military Atlas

Arkansas in the Civil War: A Military Atlas

While Arkansas now has seventy-five counties, there were only fifty-four represented on the original Confederate engineer’s map from which “Arkansas in the Civil War: A Military Atlas was digitized. The original map, housed in the National Archives, was based on the 1854 counties that made up the state. An additional twenty-one counties have been added throughout the years. Those not depicted in the atlas include:

Craighead (1859)
Cross (1862)
Woodruff (1862)
Little River (1867)
Sharp (1868)
Boone (1869)
Grant (1869)
Lincoln (1871)
Logan (1871)
Nevada (1871)
Baxter (1873)
Clay (1873)
Cleveland (1873)
Faulkner (1873)
Garland (1873)
Howard (1873)
Lee (1873)
Lonoke (1873)
Stone (1873)
Miller (1874)
Cleburne (1883)

28May/16

Fortifications Included in New Civil War Atlas of Arkansas

Arkansas in the Civil War: A Military Atlas out June 10, 2016! Just in time for Father’s Day!
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fortifications in new military atlas

fortifications in new military atlas

Aside from military actions, other features represented in this atlas include fortifications. Like battles, though there were fortifications scattered across the state, only a couple are represented by the Confederate engineers. Only fortification locations that were valuable to the Confederate army at the time this map was created would have been drawn. Therefore, as Confederate forces were focused largely on operations along the Red, Ouachita, and Saline River corridors, the fortifications on grids J3, K3, and K6 were paramount in securing south Arkansas.

Two academies were represented on the original map and are included in this atlas on grid K5. While one academy is named (Holly Spring Academy), the other is not and is represented simply as “Academy”. Though only two are represented on the original map, there were many academies throughout the state that are not listed; perhaps the best-known was the Arkansas Military Institute (Academy) in Tulip. Academies in Arkansas before and during the Civil War were largely religious schools and with few exceptions, education institutions were unisex.

25May/16

Several Battles Highlighted in New Military Atlas of Arkansas in the Civil War

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The six small flags represented above are locations of Confederate encampments near the Battle of Jenkins' Ferry battlefield located in current-day Grant County south of Sheridan. Notice the lightning bolt that represents a military engagement.

The six small flags represented above are locations of Confederate encampments near the Battle of Jenkins’ Ferry battlefield located in current-day Grant County south of Sheridan. Notice the lightning bolt that represents a military engagement.

Despite the need for edible food and potable water, one can only assume the widespread devastated and bare landscape following several years of foraging in south Arkansas. Post war south Arkansas was a desolate place bereft of valuable crops and livestock. Of the nearly 800 military actions that occurred throughout the Civil War in Arkansas, only four appear on the original map from which this atlas was created. The four battles range in dates from 18 April 1864 to 6 June 1864. The four battles listed on the original were also added to this atlas. The first battle listed was Poison Spring. Labeled on the map as Poison Spring 18 Apl. 1864, this battle located in grid J5 was one of the several battles included in the Camden Expedition of the Red River Campaign. This specific military action occurred in Ouachita County near Camden as Federal soldiers in the 1st Kansas Colored Infantry and their wagon train was attacked by Confederate forces resulting in 301 Union casualties and 114 Confederate casualties.

Shortly after the Union wagon train was attacked during a forage expedition at Poison Spring, another wagon train was attacked one week later on April 25 at Marks’ Mill. Located in present day Cleveland County, the battle is represented on grid J7. It was the destruction of the Federal wagon train at Marks’ Mill that led to the complete abandonment of the Red River Campaign in Arkansas and was the catalyst for the immediate retreat of the Union army back to Little Rock.

It was during the hasty retreat from Camden to Little Rock that the Federal army became trapped between the Saline River and Camden, resulting in a bloody battle in the Saline River bottoms south of present-day Sheridan at a crossing on the river at Jenkins’ Ferry. It was this final battle in the Camden Expedition that left south Arkansas firmly in the hands of Confederate forces. The fourth battle noted on the original engineer map took place in the far eastern section of the state near present-day Lake Village in the Arkansas Delta. Also known as the Battle of Ditch Bayou, Furlough, and Fish Bayou, this battle was not dated on the original map.

It was here that a skirmish erupted on June 5 and 6, 1864 in Chicot County as seen on grid L10. The Union victory allowed Federal soldiers in securing Lake Village nearby.

23May/16

Nearly 100 Confederate Camps in Arkansas Listed in New Civil War Atlas

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Confederate Camps in South Arkansas

Confederate Camps in South Arkansas

By late in the Civil War, Confederate troops were amassed exclusively in south Arkansas following a series of military actions that left the majority of the state under Federal occupation, limiting the Confederate scope of interest in and around Camden and other points scattered. Of the nearly 100 camps depicted on the original engineer’s map, each site would have been chosen for its respective location to valuable resources needed to keep armies subsidized, including running water via streams, bayous, rivers or springs. Troops in any number required food for themselves and their horses, mules, and other livestock and other resources found in rural south Arkansas.

This map shows the relative locations of nearly 100 Confederate encampments scattered across south Arkansas late in the Civil War. While depicted on this map as yellow dots, small flags represent encampments in the original map and this atlas.

19May/16

35 Confederate Officers’ Homes Located on new Arkansas Military Atlas

Arkansas in the Civil War: A Military Atlas out June 10, 2016! Just in time for Father’s Day!
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Arkansas in the Civil War: A Military Atlas

Arkansas in the Civil War: A Military Atlas

Of the numerous homestead owners represented on the southern portion of this map, at least thirty-five locations were owned by Confederate officers, though some officers may have owned multiple properties across the state. Identified in this atlas are three Generals, eleven Colonels, four Majors, and fourteen Captains:

Generals: Garrett, Mitchell, and Williams (all of Arkansas County).
Colonels: Belcher (Drew County), Branch (2) (Desha County), Brownin (Ouachita County), Carrigan (Hempstead County), Christian (Ashley County), Garland (Lafayette County), Gee (Ouachita County), Hervey (2) (Hempstead and Lafayette Counties), Mars (Calhoun County), Withers (Ashley County) and Wynn (Lafayette County).
Majors: Douglas (Arkansas County), Gray (Dallas County), Reid (Dallas County) and Wilson (Ashley County).
Captains: Badgett (Ashley County), Bell (Union County), Foote (Ashley County), Halley (Arkansas County), Hewitt (Arkansas County), J. Evans (Calhoun County), Miller (Arkansas County), Moore (Calhoun County), Perkins (Hempstead County), Reid (Columbia County), Richie (Ouachita County), Robinson (Calhoun County), Scott (Ouachita County) and White (Ouachita County).

19May/16

Civil War Roundtable of the Delta to Present Musical Group HARMONY

Harmony

Harmony

HELENA-WEST HELENA, ARK. – The Civil War Roundtable of the Delta will present the group, HARMONY, on Monday, May 23, from 6 – 7p.m. The program will take place at Beth El Heritage Hall, and is free and open to the public.

HARMONY plays traditional and contemporary folk music, with a little gospel and a few old-time fiddle tunes thrown in. In the last five years they have recorded and performed Charley Sandage’s, “Arkansas Stories”, a collection of songs relating to the long and colorful history of the State.

Mary and Robert Gillihan and Dave Smith have been picking and singing together as friends for about thirty-five years. All three are performers at The Ozark Folk Center State Park in Mountain View, Arkansas. In addition to work as a trio, Robert and Mary also appear regularly as a duo and Dave as a solo performer. In 1998 they were chosen from over 700 auditions to be one of six finalists in “A Prairie Home Companion“ talent contest. They were voted first runners up in the contest and were invited to sing an a capella gospel song with host Garrison Kiellor during the show.

The program is part of the Delta Cultural Center’s celebration of Arkansas Heritage Month. The theme this year is “Celebrating Our Creative Culture.” Free Heritage Month posters are available at the DCC’s Visitors Center, 141 Cherry St.

For more information, interested persons can call the Delta Cultural Center at (870) 338-4350 or toll free at (800) 358-0972 or visit the DCC online at www.deltaculturalcenter.com.

The Delta Cultural Center shares the vision of all seven agencies of the Department of Arkansas Heritage – to preserve and promote Arkansas heritage as a source of pride and satisfaction. Other agencies within the department are the Historic Arkansas Museum, the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, the Old State House Museum, the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, the Arkansas Arts Council, and the Natural Heritage Commission.

18May/16

Call for Immediate Action Regarding Arkansas History Commission Legislation

Civil War Hub of Arkansas

Civil War Hub of Arkansas

The following is a plea for those Arkansas history lovers to contact their lawmakers regarding a very interesting move to relocate the Arkansas History Commission from State Parks to the Department of Arkansas Heritage written by Tom Dillard, followed by an email forwarded by Dillard written by a History Commission Chairman:

To all Friends of Arkansas History:

The Hutchinson Administration has prepared draft legislation for consideration in the current Special which would completely strip the Arkansas History Commission of its authority. The legislation would transfer the History Commission from the Department of Parks & Tourism to the Department of Arkansas Heritage. So far, so good. But, the devil is in the details.

In governmental jargon, the proposal is a “Type 2” transfer—meaning that the Commission will not only be transferred but that the Commissioners will lose all powers to hire and fire the AHC director, develop budgets, issue rules and regulations, and deciding on the physical location of the History Commission. All powers would be transferred to the director of the Heritage Department, Stacy Hurst—who has absolutely no background in history and archives. The Commission could not even meet without being convened by Hurst.

The adoption of this legislation would enable a single person, Hurst, to determine where to house the History Commission. Her original plan was to move the History Commission to the old Balch Automobile building on Cantrell Road at the foot of Chester Street. Moving the History Commission’s location might be a good idea, but the decision should be carefully thought out since archival collections must be stored in the proper environmental conditions.

Even the name of the Arkansas History Commission would be changed, despite the fact that it has operated for more than a century under that name.

The proposed legislation would also adversely impact the Arkansas Black History Commission—which is a component of the AHC.

There is no compelling reason to adopt this legislation—especially in a hurried 3-day special session. Arkansas History deserves better!

There is no time to waste as the bill will probably be considered this week—possibly tomorrow. I urge everyone to contact both the governor and your local legislators. You can find your legislator and contact information at www.arkleg.state.ar.us. It is too late to send snail mail, so emails and phone calls are necessary. You can call your State Representative at 501-682-6211 and Senators can be called at 501-682-6107. You can leave a message. Unfortunately, we do not have a bill number, so refer to the Governor’s Efficiency Bill.

Please ask your legislators to delay considering this issue until a regular session. Do it now!
Tom Dillard

EMAIL FROM AHC CHAIRMAN:

Hello all, it appears there may be hope of delaying the move of the History Commission to the Dept. of Arkansas Heritage after all. Apparently several legislators are concerned about the size and scope of the legislation and other commissions included in the governor’s “efficiency” bill. The legislation doesn’t have a number yet but is likely to be heard in State Agencies committee which meets Thursday. Since the House Speaker’s name is on the draft bill I’ve seen, I’m assuming it will first go to the House committee which meets at 11:30 on Thursday in room 151. You can find your legislator and their contact information at www.arkleg.state.ar.us You will also be able to tell when the bill gets introduced, when it will be considered, and who serves on each committee. You can also call the state switchboard at 501-682-3000 and ask to speak to your House or Senate member. If they aren’t available, you can leave a message. It works best if you have the bill number, which we should know soon.

Here are the arguments I plan to make:

1. The History Commission has a 100 year history and this is a significant change to make in a short special session.

2. There is no urgency in making this change and the history, archival, genealogical, etc. communities have had no opportunity for input.

3. The History Commission members are unpaid volunteers with considerable experience and expertise. State government pays millions for consultants and the History Commission has experts who work for free on both the History Commission and the Black History Commission.

4. We need a new facility but making decisions about a new facility should include the views of people who know the particular requirements of an archival facility. The draft legislation proposed would leave that decision solely in the hands of the DAH director.

5. The name proposed, the History Division of DAH, doesn’t speak to our function as the state archives.

I think the first two points are most important at this point but added the last three because I think they are important. The strategy right now is to delay this transfer and related governance issues to a regular session when interested parties and organizations can provide feedback.

Thanks for your concern. Please feel free to share this email.
Mary Dillard, Chair, Arkansas History Commission