Arkansas Toothpick Update- Steamboat Saturday in Helena, Arkansas.

Living History opportunities in Helena, AR

Living History opportunities in Helena, AR

As a public historian in Helena, Arkansas I get completely overwhelmed with all of the things going on here sometime that the updates are a little hard to get out sometimes, but this is a good thing; it means there is a lot going on and there is a lot getting done on the front of historical preservation.

First thing is first. If you are interested in becoming a living historian, this coming weekend is a great time to get your feet wet with some artillery training. We will have a rare opportunity to have battery drill with three cannons Saturday morning and early afternoon. The training will coincide with the docking of the American Queen Steamboat. It will be a great day to visit!

While artillery training is going on, visitors from the American Queen from all over the world will interact with soldiers. Infantrymen will be on hand to answer questions about military life and nationally trained interpretors will provide interpretation of the Civil War in Helena throughout the day at the following locations:

Freedom Park
Fort Curtis
Helena Museum
Delta Cultural Center

If you get hungry, Saturday also coincides with the annual St. Mary’s Catholic Bazaar, where you can get your lunch only two blocks from Fort Curtis at 123 Columbia Street. According to a press release from the church, the BIG BAKE SALE starts at 9:00am on Saturday and features casseroles, cakes, candy and lots more, all in time for those Thanksgiving and football get-togethers! Along with the Bake Sale, there is the popular SILVER JEWELRY SALE (find that extra special gift!) and the CHRISTMAS FLEA MARKET…always an adventure! A special CHILDREN’s BOOTH will be featured again this year; it’s a day for the whole family to enjoy.

All of these events return on Sunday along with the Bazaar’s premier event: the FABULOUS SPAGHETTI DINNER!! As always, the dinner includes spaghetti & meatballs, bread, salad, dessert and a drink. Tickets for the dinner are $10; $5 for children and carry-outs are available. Purchase your tickets at the door, from a church member or by calling the church office (870-338-6990).

American Queen steamboat docked in Helena, Arkansas on the Mississippi River.

American Queen steamboat docked in Helena, Arkansas on the Mississippi River.


Pre-Order Your Helena SCV Challenge Coin Today

Seven Generals SCV Coin (Helena, Arkansas)

Seven Generals SCV Coin (Helena, Arkansas)

The Seven Generals Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp in Helena, Arkansas announces their new challenge coin design. Money must be raised for the die to be cast before the coins can be ordered. Pre-order yours today! All proceeds will help us maintain battlefield sites in Helena, Arkansas including the Confederate Memorial Park in historic downtown Helena. Send a check or money order (made out to Seven Generals SCV) to:

Seven Generals SCV
P.O. Box 409
Helena, Ar. 72342


Steamboat Saturday This Saturday in Helena

aqHave you ever wanted to see the largest freshwater steamboat up close? Or have you ever wondered what went on in a Civil War fort? Or perhaps you just wondered what Helena is like these days? This Saturday is the perfect time to come over and spend the day or night. At 8am, living historians will be in Fort Curtis on Columbia Street manning three full scale cannons and will be doing cannon drills during the day.
Also in Fort Curtis will be infantry living historians as well answering questions from visitors. You will be able to hear the cannons and muskets fire. You will also be able to watch soldiers in their natural habitat doing “soldier stuff”.
Meanwhile at the boat ramp the American Queen will be docked. She is a beautiful ship and is worth the trip over just to see her.
This is also the perfect time to come see how to become a living historian/reenactor. We are looking for new recruits ages 14+. Come on out and start learning a new very exciting hobby.


Live Broadcast of Meeting This Afternoon

Helena, Arkansas

Seven Generals SCV Camp #135

The Seven Generals SCV Camp #135 will meet this evening at 6:30pm at the Delta Eagle Room in the 1912 Train Depot in historic downtown Helena, Arkansas. The meeting will last about an hour and on the agenda is the final proof and approval of the camp challenge coin as well as setting a plan for winter maintenance on the battlefield, including signage maintenance, park maintenance, and discussion on the addition of an interpretative walking trail that connects to Battery C.

Anyone interested in battlefield maintenance or becoming a living historian, be sure to attend this meeting either in person or live broadcast. The meeting will be broadcasted at 6:30pm at www.arkansastoothpick.com. Simply click on the LIVE BROADCAST tab at the top of the page.


Dutch Oven Cooking in Jacksonport Nov. 14

Civil War Hub of Arkansas

Civil War Hub of Arkansas

The leaves have turned and the smell of Autumn is in the air. This is the perfect time to consider learning a new outdoor skill. There’s nothing that whets the appetite like the aroma of food that you prepared outdoors.

Come on out to Jacksonport State Park Saturday, November 14 and experience a hands-on outdoor cooking workshop with the park interpreters and other like-minded people. The menu will include: savory Bacon-Wrapped BBQ Country Ribs, Broccoli, Cheese & Mushroom Casserole, and for dessert, a sweet & flavorful Pecan Pie Bread Pudding.

While waiting for the food to cook, attendees will be instructed in the proper use, care and maintenance of their cast iron cookware. With the proper care, cast iron cookware will last forever. Even if it’s in rusty, awful condition, it can usually be saved from the trash heap with some simple techniques and a little elbow grease. Ok, maybe a lot of elbow grease. Let us teach you how, the benefits outweigh the effort.

Reservations are required for this workshop and must be made at least 2 days in advance. Reservations will not be taken after 3 p.m. Thursday, November 12th. This workshop is limited to a minimum of 6 participants and a maximum of 10 participants. Call the park for more information.

Dutch Oven Workshop: Family Favorites for Fall
Jacksonport State Park
November 14, 2015
9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Meeting Place: Visitor Information Center
Admission: $25 adults, $12.50 for children under 12 accompanied by an adult
Jacksonport State Park
205 Avenue Street
Newport, AR 72112
Ph: (870) 523-2143


Program on Civil War Injuries Including PTSD This Saturday

Life and Limb exhibit

Life and Limb exhibit

Delta Cultural Center Assistant Director Thomas Jacques will present a “Delta Drop-in” public education program Saturday, November 7, 2015 at the Delta Cultural Center’s Visitor’s Center at 141 Cherry Street in historic Helena, Arkansas at 11 am.

This program is being held in conjunction with the ‘Life and Limb” exhibit, a traveling exhibit that interprets injuries during the Civil War, including mental injuries expressed in Walt Whitman’s poem, “The Artilleryman’s Vision”:

While my wife at my side lies slumbering, and the wars are over long,
And my head on the pillow rests at home, and the vacant midnight passes,
And through the stillness, through the dark, I hear, just hear, the
breath of my infant,
There in the room as I wake from sleep this vision presses upon me;
The engagement opens there and then in fantasy unreal,
The skirmishers begin, they crawl cautiously ahead, I hear the
irregular snap! snap!
I hear the sounds of the different missiles, the short t-h-t!
t-h-t! of the rifle-balls,
I see the shells exploding leaving small white clouds, I hear the
great shells shrieking as they pass,
The grape like the hum and whirr of wind through the trees
(tumultuous now the contest rages,)
All the scenes at the batteries rise in detail before me again,
The crashing and smoking, the pride of the men in their pieces,
The chief-gunner ranges and sights his piece and selects a fuse of
the right time,
After firing I see him lean aside and look eagerly off to note the
Elsewhere I hear the cry of a regiment charging, (the young colonel
leads himself this time with brandish’d sword,)
I see the gaps cut by the enemy’s volleys, (quickly fill’d up, no
I breathe the suffocating smoke, then the flat clouds hover low
concealing all;
Now a strange lull for a few seconds, not a shot fired on either
Then resumed the chaos louder than ever, with eager calls and orders
of officers,
While from some distant part of the field the wind wafts to my ears a
shout of applause, (some special success,)
And ever the sound of the cannon far or near, (rousing even in dreams
a devilish exultation and all the old mad joy in the depths
of my soul,)
And ever the hastening of infantry shifting positions, batteries,
cavalry, moving hither and thither,
(The falling, dying, I heed not, the wounded dripping and red I heed
not, some to the rear are hobbling,)
Grime, heat, rush, aide-de-camps galloping by or on a full run,
With the patter of small arms, the warning s-s-t of the rifles,
(these in my vision I hear or see,)
And bombs bursting in air, and at night the vari-color’d rockets.


November Arkansas Civil War 150 Events Announced

Arkansas Civil War

Arkansas Civil War

LITTLE ROCK—A seminar on steamboats in the Civil War, a Civil War living history weekend, lectures and exhibits are among the November 2015 activities the Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission has sanctioned, ACWSC Chairman Tom Dupree announced today. A complete listing of scheduled sesquicentennial activities, as well as additional information on the activities listed below, can be found at http://www.arkansascivilwar150.com/events/.

Civil War sesquicentennial events during November include:

* To Arms! To Arms! A Photographic Exhibit will be on display at the Boone County Library in Harrison from November 2 to 14; call (870) 426-3282 or email fisher.ruth43@yahoo.com for more information.

* As Much as the Water: How Steamboats Shaped Arkansas, a day-long symposium featuring sessions on steamboats in Civil War Arkansas, will be held November 5 at the Arkansas Studies Instiute in Little Rock; email kmlundgren@ualr.edu for more information.

* Civil War Weekend will be held November 7-8 at Historic Washington State Park; call (870) 983-2684 or email HistoricWashington@arkansas.com for more information.

* Grant County Marker Dedication will recognize a series of Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Historical Markers commemorating the Battle of Jenkins’ Ferry on November 7 at Sheridan High School in Sheridan; call (870) 942-3135 or email roywilson@sheridanschools.org for more information.

* Historic Washington State Park Marker Dedication will be held at Historic Washington State Park and the Old Washington Cemetery on November 7; call (870) 983-2684 or email HistoricWashington@arkansas.com for more information.

* David O. Dodd, a lecture by Dr. Nancy Hendricks, will be held at the Bob Herzfeld Memorial Library in Benton on November 9; call (501) 778-4766 or email stevep@salinecountylibrary.org for additional information.

* Presidential Reconstruction: Rebuilding a Divided Nation, a lecture by Dr. Carl Moneyhon of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, will be held at the Newton House Museum in El Dorado on November 10; call (870) 862-9890 or email director@soarkhistory.com for more information.

* “Civil War Arkansas 1861-1865,” the ACWSC traveling exhibit, will be at the Perry County Historical Museum in Perryville from November 9-22; call (501) 889-5105 for more information.

* “The Cause of All Nations: An International History of the Civil War,” a lecture by Don Doyle of the University of South Carolina, will be held at the Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock on November 12; call (501) 683-5238 or email ghsteinsiek@gmail.com for more information.

* Civil War Round Table of Arkansas will feature Drew Hodges speaking on Confederate General Nathan George “Shanks” Evans when it meets at Second Presbyterian Church in Little Rock on November 24; email brianb1578@aol.com for more information.

* “Batesville in the Civil War,” an exhibit on life in Batesville during the Civil War, will continue at the Old Independence Regional Museum in Batesville during November; call (870) 793-2121 for more information.

* Des Arc Rangers: Co. B, 1st Arkansas Mounted Rifles, an exhibit on a Confederate unit raised in the area, will continue at Lower White River Museum State Park at Des Arc during November; call (870) 256-3711 or email lowerwhiterivermuseum@arkansas.com for more information.

* “‘Freedom! Oh, Freedom’: Arkansas’s People of African Descent and the Civil War, 1861-1866” will continue at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center in Little Rock during November; call (501) 683-3593 or email info@mosaictemplarscenter.com for more information.

* War on the Water: Gunboats on the White River, an exhibit at Lower White River Museum State Park in Des Arc, will continue during November; call (870) 256-3711 or email lowerwhiterivermuseum@arkansas.com for more information.

For more information on sesquicentennial plans, visit http://www.arkansascivilwar150.com/or e-mail acwsc@arkansasheritage.org.

The Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission is housed within the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program. The AHPP is the Department of Arkansas Heritage agency responsible for identifying, evaluating, registering and preserving the state’s cultural resources. Other agencies are the Arkansas Arts Council, the Delta Cultural Center in Helena, the Old State House Museum, the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission and the Historic Arkansas Museum.


Civil War Round Table of the Delta (November 2, 2015) Video

Zachary Elledge from Parkin State Park spoke to the Civil War Round Table of the Delta on November 2, 2015 about the history of the monument for Confederate Women during the Civil War in Arkansas. The monument is located on the grounds of the state capitol in Little Rock.



Arkansas Civil War

Arkansas Civil War

LITTLE ROCK—The Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission has approved applications for Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Historical Markers in Searcy, Pulaski and Randolph counties, ACWSC Chairman Tom Dupree announced today.

The approved markers are:

* Witt Springs in the Civil War, commemorating a Confederate raid into Missouri and a skirmish in Searcy County. Sponsored by Witt Springs Community Voices, the marker will be placed on the old Witt Springs School campus on Highway 16

* Camps on Bayou Meto, commemorating Confederate camps and Union operations along Bayou Meto in modern-day Jacksonville. Sponsored by the Reed’s Bridge Battlefield Preservation Society, the marker will be placed at 315 Division Street in Jacksonville

* Camp Shaver, commemorating the camp where the Seventh Arkansas Infantry, C.S.A., mustered and trained in 1861. Sponsored by the Col. Robert G. Shaver Camp #1655, Sons of Confederate Veterans, the marker will be placed at 2500 Highway 62 West in Pocahontas.

Through the Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Historical Marker Program, the ACWSC works with local partners to help tell the stories of how the Civil War affected communities around the state. To date, 139 markers have been approved, with at least one in each of Arkansas’s 75 counties.


Mt. Olive Marker Dedication

Several local Civil War buffs and Sons of Confederate Veterans in Arkansas recently dedicated a Civil War marker in Mt. Olive. Shown in the photos are the marker and a cannon crew (Roger Harvell and John Malloy). This is one of the many things the SCV does in Arkansas. To become a member today, email us info@arkansastoothpick.com.

Mt. Olive Civil War Marker

Mt. Olive Civil War Marker

SCV Cannon Crew

SCV Cannon Crew

Click on the photos above to enlarge them.