Arkansas Civil War

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The Yell Rifles Are On The Move

September 02, 2014 By: admin Category: Arkansas in the Civil War, Living Histories, Memorial Services, News, Newsletters, Seven Generals Camp #135, The Civil War Hub of Arkansas

By: Brad Hartsfield

As the year is slipping by, it seems that the schedule of events for the 15th Arkansas Company C, “Yell Rifles,” is growing. The Yell Rifles are a civil war reenacting group that works on projects and events with the Seven Generals Camp #135 SCV. For the majority of the year 2014, the Yell Rifles have stayed close to their base of operations, Helena, AR.

In Helena, the Yell Rifles volunteer time to the Delta Cultural Center to help with the tours of local Civil War sites, such as Fort Curtis, Battery ‘C,’ and the Confederate Cemetery. Other volunteer work that the Yell Rifles help with, is the cleaning of historical interpretive markers scattered through town, battlefield clean-up, and helping with preparations for the next Battle of Helena reenactment, coming up on the weekend of March 14, 2015. The Yell Rifles also travel to events as well.

Since January the Yell Rifles have traveled to Little Rock, AR, for the annual David O. Dodd memorial service. February was spent clearing the Confederate Cemetery of ice damage and downed limbs, and attended a dutch oven cooking class, at the Delta Heritage Trail State Park, Barton, AR. March was a campout with the Boy Scouts and the Patrick Cleburne Memorial Service. April, a few members of the group took part in the Battle of Prairie De’Ann, Prescott, AR. May, the boys traveled to the Battle of Jenkins Ferry, which was held in Sheridan, AR, as well as taking part in the festivities and skirmish at the DeValls Bluff, AR Fort Lincoln Freedom Festival, and was part of the Honor Guard at the Memorial Day celebration in Marvell, AR. June was set aside for planning the 4th of July festivities and training drills. July, the 4th was the 151st commemoration of the Battle of Helena, which included a camp out at the base of Battery ‘C’, and on the 13th attended the General Nathan Bedford Forrest birthday celebration in Memphis, TN. August was a hot month so the schedule was limited to one event, but it was a great event in Colt, AR. The ceremony for the marker dedication was beautiful.

The next adventure is just around the corner, September 19-21, The Battle of Farmington, MS, located in Iuka, MS. We are always looking for good events, so if you know of any please let us know. If you are looking for a reenacting home or want to get started in Civil War reenacting, drop us a line on Facebook, just look for ‘Seven Generals Camp #135 / 15th Ark Yell Rifles.’

Upcoming Events:

September 19-21 – Battle of Farmington, Iuka, MS
October 9-11 – King Biscuit Blues Festival Helena, AR (Help American Legion Park Cars)
October 18 – Reeds Bridge Battlefield Living History, Jacksonville, AR
October 25 – Arkansas Monument Dedication, Franklin, TN
November 1 – Pioneer Village Living History/Skirmish, Searcy, AR
December 5-7 – Battle of Prairie Grove, AR. Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park

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Renew Your Car Tags With the new Arkansas SCV License Plate

September 01, 2014 By: admin Category: Arkansas in the Civil War, News, Preservations, The Civil War Hub of Arkansas

Arkansas In The Civil WarIf your car tags expire this month, consider replacing your current tags with the new Arkansas Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans license plates! The plate can be purchased by anyone registered in the state of Arkansas- NOTE: you do NOT have to be a member in the Sons of Confederate Veterans to purchase this plate. Most Arkansas Revenue Departments around the state were issued these new license plates and should be available in your area!

Don’t forget to get your new Sons of Confederate Veterans plate when you renew your tags! Funds raised by the sell of these plates will go to educational outreach and preservation of Southern heritage in Arkansas.

If you have any questions, contact Tom Bird at: 501-388-3805 or

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Book Review: The Garden of Memory (By Jerry Lawrence)

August 24, 2014 By: admin Category: Arkansas in the Civil War, Literature, MOS&B, News, The Civil War Hub of Arkansas

Book Review: The “The Garden of Memory” is another filled with, in most cases, first hand stories of the War Between the States. It was compiled by Mrs. M. A. Elliott, historian of the H. L. Grinstead Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. The stories were told by the actual Confederate Veterans and the Daughters of the Confederacy.

H. L. Grinstead story as told by Mrs. Lula Grindstead Smart is published in the book and includes the Colonel’s obituary. The story of the Battle of Jenkins’ Ferry is told by Dr. J. S. Bragg, Surgeon CSA, and is the story where much of the information the writer used in the above story.

These stories like those from “Confederate Women if Arkansas, in The Civil War” that was used in the last newsletter are all first hand information. I found this little book in the Arkansas section of the Genealogy room at the Pine Bluff/Jefferson County Library. I am sure there are other copies in other libraries.

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Military Order of the Stars & Bars In Arkansas

August 21, 2014 By: admin Category: Arkansas in the Civil War, MOS&B, News, The Civil War Hub of Arkansas

The General Patrick R. Cleburne, Arkansas Society of the Military Order of the Stars and Bars, has made a big impact in historical preservation, in the state, over the past few years. The Society is small in numbers but they have the expertise when it comes to getting things done. The Society has three (3) chapters in the state, they being the Captain James Tyrie Wright Chapter, in Harrison, the General James Fagan Chapter, in Jonesboro, and the Battle of Jenkins’ Ferry Chapter, in Sheridan.The Wright Chapter stays busy working with the Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park on their clean up days and picking up liter along the highways approaching the park. The chapter has sponsored and erected a number of Sesquicentennial Markers at various sites throughout Northwest Arkansas. They have a Christmas get together each year and sponsor a Lee – Jackson dinner and keep Confederate flag on the veteran’s graves in the area. The Wright Chapter is by far the largest chapter in the state.

The Fagan Chapter is probably the most active chapter within the Society. They are constantly giving educational and historical programs and are involved in historical preservation through out Northeast Arkansas. They have two members that are on the Sesquicentennial Commission, Danny Honnell and Ray Jones. They, too, have had a hand at placing a number of the 150th commemoration markers at a number of sites in their area.

The Battle of Jenkins’ Ferry Chapter, probably the most inactive chapter, but we have managed to keep our head above the water. We were honored by being able to help the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) in their placing of a Sesquicentennial Marker at Tulip Arkansas. We, also, in a small way, been able to support the Friends of Jenkins’ Ferry, a battlefield preservation group that our chapter helped founder several years back. We have also been honored by the UDC by being invited to bring greeting at their annual Division convention and other
events they have sponsored.

The Society, as a whole , has sponsored the Museum of the Confederacy, in Richmond, Virginia, the Lee Chapel in Lexington, Virginian and the Confederate Cemetery, in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Under the leadership of Society Commander Gordon Hale, the Walker family cemetery in Fayetteville has been restored. Sammy Massey, a member of the Wright chapter and a micro ball point pin artist, has drawn a picture of General Patrick Cleburne and these pictures are being sold by the Society to finance the General Patrick R. Cleburne Scholarship fund.

Any MOSB member, within the state, who has not been a part in at least some of these projects should consider joining in all the fun, excitement and fellowship. It is most awarding.

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“Total Warfare” During the Camden Expedition (By Jerry Lawrence)

August 19, 2014 By: admin Category: Arkansas in the Civil War, MOS&B, Research, The Civil War Hub of Arkansas

This piece is a continuation of a previous post. The “Total Warfare” series is written by Jerry Lawrence of Pine Bluff. Click HERE to read the first part of the series.

While Steele’s Union Army occupied Camden they suffered heavy losses at Poison Springs and at Marks’ Mill, an about the same time word was received that the Louisiana prong of the Yankee Army had suffered similar losses at Mansfield and at Pleasant Hill, in north Louisiana. Steele knew that he had to act fast if he was going to save his starving army. He ordered his troops to abandon Camden, in the night of April 27th, 1864, and take the nearest route back to Little Rock, due north.

It was during the day, the next day, that the Confederates realized the Union Army was gone they immediately begin their chase in an effort to destroy the Yankee invaders. The Confederates spent the first night, of their chase at the small settlement of Freeo, fifteen or so miles north of Camden. The next morning, at 3:00 o’clock, according Dr. J. N. Bragg in the book, “The Garden of Memory.” He goes on to say that “ ……………we were then on the road again. All day we kept up the weary trump. Not a living animal was to be seen along the wayside ……………. Nothing but ruin and desolation! Woman and little children sometime stood by the road and watched us pass. They did not seem glad to see us, for they were to hungry to be demonstrative, and we had nothing to give them, not knowing ourselves where our next meal was coming from. By and by we came to Princeton. The enemy had camped there the night before and literally sacked the town. They had left nothing to the inhabitants. The ladies with their children and a few old men came out on the square and gave us some flowers and their prayers. It was all they had. Bless the women of that little village! There patriotism never grew cold nor for a moment faltered in all the night of that horrid nightmare.” It would have been nice if Dr. Bragg had went into more detail, but he didn’t, so we read between the lines as to just what went on there that night.

Bragg did not comment on the conditions they found in Tulip, they arrived there on April 29th, late in the afternoon. He did tell that he searched for food for himself and his horse, but found none. A woman finally gave him a cup of sassafras tea and when she found out that the doctor had saved her husband’s life she pulled several ears of corn, from under her bed and gave them to him for his horse.

Hershel K. Smith, an descendant of a resident of Tulip at the time,, makes the statement in an article in the Arkansas Historical Quarterly, in 1959, “that it is said that the Federal troops burned portions of the town and molested its citizens. The buildings of the two schools were destroyed along with many valuable items, including the Owen and Stevenson geological collection, which had been sent to the school , from the state capitol for safe keepings.”

There is still a number of descendants living in the Tulip community, today, and all have similar stories that has been handed down to them from their war time ancestors. One states this ancestor hid their children in their corn crib when the Union army came and an officer found them there. It is said that the officer told the children to stay in the crab and they would not be harmed. The family never knew why, but their home was spared of all harm. Another man, of old age, was taken prison and was threaten to be hanged, but instead they took him on to Little Rock. With all the exposure he was a sick man when they reach the capitol city, so the captors released him and he made it back home safe but died a short time later.

Neither army kept records of these kind of activities and those who dared to write about them after the war did not go into great detail. However, the horrors of that night have been told to each generation for the past 150 years.

There are several other factors relating to the fact that Tulip, a town that was once known at the “Athens of Arkansas”, was never rebuilt after the war. One reason was that many of the citizens move away to get away from the war and most never returned. Another reason was that many of the residents were of old age and did not live long after the war. The third factor was that considering the class of people that lived in the area and taking in account that they all owned slaves, before the war, to do all the work while the young boys and girls were attending school learning all the Greek, Latin and music and etc. They were not allowed to learn how to raise a crop, not even garden. So most of the young people had to move away to the larger cities to find jobs that went along with their education.

Today, Tulip is a beautiful little community in the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains. It is dotted with small farms where a few cows and horses are raised and the only plantation there is owned by some of the several large timber companies and is covered with Pine trees.

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Buy a historic postcard and help preserve and maintain hallowed ground in Helena!

Civil War in Helena

(click on picture for full size)

The Seven Generals Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp in Helena, Arkansas recently discovered an original 1st National Confederate-type flag that was given to Confederate (then-Colonel) Thomas C. Hindman in early 1861. The flag has been preserved in a reproduction postcard by the Seven Generals Camp.

The purchase of this postcard for only $2.50 each includes postcard postage and will be mailed as a postcard through the USPS. The profits from the sale of the postcard will go directly to the maintenance of hallowed ground in Helena, Arkansas.

A list of the sites maintained by the Seven Generals Camp:
1) The Confederate Cemetery, where over 120 Confederates are buried, including General Patrick R. Cleburne, General James C. Tappan, and General Thomas C. Hindman.

2) Civil War Helena interpretative markers- we maintain over 50 historical interpretative panels throughout the city, including the battlefield, Confederate Cemetery, General Tappan's home, Battery C, and many other historic sites.

3) Confederate Memorial Park- We purchased and donated to the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Inc. in Columbia, TN approximately an acre of battlefield property that serves as a memorial to the Confederates that fought in and died in the Battle of Helena. Many soldiers are still unaccounted for and this park serves as their "marker". We maintain the park and the costs are mounting in maintenance, an electric bill to keep a light on the 1st National Confederate Flag that flies on a nice 25 foot pole overlooking Fort Curtis across the street.

4) We do living histories often and have a growing number of recruits that want to start re-enacting and doing living histories and interpretative programs. The costs of purchasing new and used Civil War re-enacting supplies are staggering. Any monetary or re-enacting supplies that can be donated would be appreciated.

Each postcard will be mailed through the USPS and postmarked.

If you would like to donate used or new re-enacting gear and supplies, we will take any items, even if they need to be fixed or mended. Re-enacting clothing items of all sizes and types needed, including hats. We have a youth program as well, so smaller sizes are welcomed as well. If you would like to donate supplies or equipment, mail it to Seven Generals Camp, PO Box 409, Helena, AR 72342.

The best part is that all items donated to the Seven Generals Sons of Confederate Camp #135's living history program are tax deductible! Upon the arrival of your donation, we will respond with our tax ID# for tax purposes.

Below are a couple choices in donating to the maintenance and preservation of Helena's battlefield:

-Make a one-time donation in any amount

-Make a donation on a regular basis. Those that donate $1000 over time will have their names on a sign of donors on Confederate Memorial Park and you will receive the Lt. William Rector Award, which includes a certificate and a medal. Over time we will start an endowment that will ensure the perpetual upkeep of historic Confederate sites in Helena.

Confederate Memorial Park- Helena, AR

Arkansas In The Civil War

(click on picture for full size)

Because of the valiant support of dedicated individuals across the globe, the money has been raised for the purchase of Confederate Memorial Park in Helena, Arkansas.

We have taken a rare opportunity for the Sons of Confederate Veterans to own a core piece of battlefield and made it a reality! Located in Helena, Arkansas directly across from Fort Curtis and to the side of a Civil War era home (Moore-Hornor Home), both properties of which are maintained by the State of Arkansas (Delta Cultural Center) is approximately an acre of core battlefield that backs up to the site where General Price's troops made an attack on Fort Curtis on July 4, 1863.

On March 15, 2013 the General Executive Committee of the Sons of Confederate Veterans met in Biloxi, MS. At this meeting it was decided that the property will be donated to the SCV- This is a much-needed heritage victory in the Delta!

Your support is greatly needed!
Mail a check or money order today to:

Seven Generals Camp #135
PO Box 409
Helena, AR 72342

Your donation is tax-deductable!

ALL donations are tax-deductible!

The Arkansas Toothpick is the largest repository of Arkansas Civil War history and heritage. Observing the 150th Anniversary of the War Between the States is a task that the Toothpick does not take lightly, as we have posted original and exclusive articles on events in Arkansas on a weekly and chronological basis since 2010 (150 years after 1860). The purpose of the "150 Years Ago..." articles, written and researched by Ron Kelley and Don Roth, is to give a true reflection of the political, martial, and other aspects of Arkansas history leading up to and through the American Civil War.

Boasting of over ONE MILLION visitors, the Arkansas Toothpick has serves as a Civil War hub for historians and the general public. Our FACEBOOK page has nearly 1,000 FB Friends and counting, complete with live updates of

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Professional Geneologist

If you are looking for information on your ancestors or want to locate a lost relative and need a professional geneologist, the Arkansastoothpick reccomends:
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