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Arkansas in the Civil War: Nervous Yankees on the White River

July 21, 2014 By: admin Category: 150th Anniversary Project, Arkansas in the Civil War, The Civil War Hub of Arkansas

Arkansas In The Civil WarOne hundred and fifty years ago, Confederate forces in Eastern Arkansas were on the move. This week in 1864, a dispatch was sent to the overall Union commander of Arkansas noting the vulnerability of his army and navy as rebel forces kept their eye on the White River.

The dispatch noted, “In various ways I learn that the enemy is in occupation of Arkansas Post, and is making preparations which appear to point to the making of that post a secure place of retreat across the Arkansas River.” Th Arkansas was not the only river concerning the Union forces as he believed the Confederates, “will occupy a point on White River, and Saint Charles.”

As river levels throughout the state began to fall, the navy began shifting the location of boats on the White River to prevent their capture: “The iron-clad now at the Bluff is the lightest draught boat we have of the heavy order, and she must come out for want of water.” As, “The occupation of Saint Charles will facilitate your communications” the dispatch concluded, “Saint Charles is a strong point, and one which it would be dangerous to permit the enemy to occupy. If we only had a few good light-draught gun-boats they, together with the occupation of that point as proposed, would render the navigation of White River secure.”

Other military actions that took place this week one hundred and fifty years ago include a skirmish near Maysville on the 20th; a skirmish near Pine Bluff on the 22nd; and affair on the 25th at Benton; an action at Wallace’s Ferry at Big Creek on the 26th; a scout was sent to Searcy July 26-28; and an action at Massard’s Prairie on the 27th. For a complete list of over 700 military actions that took place in Arkansas during the Civil War, go to

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8th Annual Red River Heritage Symposium: Conflict at the Doorstep

July 19, 2014 By: admin Category: Arkansas in the Civil War, Symposium Series, The Civil War Hub of Arkansas

The 8th Annual Red River Heritage Symposium will take place on Saturday, July 26, at Historic Washington State Park. The conference topics will focus on the theme “Conflict at the Doorstep” in regards to the impact of the Red River Campaign of 1864 in the Great Bend Region of the Red River during the Civil War. The event will take place at the 1914 Schoolhouse Auditorium of Historic Washington State Park.

Specific topics and speakers include: “Confederate General Samuel B. Maxey, Commander of Indian Territory” by John C. Waugh, Retired Journalist and Local Historian of Pantego, Texas; “Camp For POW Camp at Tyler, Texas” by Vicki Betts, Librarian at University of Texas at Tyler; “Medical Journal of Confederate Surgeon of the District of Arkansas, Dr. Henry Dye” by Dr. Bill Gurley, Professor at University of Arkansas Medical School in Little Rock; “Federal Medical Corps at Jenkins Ferry” by Joe Walker, Local Historian from Jacksonville, Arkansas; and “Diary of B.P. Haynes on Price’s Raid into Missouri” by Keenan Williams, Local Historian from Hope, Arkansas.

An all day Friday and Saturday morning workshop for teachers on resources related to the theme in the Red River Region will take place. Lunch is included both days. A total of twelve credit hours will be available for teachers to earn by attending both days of the symposium. Cost for attending the workshop will be $40. Workshop presenters will include Historic Washington State Park staff, the Arkansas Humanities Council on grant writing tips for field trips; and staff from from Historic Arkansas Museum of Little Rock and the Drennen Scott Museum of Van Buren on the programs they offer school groups related to the Civil War.

On Saturday morning a tour will be provided to the closest battlefield to Washington, Arkansas at Prairie D’Ane near Prescott, Arkansas. For others interested in the tour the cost will be $15 per person, which includes lunch. Seating is limited, so call the Park Visitor Center to reserve your spot on the tour.

Cost for attendance to the symposium is $30 with an evening meal included. The timeframe for the event is 1:00 p.m. to 8:00 pm. A discount price of $60 will be offered to teachers who wish to attend both the workshop and symposium. Teachers attending both the workshop and symposium will be eligible for twelve credit hours. Check in will begin in the morning at 8 a.m. at the 1874 Hempstead County Courthouse Visitor Center. Registration must be made by July 23 Contact 870-983-2684 to register.

This event has been financed in part with tax funds from the State of Arkansas and the Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission in association with the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage and the Pioneer Washington Restoration Foundation.

Historic Washington State Park, a restoration village preserving one of Arkansas’ most prominent 19th century towns, is located on US 278 nine miles north of Hope and can be reached by taking Exit 30 off Interstate 30. For more information visit or call (870)983-2684.

Sponsored by Special Collections Department, University of Arkansas Libraries, Fayetteville.

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Half-Day Arkansas Civil War Seminar August 16

July 19, 2014 By: admin Category: Arkansas in the Civil War, News, The Civil War Hub of Arkansas

“Under Two Governments,” a half-day seminar on Civil War Arkansas in 1864, will be held at the Old State House in Little Rock on Saturday, August 16.

The event is free and open to the public, but participants should register by calling Georganne Sisco at (501) 324-8641.


9:00 a.m.

9:15 a.m.
Dr. Gary Joiner:The Camden Campaign: The Union Effort toCapture Shreveport

Break 10:00 a.m.

10:15 a.m .
Dr. Tom DeBlack:“SoundCommon Sense, Good Intentions, and Scrupulous Honesty”: Isaac Murphy and theUnionist Government in Civil War Arkansas

11:00 a.m.
Dr. Michael B. Dougan:“The real sting of being an exile”: A SwanSong for Confederate Arkansas

11:45 a.m.
Question and Answer Session

Noon: Wrap-up.

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Arkansas in the Civil War- Union Army Commander Wants Maps and Intelligence

July 18, 2014 By: admin Category: 150th Anniversary Project, Arkansas in the Civil War, The Civil War Hub of Arkansas

Arkansas In The Civil WarOne hundred and fifty years ago, the commanding Union officer in Little Rock urged his district commanders to keep itineraries of all expeditions and scouting efforts. The Genera;’s directive included full descriptions of the sprawling road systems that criss-crossed the state, forage locations, water courses, towns, churches, stores, and “places of public resort.”

General Fredrick Steele’s dispatch continued, “In order to carry out this order an acting topographical engineer will be detailed by the commanding officer of each detachment from the officers or enlisted men of his command.” The engineer would, “be excused from all other duty until the completion of his report, which will be sent at the end of the march to the district commander, who will send a copy or the original to the chief engineer at department headquarters.”

This map-making and intelligence gathering directive facilitated easier and more productive travel in enemy territory as the Union army continued to try to flush the countryside from all rebel activity.

Military actions that took place within the borders of the state this week one hundred and fifty years ago include a skirmish at Fair’s Mills and Clarendon on the 14th; a skirmish on the Benton road on the 14th and 15th; operations on the White River were carried out from July 19-25; and a skirmish near Maysville on the 20th. For a complete list of over 700 military actions that took place in Arkansas, go to

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The Editor of Publishes Book on Arkansas in 1860

July 14, 2014 By: admin Category: The Civil War Hub of Arkansas

Arkansas In The Civil WarSeveral million visitors ago I began writing a series of columns on what happened in Arkansas exactly 150 years ago. The columns began in mid-2010 and I have faithfully researched and produced factual and sometimes entertaining vignettes of Civil War history in Arkansas.

Over the past several years I have collected and transcribed many primary sources that show quite an entertaining political and military history of Arkansas before the Civil War. Without this book you will have to go to the archives to get most of the info in this publication.

I want to tank all my readers across the globe for your support through the years, and 3 million visitors later the Arkansas Toothpick remains the most comprehensive interpretative site on the web dealing with Arkansas in the Civil War.

For the past one hundred and fifty years, scholars and avid readers alike have ignored events and personalities that shaped the Arkansas political and cultural landscape. 1860 proved to be one of, if not the most pivotal year in the state’s political history. With the fate of the Democratic Party in jeopardy, Black Republicanism was on the rise on the national level, but there was another story developing- another history of a people in a developing frontier state- that found themselves amidst a political, cultural, and agricultural revolution.

Diary of a State: 1860 contains documents ranging from newspaper articles from several prominent publishers in 1860 as well as government documents from the state and several counties, diary entries, and others. This book is not meant to act as a narrative history of Arkansas, nor is it a definitive work, but rather it gives the twenty-first century reader a chronological glimpse of forgotten rhetoric and politico.

Many of the authors of these documents have been long-forgotten and this book brings back to life those personalities and events that have gone unnoticed over the past one hundred and fifty years.

To order your copy of Diary of a State: 1860, click here! It is less than $10!

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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

Arkansas Toothpick on Facebook

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:
Crystal Truman Batson
(870) 329-3264


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