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Arkansas in the Civil War: Confederates Chase USCT back to Helena After Action at Wallace’s Ferry

July 28, 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, one of the last major engagements of the Civil War in Arkansas occurred 22 miles southwest of Helena. The Federal force of 315 infantry, two cannons, and 130 cavalry under the command of Colonel W.S. Brooks of the 56th United States Colored Troops clashed with a Confederate force of 1500 mounted infantry under the command of Helena’s own General Dobbins.

As the Federals arrived at Big Creek, or Wallace’s Ferry at daylight on July 26, 1864 under the assumption that Confederates were not in the area, Dobbins’s Arkansas and Missouri cavalry attacked the unsuspecting blue coats from three sides. For the next four hours, the African-American troops held their ground against the battle-tested Confederates.

As the fighting raged on, the U.S.C.T. received much-needed help at 10 a.m. from an Illinois contingent of cavalry. As the fresh Illinois troops entered the fray, they sliced through Dobbins’s mounted infantry and a fighting retreat ensued, chasing the Illinois and U.S.C.T. troops back to the relative safety of Helena. Union casualties mounted to 19 killed, 40 wounded, and 4 missing.

This week one hundred and fifty years ago, there were 12 military actions that took place within the borders of Arkansas, including a skirmish at West Point and at Scatterville on the 28th; a skirmish at Fort Smith on the 29th; skirmishes on the Little Rock Road, May Station No. 3, and at Pine Bluff on the 30th; an action near Fort Smith on the 31st; a skirmish at Lee Creek and Lamb’s Plantation near Helena on August 1; an action at Osceola and in Helena on the 2nd; and a skirmish at Osceola on the 4th of August. For a complete list of over 700 military actions that took place in Arkansas during the Civil War, go to

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Arkansas in the Civil War: Bad Day at Big Creek

July 27, 2014 By: admin Category: 150th Anniversary Project by Don Roth, Arkansas in the Civil War, The Civil War Hub of Arkansas

Arkansas In The Civil WarDuring the third day of July, Gen. Shelby consented to Col. Archibald Dobbin’s request to raid plantations around Helena. The plantations that had once belonged to Confederate supporters were now leased out by the Federal Government after being seized by the Union Army.
Col. B. F. Gordon was sent from Shelby’s Brigade to rendezvous with Dobbin at Trenton, 20 miles west-southwest of Helena on July 25. Dobbin’s combined force numbered 1000 cavalryman with no artillery.
That night Union Col. W. S. Brooks marched forth from Helena with 320 infantry and two artillery pieces to locate enemy forces. The command consisted of detachments from the Sixtieth, and the Fifty Sixth U. S. Colored Infantry. Brooks was under orders to make for Big Creek and cooperate with Major. Eagleton Carmichael, commanding the Fifteenth Illinois Cavalry, who had made his way down the Mississippi as far as Gillen’s Landing, about 15 mile south of Trenton. Brooks reached Big Creek at 3 A. M. on the 26th, and ordered out a few scouts at daylight.
Dobbin, on learning that Brooks command was at Wallace’s Ferry, crossed the creek, dismounted his men and approached the enemy’s position on three sides before making a charge. The fierceness of the onslaught killed Col. Brooks and the Surgeon who assisted him, but not before the Federals managed to form a line behind some logs and trees. A rifled field piece was positioned on the left of the line and about 200 yards from the creek. A howitzer was served on the right.
The Confederates maintained a “severe and continuous fire” on the Federal line, taking a heavy toll on the white officers. A half hour into the fight Capt. J. F. Lembke commanding the artillery “was shot dead.” So was Adjutant T. W. Pratt of the Sixtieth.
Hearing the cannon roaring, Maj. Carmichael’s detachment hurried toward the crossing and arrived on the Wallace Ferry Road at 10 A. M., four hours after the fighting started. After consultation with Lt. Col. Moses Reed of the Fifty Sixth U. S. Infantry, it was decided to retreat immediately toward Helena. A dismounted detachment from Dobbin’s command charged the Illinois cavalry, but was repulsed after severe fighting. Reed then drew in the hard tested infantry onto the road in battle formation. Carmichael deployed his mounted men to form a rear guard.
The Confederates didn’t admit defeat, but continuously struck all sides of the enemy formation until the running fight stopped within ten miles of Helena where the gray cavalry was drawn up at the juncture of the Spring Creek Road. When called out to charge, the black troops responded with cries of “Now we’s after you; remember Fort Pillow.”
Sources vary on the subject of opposing losses. Some claim the Feds suffered 64 men, killed, wounded and missing. Most agree 50-60 highlighted Confederated casualties. Dobbin knew that as soon as he got rested, that Gen. Buford having few cavalry would not impede his design of raiding plantations.
Dobbin and Gordon had come out of a tough battle and the black troops stood up exceedingly well in their first real fight. Federal authorities couldn’t praise them enough. But what doesn’t seem to be understood by many, both then and now, is the blacks were under the impression they were fighting for their lives. (Deryl Sellmeyer, Shelby’s Iron Brigade, Pelican Publishing, Gretna,2007) (Black Soldiers at Big Creek by Brian K. Robertson, Arkansas Historical Quarterly, Autumn, 2007)

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Civil War Roundtable of the Delta August 11, 2014

July 26, 2014 By: admin Category: Arkansas in the Civil War, News, Seven Generals Camp #135, Symposium Series, The Civil War Hub of Arkansas

The Delta Cultural Center will host its quarterly Civil War Roundtable of the Delta on August 11, 2014 at Beth El Heritage Hall located at the corner of Perry and Pecan Streets in historic downtown Helena. The program will be given by Dr. Bill Gurley, PhD. Gurley will speak on the Confederate surgeon William McPheeters’ experiences during the Civil War, including the macabre duties of a surgeon during the Battle of Helena on July 4, 1863.

Gurley and his co-author Cynthia Pitcock are responsible for producing one of the best accounts of the Civil War west of the Mississipi River. I Acted from Principle covers William McPheeters’ travels and miseries with the Army of the Trans-Mississippi and more specifically his first-hand accounts of the day-to-day life and misfortunes of army life and his duties in care for the sick and wounded are well documented.

Gurley will present these aspects of the Civil War in the Delta at 6:30 p.m. on August 11. His powerful images and information will be presented with state-of-the art technology in a classical environment at the Delta Cultural Center’s Beth El Heritage Hall. This event is free and open to the public. For more information, call 870-338-4350.

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Sons of Confederate Veterans Dues are Due

July 26, 2014 By: admin Category: Arkansas in the Civil War, News, The Civil War Hub of Arkansas

Compatriots –
Members of the Arkansas Division – Sons of Confederate Veterans

I just want to touch base with you on a few things. As you are aware there has been a couple of changes iant that we pay our dues on time. When you don’t it affects the whole division. Failure to renew your membership decreases our Division numbers. The attacks of our heritage and the true history of the South have been on the rise all over this country. We in the state of Arkansas have been pretty fortunate thus far; but we have our detractors. In order to be strong we need to stand together.

We need to work together to increase our membership. Remind your fellow compatriots it’s membership renewal time. Each member is very important. Each one of you gives us the numbers to help fight these attacks. Nonen staff of the Arkansas Division. I believe we have the right people in the right jobs. I want to see a strong division and would like to see our membership continue to rise.

As you may be aware, it is the time for our annual membership dues to be paid. This is very important; and it is import the one but the whole. You want to prepare for heritage defense? Renew your membership ASAP. If there’s someone in your camp that needs help this year, see if two or three of you can give a hand up this year. Please Make Sure You Pay Your Dues On Time and get the word out to the rest of our compatriots.

Deo Vindice!
Robert Edwards

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Arkansas marker at Franklin, Tenn a reality

July 23, 2014 By: admin Category: Arkansas in the Civil War, News, The Civil War Hub of Arkansas

Arkansas In The Civil WarSons of Confederate Veterans Compatriot Everett Burr sent this photo out of the progress made on the Arkansas marker to be placed in Franklin, Tenn. This effort is the result of donations from the Arkansas Division SCV, UDC, and many other groups and individuals. Many thanks to those that helped make this marker a reality and THREE CHEERS for Compatriot Burr for his steadfastness and dedication in seeing this project through its completion!

From Everett Burr:

Arkansas Division Commander Robert Edwards has approved and given premission to proceed. The attached pictures are of the Arkansas Monument to be placed on Windstead Hill in Franklin, Tennessee this summer.

The Dedication Ceremonies will be held:
Saturday October 25th @ 1:00 at the Windstead Hill Park.
This will be the event of the Decade. At last the “Men of Arkansas” who participated in this battle will have a
monument that recognizes their efforts and courage.

Make every effort to attend. This will not happen again. So get the word out and mark your calendar
This is a dream come true for those who died and for us the living.

Everett Burr
High Private

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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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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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