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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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Arkansas in the Civil War: Helena Garrison Inspected

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

Arkansas In The Civil WarOne hundred and fifty years ago, Major-General N. J. T. Dana, commander of the District of Vicksburg, arrived in Helena to inspect the Union garrison. His inspection revealed that the health of the troops in Helena, “appears to be the most deadly place on the river.” He noted that, “The Sixth Minnesota should be immediately removed to Vicksburg to regain its health enough to make it effective. The effective force here now is about 3,100 men.”

General Dana’s inspection revealed that the 15th Illinois Cavalry consisted of five companies and were largely unarmed, “having only 185 carbines and accouterments, most of which are condemned.” The unit needed 300 sets of horse equipments, 400 carbines and accoutrements, and 343 pistols.

The inspection of Battery E, Second U.S. Artillery (colored) revealed a healthier condition with 108 effective soldiers. The artillery battery consisted of two 3-inch ordinance rifles and two captured 12-pound mountain howitzers, 83 horses, and three six-mule teams in good condition.

The 56th USCT had 780 effective men, “of which 581 are at Helena and the remainder at two points four and fourteen miles below here guarding a district of plantations.” The regiment’s weapons were “dirty and in bad order, with the exception of Company I, Captain Mohrstadt, which was in good order.” But the commanding officer noticed that the 56th USC had, “Many deficiencies in haversacks, canteens, and cartridges. Instruction of officers in drill and tactics very deficient; knapsacks very poor and badly slung. General appearance unsoldierlike.”

The 60th USCT regiment was also inspected. This unit was in much better condition than their 56th USCT counterpart. General Dana commented that their, “Arms in tolerable order. Clothing, equipments, and accouterments good. Drill and instruction pretty good. Discipline good. Officers tolerably good. General appearance rather creditable.” Though the unit’s sanitary condition was not so well, Dana made note that the 60th USCT garrisons the multiple hilltop batteries in Helena.

The 43rd Illinois was inspected next and was found to have 684 effective soldiers. Their weapons and equipment were in good order, but lacked in sanitary condition.

The 6th Minnesota was found to have 325 effective soldiers out of 937. Dana commented, “This is an old and most excellent regiment, with a fine set of intelligent and well-instructed officers. The colonel is an excellent and educated soldier.” This unit left Cairo, Illinois two months previous with over 900 men fit for duty. According to the inspection report, “They have been terribly afflicted at this unhealthy spot till the sick-list is now 598. It has increased in the last two days forty-five, and there are a number of deaths daily.”

Overall, the readiness of the soldiers garrisoning Helena 150 years ago was lacking in both equipment and soldiers fit for duty. Because of the poor sanitary conditions, Major-General Dana recommended that several units be relocated to Vicksburg where they could recover from their illnesses in a better climate.

There were several military actions that occurred in Arkansas this week one hundred and fifty years ago, including a skirmish near Pine Bluff on the 18th; a skirmish at DeVall’s Bluff on the 21st; a skirmish on the 22nd in Yell County; a skirmish in DeVall’s Bluff on the 23rd; skirmishes at Devall’s Bluff, Fort Smith, Jones’ Hay Station, Long Prairie, Ashley’s Station, Gerald Mountain, and Mud Town on the 24th; and a skirmish at Brownsville on the 25th. For a complete list of military actions that took place in Arkansas during the Civil War, go to www.arkansastoothpick.com.


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150th Anniversary Of the Death of General Patrick Cleburne to be Observed This Fall

August 17, 2014 By: admin Category: Arkansas in the Civil War, MOS&B, News, The Civil War Hub of Arkansas

A note from the Jenkins’ Ferry Military Order of the Stars and Bars: At this present time we are working on finding a place to have this event on November 1st. It will consist of a dinner, a guest speaker, and the awarding three scholarship to collage students, in the amount of $500.00. Each chapter, in the Society, will award one scholarship to the student of their choosing. This event will be hosted by the General Patrick Cleburne, Arkansas Society of the MOS&B and will honor our namesake, General Patrick R. Cleburne. There will be a meeting of the Society before the dinner. More info will follow.

Mark this one on your calendar and plan on being at this event. We, the Jenkins Ferry Chapter, are still short on funds to pay our chapters part on this scholarship. Several months ago I asked members for small donations to cover this expense. I received only one response, but it is not to late. So please be a part of this historic effort and send whatever amount you can. I plan on sending the Society Adjutant a check for the full amount and the name of our scholarship
winner June 15th.


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Arkansas in the Civil War: Exodus From Arkansas

August 16, 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 WarUnion sympathizers in Arkansas had expected their situations to improve with the occupation by Federal troops. But by the summer of 1864, they were more discouraged then they had ever been.
During Confederate domination those who didn’t reveal their Union sentiments were safe, but they had to stay on guard to keep from bringing themselves under suspicion.
When the Federals took possession of Little Rock and Fort Smith in September 1863 and established outposts at several other points, the Unionists minded civilians were sure their hardships had ended. They flocked to various provosts marshals’ offices to take the oath of allegiance to the U. S., and took for granted this identification with the Union could do no harm and would guarantee some measure of protection.
They were frustrated on finding the army had inadequate numbers to protect all towns and settlements. Civilians of loyal sympathy living in occupied cities had no trouble, but those who lived out of town and on farms were at the mercy of Confederates and their friends.
It was not unusual for guerrillas to venture within a few miles of the strongest Federal garrisons. Homes were plundered and burned, Union men were killed, crops and livestock were stolen or destroyed, and the Unionists came to realize that they could not remain in their homes peaceably.
Having to feed, clothe, and house those who crowded into Little Rock and Fort Smith became quite a burden to the army. The refugees that could took steamboat passage to Northern states if they had relatives who would take them in, or if they could support themselves in their new home.
Most of the loyal civilians gave up their homes with extreme bitterness toward the Federal authorities who failed to give them sufficient protection. Others blamed the Confederates who had driven them away, and were determined to have revenge some day.
Many members of the legislature and other state and county officials were among the refugees moving to other states. Some citizens feared this might be the end of the already faltering reorganized state government. The radical faction stood out because they advocated “making the country loyal or making it waste.” If Union men could not live in peace, they wanted to make wasteland of the state so the “rebels” could not stay either. (Margaret Ross, Chronicles of Arkansas, Arkansas Gazette, August 7, 1964)


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Arkansas in the Civil War: Helena Gets Needed Reinforcements

August 15, 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 meager number of Union forces in Helena were finally getting reinforcements amid a countryside of eager and willing Confederates ready to pounce at the first opportunity. As the commanding general took leave from his Helena post, General Buford’s command was under the capable hands of Colonel William Crooks.

Crooks was a graduate of West Point and served during the war in the 6th Minnesota. According to a dispatch sent to Major General Fredrick Steele, Crooks, “seems to be a man of a great deal of dash and one to be relied on, judging from manner.” The dispatch noted, “He has little or no cavalry.” With Colonel Dobbins camped on Big Creek, twenty miles distant, Crooks was well-aware that the enemy consisted of between 600-2,000 men.

The dispatch continued, “The arms Shelby got from above are supposed to be from the Sturgis fight. Seventeen hundred muskets, 100,000 rounds of cartridges, and two pieces of artillery were crossed in flats (this is known) and have gone west. It is Colonel Crooks’ opinion that Shelby intends crossing the White, above Devall’s Bluff, and make south with his conscripts.”

This week one hundred and fifty years ago there were thirteen military actions that took place in Arkansas, including a skirmish at Augusta on the 10th; skirmishes in Crawford County and at White Oak Creek on the 11th; an expedition from Helena to Kent’s Landing from the 11th-13th; a skirmish at Van Buren on the 12th; a skirmish near Searcy on the 13th; a skirmish at Fayetteville on the 14th; a skirmish at Carrolton on the 15th; a skirmish at Richland Creek on the 16th; an affair near Pine Bluff on the 17th; and skirmishes on the 18th at Benton and at Pine Bluff. For a complete list of military actions that took place during the Civil War in Arkansas, go to www.arkansastoothpick.com.


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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 Arkansastoothpick.com.

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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:
Crystal Truman Batson
501-200-0717
crystalsconnections@gmail.com

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