Arkansas Civil War

Search the Civil War Hub

Arkansas in the Civil War: Price Keeps Yankees on their Toes

October 21, 2014 By: admin Category: 150th Anniversary Project

Arkansas In The Civil WarOne hundred and fifty years ago, Confederate General Sterling Price had many Union commanders on their toes, nervously anticipating Price’s next move in North Arkansas and Missouri. As the Union garrisons across the state were suffering low troop levels already, a hasty dispatch was sent from NW Arkansas asking for colored troops and corn.

In the dispatch to Colonel S.H. Wattles from General John Thayer, Thayer notes, “I have just received information from Cassville, via Fayettville, to the effect that Price is marching on Springfield, and I am informed also that he contemplates coming via Fayetteville.” The dispatch continued, “You will therefore, upon receipt of this, without a moment’s delay, send Colonel Williams with his command, viz, First Kansas Colored, Fifty-fourth U.S. Colored, and the section of First Arkansas Battery, to this place.”

Thayer directed Colonel Williams, “to march just as rapidly as his troops can stand it. You will also hold your command in readiness to move here at a moment’s notice.” Thayer closed his communication noting, “All the transportation that you have or can press in the country must be used to bring away ammunition and commissaries whenever you leave with your command.”

Other military actions that took place in Arkansas one hundred and fifty years ago include a skirmish at Buck Skull on the 20th; a scout was sent from DeValls Bluff to Augusta from the 22nd-24th; a skirmish on the 24th at St. Charles; and a scout was sent from Little Rock to Benton from the 27th through the 30th. For a complete list of over 800 military actions that took place in Arkansas throughout the Civil War, go to

Enter your email address to subscribe to the Arkansas Toothpick:

Arkansas in the Civil War: Yankees Have Trouble Manning Artillery Posts

October 20, 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, armies on both sides of the Civil War in Arkansas had a difficult time maintaining adequate numbers of troops in their respective garrisons. As the term of service was close to expiration for the 11th Ohio Artillery Battery, a dispatch sent this week in 1864 from Colonel Powell Clayton in Pine Bluff to Lieut. Colonel W.D. Green asks “Can I expect this battery to be relieved by another battery?” The dispatch continues, ” I desire this information, so that should they not be relieved by another battery I can make arrangements to have the guns manned by details.”

Having to replace a professional cannoneer with someone in the detail was Clayton’s fear, knowing the Confederate army was in the surrounding countryside. Clayton closed his dispatch, “I would be glad if this could be avoided, as there are eight guns at this post already manned in that way, and it is difficult to find officers and men competent for that duty.”

The garrison at Pine Bluff was not alone in this matter. The artillery batteries in Helena were, by the close of 1864, manned by the USCT rather than a designated artillery unit. Neither Pine Bluff nor Helena would see another battle to test the batteries.

Military actions that took place in Arkansas one hundred and fifty years ago include a skirmish at Fayetteville on the 12th; a skirmish in Fort Smith on the 14th; a skirmish in Crawford County on the 19th; and skirmishes on the 20th in Benton County, Fayetteville, and Van Buren. For a complete list of over 800 military actions that took place in Arkansas during the Civil War, go to

Enter your email address to subscribe to the Arkansas Toothpick:

Arkansas in the Civil War: Autumn In Missouri

October 20, 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 WarSince the September 27 Pilot Knob-Fort Davidson fiasco, the Army of Missouri engaged in no more battles. On the way to Jefferson City the separated portions of the main column scooped up militia units and “liberated” small towns along their line of march. Resistance was slight and abundant supplies were taken through plunder or purchase.
No real attempt was made to seize the state capitol, Jefferson City for reasons previously mentioned. Had the Confederate flag been hoisted over the dome, the national elections could have been affected. Also the political objective of installing a Confederate state government could have been realized with hope of a mass uprising against Federal domination.
But Gen. Price was out of his element as a cavalry commander. The 55 year old overweight infantry officer now rode around in a carriage more often than on horseback. Skillful management suggested one division should had remained with the slow moving train while collecting “abundant supplies.” This would have allowed the other divisions to fast gallop and take the capitol and prepare defenses before enemy forces arrived.
The raiding column reached Boonville 60 miles northwest of Jefferson City on October 10,. The Missouri counties in that direction brewed Southern sentiment and many in the ranks took unofficial leave to visit their homes. Four days were spent in Boonville taking in the hospitality while waiting for recruiting officers to bring in volunteers and distribute ammunition. In accordance with Kirby Smith’s instructions, Price had now to retreat southward by way of Kansas to take advantage of the prairie grass to sustain his stock before really cold weather arrived.
Major Gen. Alfred Pleasonton arrived in Jefferson City to take command of Union forces in the field. He had previously commanded the Cavalry Corp of the Army of the Potomac in the eastern theater. A. J. Smiths infantry corp then assembled at St Louis, moved upriver to Jefferson City. When Pleasonton learned that Price was on the march to Boonville, he ordered Brig. Gen. John Sanborn with a force of four thousand cavalry to follow them, and report on their movements. No attempt to bring on a fight was to be made until reinforcements came in from St. Louis.
As the Army of Missouri moved farther west to Marshall, the slow wagon bound rate of march gave the Federals extra time to mobilize. Also fronting Gen. Price’s advance from the direction of Kansas City, was Gen. Samuel R. Curtis, the commander of the Department of Kansas with 15000 regulars and militia. Major Gen. James Blunt had 2000 of the former whose lead elements were closing in on Price by the 19th. (Albert Castel, General Sterling Price and the Civil War in the West, Louisiana State University Press, 1968)

Enter your email address to subscribe to the Arkansas Toothpick:

Moments in Time- Confederate Bushwhacker (Robert A. “Bob” Kidd)

October 11, 2014 By: admin Category: Arkansas in the Civil War, MOS&B, Research, The Civil War Hub of Arkansas

Bob Kid apparently lived in Drew County, in the Monticello area, when the war broke out. He joined Company C, of the 3rd Arkansas Infantry at the beginning of the war and was shipped to Lynchburg, Virginia and on June 20, 1861 he was declared unfit for service and sent home. Then, on May 15, 1862, he enlisted into the 2nd Arkansas Cavalry and was placed in Company B, but by December 20, 1862 he was absent on furlough. His record ends there with that unit. In September of 1864 he was in Anderson’s Unattached Cavalry Battalion which was assigned to Fagan’s Cavalry Division, a part of Price’s Cavalry Corp. There is no records of this unit after Price’s Missouri Raid, September – October 1864. Kidd was apparently give the rank of Captain while serving in this unit.

It seemed as though Kidd and his company specialized in cutting the Yankee telegraph lines and stealing the wire. From the Official Records we know that Gen. Powell Clayton tried fervently, to capture Kidd, without success. Kidd’s Company fought several skirmishes with the Union Army which usually resulted in the them scattering into the bushes to make their escape. Kidd had about two dozen men with two lieutenants who would have been highly prized prisoners, but they always made their escape through the bushes.

When the war was over Kidd went all the way to Devall’s Bluff to surrender to keep from surrendering to Clayton, who was the commander of the post at Pine Bluff.

In 1880, Kidd was engaged in the retail whiskey business and lived on South Main Street in Monticello, Drew County, Arkansas. He died October 3, 1883 and was buried in the Troy Cemetery in Drew County.

Confederate Bushwhackers will continue in the next issue; Come ride with the notorious bushwhacker Capt. Jonas Webb.

Enter your email address to subscribe to the Arkansas Toothpick:

Moments in Time- Confederate Bushwhacker (Benjamin F. Riggs)

October 10, 2014 By: admin Category: Arkansas in the Civil War, MOS&B, Research, The Civil War Hub of Arkansas

Benjamin Riggs, a twelve year old boy when the war begin, was the son of James Riggs and Elizabeth Rogers. James was a partner with his brother-in-law, A.A. C. Rogers, in the mercantile business. James was a devoted Confederate and Rogers was a starch Unionist. Therefore, when it was certain that the Union Army was going to occupy Pine Bluff Riggs sold out of his partnership with Rogers and left town leaving his wife and four children behind.

The oldest child was Benjamin, who was 14 by the time the Yankees came to Pine Bluff. He was allowed to go where he wanted to within the town limits but was not allowed to leave town. The family was treated well by the Union Army because of the connection to Rogers, but Elizabeth was worried about James. He was supposed to be in Washington, in Southwest Arkansas but she had not heard from him. Young Benjamin devised a plan to travel to Washington to see about his father. He had a friend that had the privilege of going outside the town limits and asked him to ride his pony out of town for him and hide it out where he knew where it was. The friend agreed and that night Benny swam the lake, which lay on the southern edge of town, retrieved his pony and headed west for Washington to check on his father.

When Benny reached the town of Princeton he was greeted by the Confederate Army seeking information about the Yankees at Pine Bluff. He told them how many soldiers were station there and where their guns were set-up, everything the Confederates needed to make an attack on the town. The next morning they begin their march to the Battle of Pine Bluff. Benjamin continued his trip to Washington.

When he arrived his father had been there but had left, possibly on his way back to Pine Bluff. Benny traded his pony for a mule and joined a Company of Confederate Independent Scouts. It was normal for the Rebel Army to use young boys as scouts because they could move around unnoticed much easier that a grown man could. He took part in a number of activities in Southeast Arkansas. Including keeping the telegraph lines cut between Pine Bluff and Little Rock.

One of the most interesting stories, he told in his journal, was that he and two other boys were sent on a scouting mission North of the Arkansas River. When they arrived at the river they found that a steam boat had ran a ground on a sandbar. The boat had passengers, and was loaded with Union supplies on the way to Little Rock. It even had aboard General Fredrick Steele’s prize race horse and a number of contraband slaves. The three boys decided to capture the boat and it’s prized cargo. As they went aboard a few shots were fired but the boys quickly took procession of the boat and it’s contents.

As they started unloading the cargo Benny was guarding the blacks while the other two unloaded the boat and they over powered him and got away. During the scuffle Benny was hit across the head with a sword and cut severely. He was taken to a nearby home where the lady of the house and her two daughters attended to his wound and for the next several weeks and nursed him while his wound healed. He said that the General’s prize race horse made a handsome gift to Col. Wright, their commander.

When the war was over Benny went to Shreveport, Louisiana and surrendered. He then moved back to Tennessee with his family where he lived to be an old man.

Confederate Bushwhackers will continue in the next issue; Come ride with the notorious bushwhacker Capt. Jonas Webb.

Enter your email address to subscribe to the Arkansas Toothpick:

Donate Now

Civil War in Helena

(click on picture for full size)

The Seven Generals Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp in Helena, Arkansas needs your help in funding several historic projects. The camp plays an integral part in the maintenance of battle field sites and preservation of historic properties. A donation in any amount would be greatly appreciated and put to good use!

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.

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


  • Register
  • Log in
  • WordPress

customer service software technical support
Live Chat by Comm100