Arkansas Time Line
There were over 700 military actions in Arkansas throughout the Civil War! there were likewise countless significant cultural and political events, etc. that took place in Arkansas throughout the War! Below is an official list of those military actions as they occured 150 yeyars ago. By the end of the 150th anniversary of the War Between the States, every action will be listed below and will coincide with an Arkansas Toothpick alert on the day that action occurs. The only way to make sure you get the alert is to subscribe to The Toothpick! Subscriptions are free!
If you find any errors in the timeline below or if you have anything to add to it, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Legend: Throughout the next few yers, readers will become educated on various types of militaria durinrg the War. For example, the differences between a battle and a skirmish, etc. The follow may help the Toothpick’s audience distinguish one f rom the other:
Battle: a prolonged combat involving large armies
Engagement: a general encounter between armies, or a minor encounter between smaller forces
Skirmish: a small encounter, usually incidental to a larger military movement
Action: active, frequently sharp, offensive and defensive movements; the term affair simply means a fight.
Reconnaissance: an examination of a territory to gain information; a scout is much the same
Expedition: a journey for a specific purpose
Operation: a complete military action or mission of some kind
Demonstration: an exhibition of force
Siege: is a continued attempt to gain possession of a place
8-06-1860: Election Day, Arkansas political “family” routed. Thomas C. Hindman wins House seat, Rector wins Governorship. Arkansas voted for Breckenridge.
November 1860: Captain James Totten and 65 men of the 2nd U.S. Artillery arrive quietly in Little Rock and garrison the previously unguarded Federal Arsenal.
11-15-1860: Governor Rector inaugurated. In his inaugural speech he becomes the first State official to openly call for secession.
11-17-1860: Secession meeting called in Camden, 4 people show up.
11-23-24-1860: Congressman Hindman and Congressman Gantt address the legislature in hopes to stir the flagging secession sentiment.
12-12-1860: Special message from the Governor asking that a secession convention be called “to determine the will of the people”.
12-12-1860: “Southern States” newspaper founded in Little Rock to advocate secession.
12-22-1860: House of Representatives passes bill forming secession convention.
1-12-1861: Pro-Union Arkansas Gazette editor C.C. Danley capitulates and calls for a proper defense be prepared.
1-16-1861: Senate passes House bill forming secession convention.
?? – Rumor sent from Little Rock to Memphis by wire stating that Federal troops on the way from Fort Gibson in Indian Territory to reinforce the Little Rock arsenal.
?? – Rumor makes its way to Helena where the populace is enraged. A public meeting is held and it is resolved to go to Little Rock and seize the Arsenal. The Governor’s men encourage these actions in not so many words.
1-28-1861: Governor Rector informs Captain Totten at the Arsenal that reinforcements or destruction of arms or supplies at the Arsenal will not be tolerated.
1-29-1861: Captain Totten informs Governor Rector that no reinforcements are expected. He also wires Washington for instructions.
1-29-1861: Van Buren City Alderman D.C. Williams prints a broadside which initiates a resurgence of Unionism in the northwest.
2-1-1861: Governor hears rumor that Federal troops moving up the Arkansas River on steamboat S.H. Tucker. Guns are placed on the Little Rock wharf. Volunteers gather at the wharf to repel the invaders. The rumor is false.
2-4-1861: Large bodies of men arrive on foot and by boat from the delta counties believing that the Governor had called them to seize the arsenal.
2-5-1861: Little Rock city council passes resolution opposing “unauthorized seizure of the arsenal”.
2-5-1861: Arkansas Senators wire the Governor imploring him to prevent the seizure of the arsenal for the moment.
2-6-1861: Rector, seeking a way out, sends a note to Captain Totten at the Arsenal asking for him to surrender of his own volition.
2-8-1861: Captain Totten gives up, turns the Arsenal over to the Governor. Amid great ceremony Totten and his men board ship for St. Louis. The ladies of Little Rock present him with a sword. Totten praises the citizens.
2-12-1861: Seizure of U.S. Stores in Pine Bluff
2-18-1861: Special election day. Voters of Arkansas turn down secession 23,626 to 17,927. The voters did approve a secession convention 27,412 to 15,826. 20,000 voters stayed home.
3-4-1861: Lincoln’s inaugural address. Union Secession convention members pay $75.00 for the text to be wired to Little Rock. Neither pro-Unionists or pro-Secessionists cared for the speech at all.
3-4-1861: Arkansas Secession Convention convenes.
3-5-1861: “Test vote” held for Convention chair, pro-Unionists win 40-35. The vote is split geographically between yeoman farmers in the mountainous northwest and planters in the delta.
3-6-1861: Two South Carolina visitors are allowed to speak at the Convention. They stated that since South Carolina was responsible for Arkansas being allowed into the Union, that Arkansas should follow her out of it.
3-8-1861: Fire-eaters at the Convention begin to lose patience when every attempt to draw up a secession ordinance is voted down.
3-11-1861: Unionists in good mood, rumor is that Lincoln will evacuate Charleston Forts. Unionists vote to open each session with a prayer. Pro-sessecionists are exasperated.
3-12-1861 – 3-15-1861: A titanic display of Arkansans oratorial skills or lack thereof.
3-16-1861:Roll call vote. Secession defeated 39-35. 39 guns are fired at Van Buren in celebration. In the delta meetings are held advocating division of the State. Secessionists manage to get a concession from the convention that would allow a vote of the people.
4-12-1861: Fort Sumter fired on by Confederate forces to prevent its relief. Confusion reigns. Inquiries are made to the Governor of Missouri who replies that Missouri WILL secede and Arkansas better get out of the way. Pro-Union Arkansas Gazette gives up and calls for resistance to coercion by the Federal government. U.S. calls for 780 Arkansans to “suppress combinations”. Governor Rector refuses.
4-18-1861: Seizure of U.S. Stores at Napoleon
4-23-1861: Rumors of Federal troops on the way to Fort Smith prompts Governor Rector to order the militia to seize the Fort. Boatloads of militia reach Fort Smith and find it abandoned by the U.S. Government. The trip back to Little Rock becomes a party and $500.00 damage to the boats are reported. This sets off a wave of pro-Confederate patriotism through most of the State.
4-27-1861: Summons issued for the Secession Convention to reconvene.
4-6-1861: Secession Convention reconvenes to the news of Virginia and Tennessee leaving the Union which effectively ends any pro-Union resistance. The vote is held, only 5 pro-Union votes are recorded. David Walker calls for the 5 to change their votes so that the measure is unanimous to show that “Arkansas stands as a unit against coercion.” All dissenters change their votes save Isaac Murphy. At 10 minutes past 4 o’clock Arkansas left the Union amid “general acclamation that shook the building to its very foundations.”
4-11-1861: Strong Union men appointed military commanders over the objections of Governor Rector. Some of the militia refused to fight under them. A political war breaks out between the Governor and the Secession Convention over who has authority. This continues for the rest of the month. Both the Conservatives and the now out of favor “family” work together to oust Rector.
6-1-1861: Secession Convention votes not to adjourn. Six members resign and force a quorum call that fails. The Convention is forced to adjourn but announce that they have the ability to reform under certain circumstances. The end of the Convention does not end the internal political strife.
6-21-1861: General Bart Pearce drives General Dandridge McRae from his camp when McRae attempts to swear the State men into Confederate service.
6-25-1861: General Hardee ordered to command Arkansas by Confederate Government.
6-29-1861: General McCulloch of Texas joins forces with Arkansas troops and issues a call for every man in Arkansas for three years or the war. Arms are requested from Richmond. Arkansas Military board is irritated and issues call for 10,000 men for 12 months scattered all over the State. McCulloch received few troops, the men preferred the idea of 12 months.
7-09-1861: McCulloch complains about receiving no arms or ammunition.
7-22-1861: General Hardee finally arrives to take charge of Arkansas troops and finds few arms, ammunition, or clothing. Hardee informs General Price in Missouri that he cannot assist in saving Missouri until his organization is perfected. State troops balk at being transferred to Confederate control and go home.
9-10-1861: Arkansas’s Army essentially melts away in disgust at being treated “like so much livestock”. In the northwest only 18 men remain.
12-09-1861: Skirmish, Bushy Creek
1-16-1862: General Earl Van Dorn is assigned to command the Trans-Mississippi and put an end to the bickering between McCulloch and Price. This he did quite effectively.
2-17-1862: Action, Sugar Creek
2-18-1862: Skirmish, Bentonville
2-22-1862: Confederates evacuate Fayetteville, Arkansas.
2-28-1862: Affair, Osage Springs
March 1862: Inflation takes off, Memphis speculators are blamed. “(Memphis) has been a huge leech fastened on the side of our State sucking its life blood and never satisfied.”
March 03-07 1862: Reconnaissance to Berryville
3-06: Legislature called into session, no quorum.
March 06-08 1862: Battles, Pea Ridge, Bentonville, Leetown, Elkhorn Tavern General’s McCulloch, Slack, and McIntosh are killed. Van Dorn starts to pull most forces out of Arkansas into Mississippi.
3-13-1862: Action, Spring River
3-17-1862: Legislature gets a quorum, more tinkering with the militia system.
3-18-1862: Skirmish, Salem, Spring River