The Arkansas Toothpick has decided to take on a mammoth undertaking in preserving the accurate heritage and history of Arkansas during the Civil War. We have decided to publish a weekly account of what happened in South East Arkansas during the War, starting with February 1860. This project is necessary as it will show a well-researched timeline of the era. Noting that nothing happens in a proverbial historical vacuum, we will start this project immediately to show the readers a depection of prewar life and circumstances. The sources in this project are well-researched and each post will have its cooresponding document using solely primary sources when available.
Because of various projects that the Patrick R. Cleburne Camp is currently involved, this site will not provide every detail of Civil War life in Pine Bluff and South East Arkansas, but it will, however, give the reader a general idea of the common experience of Arkansawers during the pre war era.
Thanks to Vicki Betts, we now have transcribed newspapers from all over the United States before and during the Civil War. Though she included only a fraction of the microfilm transcribed onto her websitie, she has, nonetheless given us a clear and colorful window to the past. One such instance is in the case of an event in Little Rock. In Februarry, 1860, citizens of Arkansas were notified in the True Democrat that balloon ascentions would be made available to the general public. This must have stirred up quiet a talk in the town!
The following was found in the Arkansas True Democrat:
[LITTLE ROCK] ARKANSAS TRUE DEMOCRAT, February 22, 1860, p. 3, c. 7
Grand, Sublime and Novel Exhibition by the Ericsson and Hydrogen Balloon Company! Will exhibit at Little Rock, on Saturday, March 3d, 1860, in their Mammoth Wall Pavilion, Positively for One Day Only! Circuses! Menageries! and all other Exhibitions thrown in the shade by the Thrilling Sublimity of the most Stupendous Balloon exhibitions in the world!! The unrivalled Aeronauts with this Company!
Mr. W. J. Shotts, the greatest of American Aeronauts, and Mons. Le White, the great Daring, Foreign, Equiliptic Aeronaut having been engaged by this Company, at an immense expense to visit the principal cities and towns of the United States, for the purpose of making a variety of their unrivalled and magnificent Balloon Ascensions!
The Company will distribute at each place where the Ascension takes place, $1,000 Dollars worth of Prizes to the audience, consisting of handsome Gold and Silver Watches, Magnificent Gold Jewelry, Beautiful Gold and Silver Pencils, and Admission Tickets to Prof. Pyrington’s