150 years ago this week in Arkansas, no surprise, the Arkansas Militia from counties, spanning the width of the State, are in full realization of an impending emergency. As militia units begin mustering and drilling, a home manufacture in Rockport, Arkansas begins creating drums for use by the various militia companies. Having a new market for military drums, H.C. Ward placed the following advertisement in the Weekly Arkansas Gazette in Little Rock, Arkansas:
[LITTLE ROCK] WEEKLY ARKANSAS GAZETTE, January 19, 1861
Patronise Home Manufacture. The undersigned is now manufacturing Military Drums, Bass and Tenor, of the very best quality and fine finish, at Rockport, Arkansas. Orders for Drums will be filled as quick as possible. Prices reasonable.
H. C. Ward.
Rockport, Ark., Jan. 12, 1861.
Drums were used for a variety of reasons by militia companies. The most obvious was to utilize a beat for soldiers to use as a queue for marching. Traditionally, when the drum hits, a soldier’s left heel should be striking the ground in unison with his comrades. Another purpose a drum would serve would be for communications in battle, and perhaps another reason a militia company would want to purchase a handmade drum would be for pomp; a well-drilled militia company donning the intricate military uniforms with the sun glazing off newly-polished buttons would need a drum to complete the image of a premiere Arkansas militia unit.