One hundred and fifty years ago, Arkansawyers began taking serious the preparations that were needed to head off any Northern invasions. As Arkansas seceded on May 6, 1861, the First Arkansas Volunteer Regiment left the grounds of the Little Rock Arsenal on May 8 and arrived in Lynchburg, Virginia on May 19, 1861. Arkansas was officially supplying troops to the Confederate States Army.
Another group of men that were busily making their preparations for war was the 1st Arkansas State Troops under the command of Patrick R. Cleburne. These men would find their way officially into Confederate service as the 15th Arkansas Infantry. On May 16th, they were presented a Confederate flag in Mound City, Arkansas:
“About 8 o’clock the entire battalion was put in motion for the purpose of participating in the ceremonies. They marched to the hotel in all ‘the pomp and circumstance of glorious war.’ The bristling bayonets and the general paraphernalia presented an imposing appearance. Each company was composed of stalwart men—soldiers strong in bone and muscle and nerve, and still stronger in hope and faith.”
The 1st Arkansas and the15th Arkansas Infantry Regiments would eventually consolidate into the 1st/15th Arkansas Infantry Regiment following the April, 1862 Battle of Shiloh, in which both units took an extraordinary number of casualties.