One hundred and fifty years ago, the President of the Confederate States of America issued a call for troops for the purpose of organizing a reserve army corps. Arkansas’ quota for new recruits was 3,000 men whose term of enlistment would be for the duration of the War, “Authorizing him [Arkansas Governor Henry Massie Rector] to receive the said number, by independent companies, and to establish camps of instruction at suitable and accessible points.”
In response to President Davis’ call for additional troops, Governor Rector complied, issuing an official proclamation on August 8, 1861: “Fifteen hundred of which will rendezvous at Clarksville, Johnson County, and the like number at Batesville, Independence County, Ark’s, there to be formed into battalions and regiments, at the pleasure of the President, and to be armed, equipped and officered by the Confederate Government organized companies reporting to me from the respective points of rendezvous, will be received and provided for until the requisite number is supplied.”
The next day saw a Confederate force of 11,000 culminating in underbrush and thickets of oaks near Springfield, Missouri. While the Federal forces amounted to only 5400 men under the command of Nathanial Lyon, the Federals were nonetheless ready for a fight that would, they hoped, expel the Confederates from the border state of Missouri.
On August 10, 1861, the second major clash between the Yanks and Rebels occurred at Wilson’s Creek. It was the first battle west of the Mississippi River and, like the first battle of Manassas back in July, the result was disastrous for the Federal Army. Lyon made the mistake of dividing his inferior force during the battle, resulting in overwhelming numbers of Confederates bursting through the Federal line. The battle resulted in a Federal loss of over a 25% of those engaged.
Following the Confederate victory at Wilson’s Creek, Arkansas would remain safe from any Federal threat.