One hundred and fifty years ago, logistic problems in supplying soldiers with necessary provisions were apparent. As citizens rallied and rose to the challenge, troops expressed their gratitude to those responsible for a variety of logistical support.
In an 1861 newspaper, a Confederate company of soldiers relayed their gratitude to the citizens of Little Rock for the hard work they had done in supplying the Camden Knights, Company B. According to the Arkansas True Democrat, soldiers’ “messes have been supplied daily and bountifully with the luxuries of the gardens; fair hands have prepared them a uniform for the campaign, upon which they are now about to enter, and their camp has often been graced with the presence of those whose cheering smile and encouraging words go so far towards mitigating and relieving the asperities of a soldier’s life.”
The Captain of the Confederate company of soldiers continued in his letter to the Little Rock citizens through the Arkansas True Democrat with a sincere appreciation to the Arkansawyers who were responsible in supplying his troops: “If any incentives were required (other than those presented by the holy cause in which we fight,) to nerve our arms in the coming struggle, it would surely be found in the thought that we are the guardians and defenders of the homes of those who have so generously and patriotically contributed their exertions to promote our comfort and ease; next to those who mourn our absence around our own hearthstones, thoughts of them shall furnish our most cherished recollections in the bivouac, our noblest stimulant to action, when the cloud of battle gathers around us; and may that God whose blessings are promised to the beautiful and good of earth, grant to the noble ladies of Little Rock, a higher and worthier reward than this, our poor tribute of thanks.”
Compared to today’s infantrymen in the U.S. Army, the list of supplies needed for an infantryman in the Confederate Army in 1861 was quite short. Among the various items an Arkansas soldier during the Civil War needed for the impending Winter were: “One good country jeans coat or jacket, two pairs of pants, same material, two good cotton shirts, heavy, two good linsey shirts, two pairs of good linsey drawers, two pairs of good woolen socks, and one pair of first rate shoes.”
This week’s column serves as a tribute to those citizens who put the task of supplying Arkansas troops above their own selfish comforts.