One hundred and fifty years ago, the United States and Confederate armies were utilizing their respective local newspapers to recruit new soldiers; Arkansas was no exception. Entitled simply, “To The Patriotic Citizens Of Arkansas”, John Quillin wrote to Arkansawyers that he was appointed by Confederate Major-General Polk to recruit six companies of Arkansas infantry, who were to be united with four other companies of Arkansas soldiers, then in Columbus, Kentucky.
Quillin also reminds the citizens of Arkansas that, fresh from the “seat of war”, he is “perfectly satisfied that all of us who are subject to military duty will have to fight soon…” The immediacy of hasty recruitment of soldiers was apparent: following a winter muster and training of troops, they would be ready for regular military service by the start of the Spring campaign season.
The article continued: Let a number of volunteers sufficient for a company obtain guns, or have them, such as are fit for immediate use, and notify me of the place and time of mustering and I will attend and muster the men into the Confederate service for one year or the war- pay them for their guns, or buy guns for them, and if necessary, give them one suit of clothes and send them immediately off to Columbus, Kentucky- all at the expense of the government.”
A stigma was publically attached to those men of fighting age and health that refused to volunteer for service in the Confederate Army during the cold winter of January, 1862. John Quillin of Little Rock, in the January 9, 1862 edition of The True Democrat noted that “Now is a chance for all men to fight and no chance for untrue men to hide.”
By examining obscure articles in Arkansas newspapers in 1862, one gets a better understanding of how Civil War companies and regiments of men were recruited and organized throughout the early months of the War Between the States.