One hundred and fifty years ago, Arkansas found itself ever more engaged in the politics and militaria associated with the War Between the States. As the Federal advance throughout the nation forced the Confederate government to consider alternatives, Arkansas found itself vulnerable in every way to invasion. In late May 1862, decisions were in fact made that reorganized the Confederate military machine.
Arkansas over the past month had steadily felt isolated from the rest of the South. The Arkansas Gazette was not publishing their paper due to the lack of paper, the Arkansas True Democrat was printing a fraction of what they were used to, likewise due to the dwindling supplies because of the blockade strangling the life, in may cases literally, from the South. Arkansawyers were destitute and in need of a plan.
As Texas cavalry units were halted in Arkansas by General John Sheldon Roane, the resulting building up of troops thus began in late May 1862. Over the next few months, the resulting buildup of troops in Arkansas nearly cost the Federals the War over the next couple years as soldiers and sailors from Texas, Louisiana, the Indian Territory, and even Mexico began arriving at places such as Camp White Sulphur Springs in South East Arkansas near Pine Bluff.
The past articles have led to an in depth view of the goings on in the state and her citizens, the hospitals that were set up for wounded and sick soldiers, and the seemingly mundane life of a nineteenth century Arkansawyer. Over the next couple years, however, the focus of this column will be on the Confederate army in Arkansas. While the previous articles have been based largely on letters and newspapers from the 1860s, future columns will be based on telegraphs and other official correspondence to show the inner workings of the Confederate army in Arkansas.