One hundred and fifty years ago, Arkansas was in a political and military lockdown. As the Federal Army inched its way through the state, Thomas C. Hindman took full control of the state. The past several columns have related various General Orders given by the Commander showing the far reaching influence the Confederate Army had on the government of Arkansas; habeas corpus was suspended.
This week in 1862, Chief Provost Marshal of the District of Arkansas had printed a declaration of price setting by the Confederate Army in Little Rock to prevent price gouging and it also regulated the cotton trade. According to an 1862 newspaper, “When thread is sold by factors in quantities of 20 pounds or less, to any one person or family, in any one year, 50 cents per lb.; and 30 cents per lb., if sold in quantities of over 20 lbs. to any one person or family in any one year. Where cotton is furnished, the price shall be 10 cents per lb. less than when the manufacturer furnishes it…”
As the 1862 draught was draining the life from many soldiers in camp, the ladies of Washington, Arkansas proposed that, “It is of the greatest importance, that all of our housewives put up large quantities of pickles. It is impossible for our armies to procure vegetables. Living on salt food and bread, or beans, in crowded camps, they become subject, with such diet, to many loathsome scorbutic diseases. Pickles are a preventive. They are used as such, for sailors, on long whaling voyages. They are easily transported, and will keep long. They will be extensively purchased for army stores.”
As the 1862 summer continued baking the landscape of Arkansas, Hindman was steadily building his forces to check the southerly advance of U.S. General Curtis’ army. Following is a timeline of what happened this week in 1862:
July 6 – Skirmish, Bayou Cache
July 6 – Skirmish, Devall’s Bluff
July 6-7 – Actions, Grand Prairie, Aberdeen
July 7 – Skirmishes, Hill’s Plantation, Cache River, Round Hill, Bayou de View
July 8 – Skirmish, Orient Ferry, Black River
July 8- Hindman orders Pike to proceed to Fort Smith to protect Fort Smith and Van Buren. Pike orders some of his forces there and resigns. Hindman accepts the resignation. Pike issues an address to the Indian Troops that Hindman does not take well. Pike is ordered arrested but escapes into south Arkansas.
July 9 – Skirmish, Aberdeen
July 10 – Skirmish, Scatterville