One hundred and fifty years ago, the capital city of Little Rock was reinvesting its infrastructure to serve the purpose as the Head Quarters for the entirety of the Army of the Trans-Mississippi. Having served as Commander of the ATM only since late May 1862, Thomas C. Hindman was steadily issuing General Orders to strengthen his operations. With Jacksonport currently under Federal occupation and the United States Navy posing a threat on the White River, General Orders Number 19 was issued.
One of the most pressing issues Hindman was facing in late June 1862 was the lack of organization in his command structure. General Orders Number 19 outlined the necessity of citizens giving up some of their rights as guaranteed under the Constitution for the security of the state and its people; an argument that continues even today following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
General Orders Number 19 starts, “A state of War has virtually suspended the ordinary remedies for the protection of citizens in their rights of person & property. Some means must be employed to secure them against lawlessness and villainy. Therefore without interfering with the functions of any civil tribunal or offices, the direct protection of the military authority is extended over the people of this District…”
In order to secure the protection of the people of Arkansas, a new means of law and order was thus implemented. Each county and/or parish (Hindman’s command stretched southward to the Red River in Northern Louisiana) came under the jurisdiction of its respective Provost Marshal. Section 7 of General Orders Number 19 outlines, specifically, one of the main responsibilities of the Provost:
“The Provost Marshal of each Division- under the direction of the Provost Marshal General- will have command of all the Independent Companies within his limits, organized under the provisions of General Orders No 17.- He will appoint the most energetic and reliable Captain in each parish or county, to be the Provost Marshal of such parish or county.
With the passage of GO 19, Hindman was in full control of Arkansas; Habeas Corpus was suspended and the citizens of Arkansas realized then that things would get worse before they got better.