One hundred and fifty years ago, the Confederate army in Arkansas had a most pressing problem with the increasing number of troops and Negros deserting the military and military posts. On December 22, 1862, a telegraph was sent by John Crump to Jerome Wilson noting that the African Americans deserted from their camp in Van Buren- an act that was becoming more and more frequent and thus causing more problems for the Confederate Army in NW Arkansas: “The negroes ran away and details will not work. This accounts for the boat- not having General Holmes will please explain to General Hindman.” These issues that the Rebs were encountering with the negroes caused the delay in the departure of a boat.
Negroes were not the only ones escaping the clutches of the Confederate Army in late December, 1862. In a Christmas Day telegraph from John Crisp to General Thomas C. Hindman, Crisp related that “He [Holmes] orders me most positively to continue in arresting deserters in this and surrounding counties and send the same to him [Holmes] at Little Rock. Which order shall I obey.”
From this news publication and the author of the Arkansas Civil War column, we all wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and let our thoughts and prayers be with all our veterans who may be in harm’s way protecting the liberties we enjoy as Americans today. God bless!