One hundred and fifty years ago the occupation of Federal-held territory was becoming more intense for Arkansas citizens caught in the military and political crossfire. Amid the constant threat of Confederate insurgency into Union-occupied military posts, steps were taken to increase security by the commandeering of personal liberties and rights. In late January, General Orders No. 5 was drafted. The Arkansas Gazette was quoted as calling this document “a specimen of federal petty tyranny in northwest Arkansas”.
The main objective of General Orders No. 5 was to prevent Southern sympathizers from trading with the enemy. As supplies became harder to come by for the Confederates in occupied territory, preventing civilian support would prove devastating to the supplying of Rebel forces.
Section 1 of GO No.5 noted that, “No person or persons will be permitted to sell at this post, goods, wares or merchandize of any description, except upon the written permission of the Provost Marshal thereof, and upon such terms and conditions as he may think proper to impose.”
Other rights and liberties included restricting citizens physically within the city limits of Fayetteville in Section 4: “On or after Tuesday the 27th day of Jan’y, 1863, no citizen, male or female, over the age of ten years, and living or sojourning within the corporate limits of the city of Fayetteville, will be permitted to move about the city without having first taken the oath of allegiance to the government of the United States, and bearing upon his or her person a copy of the oath so taken, or a certificate of the taking thereof, regularly signed and executed.”
The reshaping of allegiances to the United States government thus began as the War raged on…