When the Civil War began, President Lincoln and his General-in-Chief Winfield Scott implemented a strategy in blockading the Southern ports. The plan also called for a Federal advance down the Mississippi River in the hopes of cutting the South in two. The purpose of this plan was to strangle the life out of the South by creating obstacles in the transportation of goods and services to the Confederacy. Akin to how an anaconda strangles the life from its victim, the “Anaconda Plan” was very effective.
One hundred and fifty year ago, a Little Rock-based newspaper was feeling the pressure of the anaconda plan. By 1862 paper was getting hard to come by in Arkansas. By 1863, paper was a luxury to the Confederate Army and newspapers were hit hard especially by the paper shortage. To combat the logistics in running a newspaper, the Arkansas True Democrat reported in the first week of May, “Our Reduced Size.—Can’t help it, gentlemen. Mr. Yerkes has gone for a supply of paper. As the feds are below Vicksburg and crossing may be delayed for weeks, we are bound to reduce our sheet so as to have enough to issue a paper, however small, until he returns with a supply. “Half a loaf,” you know. It is mortifying, but it cannot be helped.”
Military actions within Arkansas this week one hundred and fifty years ago include skirmishing at Chalk Bluff on May 1-2, a military action at La Grange on May 1, and a Federal scout to the White and St. Francis Rivers from May 6-15, 1863.