One hundred and fifty years ago, the Federal army was settling in Little Rock and Pine Bluff after a hard march from Helena in the Summer of 1863, culminating into several skirmishes and battles, and by late September, the blue-clad soldiers were at last in their respective garrisons. Meanwhile, the Confederate army was routed back to Arkadelphia and Camden. Though the Federal line now divided Arkansas in half at the Arkansas River, the Confederates remained in firm control on the southern half.
As the Confederate army found themselves in the relative safety of Camden, they began to fortify the South Arkansas community. As noted by Confederate surgeon, William McPheeters, “At 4 P.M. [we] removed from our camp on the banks of the Ouachita to the rear of town some 200 yards in the woods—a pleasant place. The change was rendered necessary by the felling of trees to give the artillery command of the two ferries should the Yankees attempt it.”
By September 1863, newspapers were few and far between. Most of Arkansas’ papers had, by this late in the war, shut down due to dwindling supplies of paper because of the blockade. Though Washington, Arkansas was the only Southern paper to have survived throughout the War, many pro-Union papers began cranking out their propaganda throughout the state Federal garrisons.