During the Civil War, newspapers across Arkansas became the voice of the people through hastily-written editorials scratched on whatever scraps of paper they could find. Topics ranged from impromptu poetry to lines of prose mused by a frenzy of patriotism. One editor of an Arkansas newspaper published a set of rules for citizens to abide by while submitting their editorials and poetry to set a consistency in print. Following is the reprint of submission advice from the Weekly Arkansas Gazette in Little Rock:
1. Write on but one side of the paper—making all of your words and punctuation marks so plain that they cannot be misunderstood.
2. Use plain language which no one can misunderstand.
3. Avoid diluting ideas and spinning out articles to an unnecessary and unreasonable length. Write what is to be written, and quit when it is finished. Many articles are rejected on account of their length, and many, which are published, are not read for the same reason.
4. Mature well what you write. Never write in haste, and ask an editor to correct your articles, for fear they may not be published. The editor does not know what you want to write, and does not, therefore, know even how your article should be punctuated, much less what words you desire to use. Besides, the time of an editor is as valuable as yours, and there is no reason why he should do your work.
Military actions that took place in Arkansas this week one hundred and fifty years ago include a skirmish at St. Charles on November 24th; a skirmish in Dardanelle on the 29th; and a skirmish near Cypress Creek on December 1. For a complete list of military actions that took place in Arkansas during the Civil War, go to www.arkansastoothpick.com.