Winter Made Travel Difficult in Arkansas During the Civil WarOne hundred and fifty years ago, the winter weather was hampering military actions throughout the state. With the most unimproved road system in the South, Arkansas and her infrastructure were largely at the mercy of untold intangibles, including rain, snow, and other wintery weather.

Major General J.J. Reynolds called back a scouting expedition that had left Brownsville en route to Helena because, “the recent rains having made the country almost impassable.” Reynolds continued, “While this force, about 1,000, under General Geiger, has been at Augusta it has collected nearly 400 beef-cattle, over 100 animals, and found part forage in the country.

Captain Thomas Stevens of the 28th Wisconsin also made a note of the winter weather in Pine Bluff. He noted, “It commenced snowing at noon the day we left, & we have had a rough time, I assure you, — mud, wet feet, freezing cold nights & all that.”

Military actions that occurred this week 150 years ago include an expedition from Fort Pinney to Kimball’s Plantation on January 27 and operations on the upper Arkansas River began and continued through February 9. For a complete list of over 700 military actions that occurred in Arkansas during the Civil War, go to