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Arkansas in the Civil War: 1861

In late March of 1861, groups of men throughout Arkansas began piling into organizations that would eventually become Confederate regiments. As men from all across the state began taking a keen interest in leaving the Union and joining the Confederate army, fundraiser began to become commonplace throughout Arkansas.

Raising a unit of Confederate men was a tough job, as their counterparts in the north were a part of an already-standing military that was established in the 1700’s. The Confederate army had to start from scratch. One such fundraiser occurred in Pulaski County in Lefevre Township.

According to an 1861 Arkansas True Democrat, the citizens of Lefevre decided to appoint committees earmarked to some aspect of a fundraiser to take place the following month, when “a secession pole will be raised, upon which the ladies will hoist a blue flag.”

The notice continued, “There will be several orations on the present impending questions, and also a good band of music will be in attendance.” The editorial closed with the promise of, “a large and sumptuous dinner will be given, and a sufficiency of good water.”

The editor of this column, Ron Kelley, is a Public Historian in Helena, Arkansas and writes for the Helena World newspaper. Kelley is the author of Diary of a State: 1860 and Arkansas in the Civil War: 1861. For more information on Arkansas in the Civil War, go to