On September 10, 1861, Brigadier-General Benjamin McCulloch drafted a proclamation from his headquarters at Camp Jackson, Arkansas. He was facing supply problems; he was facing mass desertion problems; in general, things were dire for the Confederate command in Arkansas as the Summer began to wind down. McCulloch reminded the citizens of Arkansas, Texas, and Louisiana, “Every exertion is now being made on the part of our enemies of the North to retrieve their late disastrous defeats on the plains of Manassas and the late battle-field of Oak Hills [and] It now becomes necessary, in order to maintain the glorious achievements of our arms, that a large force should be thrown into the field on this frontier; and having received instructions from the War Department at Richmond to increase the force under my command, I will receive and muster into the service of the Confederate States five regiments of infantry from each of the above-named States, by companies, battalions, or regiments, for three years or during the war.”
He then set places for these new recruits to meet and begin their training for Confederate service. He wrote that those men from Arkansas would rendezvous at Fort Smith and Camp Jackson. “I have in my possession arms sufficient to equip two regiments of Arkansas troops.” Though he did not have enough for all five regiments, he continued, “The remaining three are required to equip themselves with the best they can procure.” The proclamation also related that those men from Texas would meet at Sherman and those from Louisiana would rendezvous at Little Rock. All five Texas and all five Louisiana regiments were to “equip themselves with the best arms they can procure.”
Though arms were impossible to find for all the soldiers from all the states, McCulloch did note that every man mustering into service would be issued, “two suits of winter clothes and two bankers, together with tents, if they can be procured.”
“It is desirable that the forces of the several States should be in the field at as early a day as possible. I call upon you, therefore, to rally to the defense of your sister State, Missouri.” He continued, “Her cause is your cause, and the cause of justice and independence… Then rally, my countrymen, and assist your friends in Missouri to drive back the Republican myrmidons that still pollute her soiled and threaten to invade your own country, confiscate your property, liberate your slaves, and put to the sword every true Southern man who dares to take up arms in defense of his rights.”
McCulloch’s proclamation concluded, “The principles inaugurated in this war by the proclamation of Major-General Fremont should warn the South of the ultimate intentions of the North, and show them the necessity of rallying to the standard of their country (for the time specified above), prepared to fight in defense of their homes, their altars, and their firesides until our independence shall be recognized and its blessings secured to our posterity.”
On September 10, 1862, General Thomas C. Hindman had a few questions. He began with citing a dispatch he was reading dated September 2 where a “notorious rebel leader of guerrilla bands in Missouri, was caught last night…He is condemned, and as a spy will suffer death.” Hindman directed attention to this statement and inquired, “whether these men termed ‘guerrillas’ are to be put to death when made prisoners or treated as prisoners of war?”
He then gives an example of the horrific acts going on as early as 1862, though we normally have associated “irregulars” as a phenomenon of 1864 and on. Hindman wanted to know, “whether your Government approves the conduct of one Chrysop, of the Missouri State Militia or acting with it, who lately murdered a Confederate soldier acting as hospital attendant at Berryville, Carroll County, Ark., the murdered man being at the time unarmed and the hospital flag in plain view above him. One Captain Gillespie, U. S. Army, commanded the Federal party at the time.”
While addressing some of the heinous acts committed, Hindman was not go ing to leave out the Indian Territory. “Information is likewise asked whether or not your Government approves the conduct of your Indian auxiliaries, who now infest the border counties of Missouri and Arkansas and the Cherokee country, and have in many instances murdered and scalped aged and unarmed citizens, having no connection with the army, ravished and inflicted stripes upon women, burned houses, and committed other enormities.” In conclusion Hindman reassured, “Abundant proof of the facts stated can be obtained if you desire.”
In 1864 today marks the day of the Battle of Bayou Fourche or the Battle of Little Rock. Instead of drafting a section on this engagement today, we invite our readers to enjoy the following link on the battle at the Encyclopedia of Arkansas. Click HERE to read article.
Military actions in this “Today in Arkansas During the Civil War” column can be traced better using the Civil War Arkansas: A Military Atlas. You can trace the same roads they walked in many cases in this atlas. You can find obscure references to communities mentioned in Civil War records that can be located in this atlas. Civil War Arkansas: A Military Atlas is the perfect companion book for this “Today in History” series.
If you know of any other military actions or other things that happened that we did not post on a certain day, send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.