United Confederate Veterans (UCV)

When the Civil War ended in 1865, thousands of Confederate veterans returned home to Arkansas. Many of these veterans remained in the state and slowly rebuilt their lives after four long years of war. A national organization for Confederate veterans was not established until 1889, when some Confederate veterans’ groups met in New Orleans, Louisiana, and organized the United Confederate Veterans (UCV). It was the counterpart to the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), a national organization of Union veterans that had been established in 1866, although the UCV never had the political power or the prestige of the GAR. However, the UCV did have the power to directly affect the lives of its members at a local level.

The primary functions of the organization were to provide for widows and orphans of former Confederate soldiers, preserve relics and mementos, care for disabled former soldiers, preserve a record of the service of its members, and organize reunions and fraternal gatherings. At its highest point, the UCV had about 160,000 members in 1,885 local “camps,” as the local groups were called, across the country. The UCV was active well into the 1940s. Its final reunion was held in Norfolk, Virginia, in 1951.

Many Confederate veterans’ camps were founded in towns and cities throughout Arkansas. One of the first was the Ben T. Embry Camp #977 United Confederate Veterans organized at Russellville (Pope County) in 1892. The camp was named for Confederate colonel Ben T. Embry, an early settler of Galla Rock (Pope County) who died in 1892. The organization sponsored an annual Pope County reunion of Civil War veterans, although the Embry camp became inactive around 1930. Today, the Arkansas State Archives maintains the camp’s records.

Three national reunions of the United Confederate Veterans were held in Little Rock (Pulaski County). The first event, held May 16–18, 1911, drew thousands of Confederate veterans from across the nation to the Arkansas state capital. Veterans returned to Little Rock to be reacquainted with their former comrades in 1928 and for a final time in 1949.

During the reunion in 1911, a monument to the Capital Guards, Sixth Arkansas Infantry, Company A, was dedicated in front of the old Little Rock Arsenal building. The memorial is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Years before the UCV was organized, Arkansas Confederate veterans were already holding reunions. Many of these organized events were held during the 1870s. Several memorials and/or markers were dedicated by the former Confederate veterans living in Arkansas. The rest were dedicated by the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV), the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC), and other ancestral organizations.

As a sign of post-war reconciliation, several joint Blue-Gray reunions were held in the late 1880s and early 1890s. The largest joint reunion, with more than 7,000 Union and Confederate veterans, was held at the Pea Ridge battlefield in Benton County. A monument to all of the survivors was dedicated to “A Reunited Soldiery”; it can be visited inside the confines of the Pea Ridge National Military Park.

The following is a list of the Arkansas UCV camps whose records are held in the Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections of the Special Collections Department of the Hill Memorial Library at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.

Camp No. Camp Name Camp Location
89 Camp Cabell Bentonville (Benton County)
192 Haller Charleston (Franklin County)
194 Ben McCulloch Greenwood (Sebastian County)
199 Stonewall Hackett (Sebastian County)
202 Cabell Alma (Crawford County)
207 Robert W. Harper Morrilton (Conway County)
209 John Wallace Van Buren (Crawford County)
325 David O. Dodd Benton (Saline County)
355 Camp Evans Booneville (Logan County)
375 Clay Co. Vet. Assn. Greenway (Clay County)
428 Walter Bragg Prescott (Nevada County)
431 J. E. Johnston Wooster (Faulkner County)
447 Eli Hufstedler Pocahontas (Randolph County)
455 Oxford Oxford (Izard County)
504 Rector Rector (Clay County)
505 Confederate Survivors Walcott (Greene County)
506 Confederate Survivors Gainesville (Greene County)
507 Joe Johnson Jonesboro (Craighead County)
532 J. E. B. Stuart Rocky Comfort (Sevier County)
537 Pat Cleburne Brinkley (Monroe County)
674 Confederate Veteran Wilton (Little River County)
686 Bob Jordan Stephens (Ouachita County)
713 Jos. (Wright) Crump Harrison (Boone County)
776 Pat Cleburne Dumas (Desha County)
809 Confederate Veteran Mabelvale (Pulaski County)
828 J. H. Berry Amity (Clark County)
843 Jeff Davis Augusta (Woodruff County)
861 McIntosh Evansville (Washington County)
865 Joe Johnston Moorefield (Independence County)
869 Robert Jones Powhatan (Lawrence County)
870 Confederate Veteran Black Rock (Lawrence County)
901 Crockett Childers Walnut Ridge (Lawrence County)
991 Van H. Manning Malvern (Hot Spring County)
1004 Eagle England (Lonoke County)
1036 James Adams Austin (Lonoke County)
1039 John H. Kelly Melbourne (Izard County)
1047 Hankins Lockesburg (Sevier County)
1060 R. G. Shaver Salem (Fulton County)
1147 Confederate Veteran Raymond (Monroe County)
1153 Jordan E. Cravens Coal Hill (Johnson County)
1269 Stonewall Jackson Huntsville (Madison County)
1285 Daniel H. Reynolds Lake Village (Chicot County)
1297 Shiloh Mena (Polk County)
1303 Osceola Osceola (Mississippi County)
1308 James A. Jackson Monticello (Drew County)
1328 McIntosh Mulberry (Crawford County)
1407 Robert E. Lee Mansfield (Sebastian and Scott counties)
1464 Pat Cleburne Casa (Perry County)
1615 A. R. Witt Heber Springs (Cleburne County)
1649 Pat Cleburne Fouke (Miller County)

The UCV never released comprehensive membership statistics, so the actual number of UCV members in Arkansas is difficult to determine. According to an 1890 census, 6.18 percent of all living Confederate veterans resided in Arkansas, which was eighth among former slave states. According to UCV figures in 1890, Arkansas had 6.26 percent of all veterans’ camps, fifth among former slave states. Between 1890 and 1912, the UCV formed at least one camp in four out of five Arkansas counties.

In 1896, the national organization of the Sons of Confederate Veterans was founded as a descendant organization and as the heir to the UCV. The first SCV camp in Arkansas was formed in the inaugural year at Clarksville (Johnson County) and named the Hall S. McConnell Camp #111.

Arkansas was one of the first states in the South to establish a pension for ex-Confederate soldiers and their widows in 1891. Arkansas Confederate veterans, like their counterparts across the country, raised funds for Confederate widows and orphans at reunion events, although no information is available on how the money was distributed. Donations may have been made from the individual UCV camps directly to widows’ and orphans’ homes.

Although the exact date of when the UCV ceased operations in Arkansas is unknown, it is believed to have occurred sometime after the last Little Rock reunion in 1949 and the final national reunion held in Norfolk, Virginia, in 1951. Of the twelve Confederate veterans still living then, only three were able to attend the reunion.

For additional information:
Arkansas Confederate Pension Records. Arkansas State Archives, Little Rock, Arkansas.

Bishop, Albert W. Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Arkansas for the Period of the War of the Late Rebellion, and to November 1, 1866. Washington DC: Government Printing Office, 1867.

Logan, Charles Russell. “Something So Dim It Must Be Holy: Civil War Commemorative Sculpture in Arkansas, 1886–1934.” Little Rock: Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, 1997. Online at http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/News-and-Events/publications (accessed March 1, 2017).

Neagles, James C. Confederate Research Sources: A Guide to Archive Collections. Salt Lake City: Ancestry Publishing, 1986.

Organization of Camps in the United Confederate Veterans. http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/webbin/serial?id=ucvcamps (accessed March 6, 2017).

United Confederate Veterans Association Records. Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections. Special Collections Department. Hill Memorial Library. Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Finding aid online at http://www.lib.lsu.edu/special/findaid/1357.pdf (accessed March 1, 2017).

Steven L. Warren
Overland Park, Kansas

Last Updated: 07/10/2017

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