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 November 4, 2021).
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 November 4, 2021).
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 November 4, 2021).
Steven L. Warren
Overland Park, Kansas
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