Events

Entries - Entry Category: Events - Starting with N

Napoleon Expedition

By the summer of 1862, Federal forces under the command of Major General Samuel Curtis occupied the city of Helena (Phillips County). After the activation of the Emancipation Proclamation in early 1863, one of the regiments being formed at Helena was the Second Arkansas Regiment (African Descent). In May 1863, an expedition was sent down the Mississippi River to gather additional recruits for the regiment. Major General Benjamin Prentiss ordered that the steamboat Pike—escorted by a detachment of the First Indiana Cavalry, Thirty-sixth Iowa Infantry, and twenty-five men of the Second Arkansas Regiment (African Descent) with one howitzer—embark upon a recruitment expedition. The force, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel George W. DeCosta of the Second Arkansas, left Helena on …

Napoleon, Seizure of Ordnance Stores at

United States military supplies were frequently captured across the South as states began to secede in late 1860 and early 1861. While the seizure of the Little Rock Arsenal is a well-known example of state troops taking control of Federal military posts, the capture of other posts and military supplies took place in the state during the secession crisis, including the seizure of ordnance stores at Napoleon (Desha County). The debate over secession intensified in November 1860, when Abraham Lincoln was elected as president of the United States. In response to the prodding of Arkansas governor Henry Rector and other pro-secessionist politicians, the House of Representatives in the Arkansas General Assembly passed a bill on December 22, 1860, calling for …

New Gascony, Battle of (Reconstruction)

The Battle of New Gascony was a skirmish in the Reconstruction-era Brooks-Baxter War in which supporters of Elisha Baxter attacked a militia force loyal to Joseph Brooks near New Gascony (Jefferson County) in 1874. The election of 1872 was rife with irregularities but resulted in Elisha Baxter assuming the governorship of Arkansas. Following a series of legislative and legal maneuvers, losing candidate Joseph Brooks won a legal ruling declaring him the winner. On April 15, 1874, Brooks and a group of armed followers confronted Baxter at what is now the Old State House in Little Rock (Pulaski County) and threw him out, leading to several weeks of armed confrontations in what became known as the Brooks-Baxter War. Hercules King Cannon …

Newton County Draft War

The Newton County Draft War was the last armed incident of the documented Arkansas draft wars, as well as one of the most colorful, as word of the “Cecil Cove Slackers” spread to national publications. In 1918, Newton County—located in the Ozark Mountains—was one of the most isolated and least developed regions in Arkansas, not yet crossed by railroads or serviceable highways. The Cecil Cove region—twelve miles long and eight miles wide, bordered by steep cliffs and caves, and only traversable by foot or mule—was an exceptional hiding spot. In the last months of World War I, several draft resistors in the region successfully eluded authorities. Later interviews with the deserters outline a now familiar refrain for draft resistance in …

Norristown, Skirmish at (May 19, 1864)

A brief engagement, this skirmish was part of Brigadier General Joseph Shelby’s expedition across much of Arkansas in the summer of 1864. While trying to cross the Arkansas River near present-day Russellville (Pope County), Shelby’s men were attacked by a Federal patrol tasked with shadowing the Confederates. Ultimately inconclusive, this skirmish was one of many between Shelby’s Confederate forces and Union troops during the expedition. In early May 1864, Shelby and his brigade were ordered to move from southwestern Arkansas to northern and eastern Arkansas in an effort to prevent Federal forces from utilizing the White River and the Little Rock and DeValls Bluff Railroad to supply the Union-occupied capital city. Crossing the Ouachita River at Rockport (Hot Spring County), …

Norristown, Skirmish at (September 6, 1864)

One of the earliest engagements between Confederate and Union forces during Major General Sterling Price’s 1864 raid into Missouri, this skirmish would ultimately prove to be bloodless. In the late summer of 1864, Price was ordered by Lieutenant General Edmund Kirby Smith, commander of the Confederate Department of the Trans-Mississippi, to prepare for an invasion of Missouri. The expedition would be used to gain new recruits and supplies, as well as to lower the morale of the civilian population across the north. Based in southern and southwestern Arkansas, the Confederate troops taking part in the raid began to move northward in August 1864. The Confederate offensive operations were delayed for several days as munitions and other supplies were gathered, and …