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Entry Category: Individuals - Starting with S

Second Arkansas Infantry (CS)

The Second Arkansas Infantry was a Confederate regiment that saw service in the Western Theater during the Civil War. It is not to be confused with the Second Arkansas Infantry Battalion, which fought in the Eastern Theater. The Second Arkansas was formed in the summer of 1861. Former congressman Thomas Hindman of Helena (Phillips County) obtained permission from Confederate secretary of war LeRoy Walker to recruit an infantry regiment. The state was responsible for providing the arms for the unit. Ten companies were raised by June 1, with six at Helena and four at Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). The companies were from Phillips, Jefferson, Bradley, and Saline counties. Support from state authorities never materialized, and Hindman personally provided the funds …

Shaver, Robert Glenn

Robert Glenn Shaver was a former Confederate officer who raised Arkansas troops for the war, a commander who was wounded in battle, and a former outlaw who once fled the United States to escape punishment. Robert Shaver was born on April 18, 1831, in Sullivan County, Tennessee, exactly on the line between Virginia and Tennessee. He was the third of four children born to David and Martha (May) Shaver. He attended school at home, and from 1846 to 1850, he attended Emory and Henry College in Virginia. Shaver and his parents moved to Arkansas in 1850, settling east of Batesville (Independence County) in Lawrence County (now Sharp County). On June 10, 1856, Shaver married Adelaide Louise Ringgold. Before she died …

Shelby, Joseph Orville

aka: Jo Shelby
aka: J. O. Shelby
aka: Joseph O. Shelby
Joseph Orville Shelby was a Confederate major general from Missouri who is recognized as perhaps the most accomplished Confederate cavalryman in the Trans-Mississippi Theater. He was involved in most of the Civil War campaigns that took place in Arkansas. Joseph Orville Shelby was born on December 12, 1830, in Lexington, Kentucky, to a wealthy, aristocratic family that boasted veterans of the American Revolution. In 1852, he moved to Waverly, Missouri, and established a rope-making operation that soon made him a wealthy man. The slave-owning Shelby was actively embroiled in the border war with abolitionist Kansans, taking part in cross-border raids in the late 1850s. As civil war became imminent, Shelby raised a company of troops, the Lafayette County Cavalry, at …

Sisler, George Kenton

George Kenton Sisler was a 1964 graduate of Arkansas State University (ASU) who received a Medal of Honor for his heroic actions while serving with a Special Forces unit in Vietnam in 1967. George Kenton Sisler was born on September 19, 1937, in Dexter, Missouri, to George R. Sisler and Grace Fransada Sisler. Sisler attended what is now Arkansas State University in Jonesboro (Craighead County), where he distinguished himself by winning the 1963 National Collegiate Skydiving Championship while his leg was in a cast. He graduated in 1964 with a BS in education. He enlisted in the U.S. Army on August 20, 1964. Sisler went to Vietnam as a first lieutenant and intelligence officer with the Headquarters Company of the …

Smith, Andrew Jackson

Andrew Jackson Smith was a Union major general during the Civil War, commanding a division during the capture of Fort Hindman at Arkansas Post and during numerous other campaigns. Born in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, on April 28, 1815, Andrew Jackson Smith was the son of Samuel Smith and Anne Lacey Wilkinson Smith. Entering the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1834, Smith graduated four years later and received a commission as a second lieutenant and served with the First Dragoons. Smith slowly rose through the ranks over the next two decades, serving on the western frontier and in the Mexican War, including with the Mormon Battalion. Smith married Ann Mason Simpson on October 17, 1844, in St. Louis, Missouri. …

Smith, Edmund Kirby

Edmund Kirby Smith was a Confederate general during the Civil War. Seeing service in both the Eastern and Western Theaters of the war, he is best remembered for serving as the commander of the Confederate Department of the Trans-Mississippi, which included Arkansas. Edmund Kirby Smith was born on May 16, 1824, in St. Augustine, Florida, the son of Joseph Lee Smith and Frances Kirby Smith. His father, a lawyer by training, served as an army officer during the War of 1812 and for several years after the conflict before resigning his commission in 1821. He became the judge for the eastern district of the Florida Territory the same year. Edmund was the youngest child in the family, with an older …

Smith, Sarah Jane

An enigmatic figure who left few documentable details of her life or wartime experiences, Sarah Jane Smith was a Confederate sympathizer who sabotaged Union military telegraph wires and poles on two known occasions near Springfield and Rolla, Missouri, in 1864. The known details of Smith’s life are limited to information gleaned from court documents, due to her illiteracy (she signed her statement to the provost marshal with an “x”) and lack of a fixed residence. Although several secondary sources describe Smith as a smuggler and saboteur of two years’ duration, there is no documentation of her involvement in any smuggling activity or in any sabotage activities other than the two incidents chronicled in her trial records. Born in approximately 1846, …

Somervell, Brehon Burke

General Brehon Somervell was a major factor in the success of American military forces during World War II. He oversaw the construction of troop-training facilities and the supply of all American military forces. As construction division chief of the Army Quartermaster Corps, he was a major influence in the planning and construction of the Pentagon. Brehon Burke Somervell was born on May 9, 1892, in Little Rock (Pulaski County), the only child of Dr. William Taylor Somervell and teacher Mary S. Burke. In 1906, his family moved to Washington DC. In 1910, Somervell received an appointment to West Point upon the recommendation of Representative Charles C. Reid of Arkansas and, in 1914, graduated sixth in a class of 107. Upon …

Sprague, Charles Leslie

Charles Leslie Sprague was a Little Rock (Pulaski County) native who died while serving on the crew in a test run of the Confederate naval H.L. Hunley, the first combat submarine to sink an enemy warship. Charles Leslie Sprague was born in Little Rock on February 6, 1842, the youngest of four sons of Dr. Alden Sprague and Sophronia Stores Eldridge Sprague. Alden Sprague died on April 26, 1847, and Charles and his mother moved back to her native New Hampshire to live with her sister, Lucinda Eldridge Billings, and her family. Sophronia Sprague died on December 5, 1853, and it is possible that young Charles moved to Tennessee to live with relatives, as her brother lived there. Charles enlisted …

Sprague, John Wilson

John Wilson Sprague was a general in the Union army during the Civil War and served as the assistant commissioner of the Freedmen’s Bureau in the District of Arkansas immediately following the end of the conflict. John W. Sprague was born on April 4, 1817, in White Creek, New York, to Otis and Polly Sprague; he had several siblings. He attended local schools and, at the age of thirteen, began attending the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Sprague left the college without receiving a degree and worked in the grocery business in Troy, New York, before moving to Ohio in 1845. Living in several towns over the course of his time in Erie County, Sprague worked in the shipping industry and served …

Steele, Frederick

Frederick Steele was a United States Volunteers major general and the commander of the Department of Arkansas in the Civil War. Union forces under his command took military control of the northern half of the state in September 1863. Faced with immense military and political problems as a result of the continuing war, however, Steele failed in his larger mission of politically and militarily stabilizing the state. Frederick Steele was born on January 14, 1819, in Delhi, New York, the son of Nathaniel Steele III and his second wife, Dameras Johnson. Frederick Steele never married or had children. Little is known of Steele’s early years. He entered West Point in 1839. A friend and classmate of Ulysses S. Grant, he …

Steiner, Christian

Christian Steiner was a soldier who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his gallantry during an 1869 battle against Apache Indians in the Chiricahua Mountains of Arizona. He died in Hot Springs (Garland County) and is buried there. Christian Steiner was born in Wurttemberg, Germany, in 1843. By 1860, he had immigrated to the United States and was living with saloon keeper Philip Steiner, then twenty-seven, who was presumably his brother, and his brother’s wife, Louisa (twenty-one), in the Third Ward of St. Louis, Missouri. Seventeen-year-old Christian Steiner’s occupation was listed as saddler in the 1860 census. As the Civil War broke out, Steiner joined many of St. Louis’s citizens of German descent in enlisting in the Union army. …

Stone, James Lamar

James Lamar Stone, born in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), was a career U.S. Army officer who received a Medal of Honor for his actions in opposing an overwhelming attack by Chinese troops during the Korean War. James Lamar Stone was born on December 27, 1922, in Pine Bluff, the son of firefighter Lamar L. Stone and Idell Stone. He grew up in Hot Springs (Garland County) and graduated from the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) in 1947, after which he went to work at a General Electric plant in Houston, Texas. Stone was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1948. He was serving as a first lieutenant in Company E, Eighth Cavalry Regiment, First Cavalry Division, when …

Strong, Erastus Burton

Arkansas native Erastus Burton Strong was a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point who served in the U.S. Army until his death at the Battle of Molino del Rey during the Mexican War. Erastus Burton Strong was born on December 2, 1823, to William Strong and Mourning Cooper Strong, most likely in the part of Phillips County that would become St. Francis County four years later. His father was a prominent pioneer and politician in the area who helped build the Memphis to Little Rock Road and operated an inn and a ferry at the St. Francis River. William Strong was the first sheriff of St. Francis County, a delegate to the 1836 constitutional convention, and …