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Arkansas Confederate Home

The Arkansas Confederate Home was opened late in 1890 in a small remodeled residence on some sixty acres near Sweet Home (Pulaski County) through the efforts of the Ex-Confederate Association of Arkansas. This organization, composed of a group of philanthropic-minded Confederate veterans, founded the home to care for indigent Confederate veterans, along with their widows and orphans, in Arkansas. At its peak, it housed over 200.  On May 21, 1890, the Sweet Home site, consisting of sixty acres and a frame building, was purchased by the association for $3,000. The legislature made its first appropriation of $10,000 for the upkeep of the home in 1891. At that time, the facility included the original frame structure and two buildings referred to as …

Arkansas Military Institute

The Arkansas Military Institute was one of the earliest schools of its kind in the state. Established in Tulip (Dallas County) during the town’s heyday as the “Athens of Arkansas,” the school instructed male students in the subjects of the day as well as in military history, tactics, and procedures—skills some would eventually employ as Confederate soldiers during the Civil War, an event that would also signal the demise of the institution, as well as the community that supported it. By the mid-1850s, the school had shifted its focus away from military pursuits. In August 1849, George Douglass Alexander established the Alexander Institute in Tulip for the education of both girls and boys. Less than a year later, Alexander persuaded …

Arkansas National Guard Museum

The Arkansas National Guard Museum’s primary mission is to collect information and artifacts relating to the Arkansas National Guard and its militia predecessor and make that information and those artifacts available to the public and to posterity. In addition, the museum tells the story of Camp Pike/Camp Robinson. It is located in Lloyd England Hall on Camp Robinson in North Little Rock (Pulaski County). Lloyd England Hall, originally constructed in 1931, is on the National Register of Historic Places. There has been a museum in Lloyd England Hall since the mid-1970s. The hall was constructed in 1932 as a multi-purpose center with a reading room, writing room, and large area with a stage and a balcony that held a movie …

Arkansas State Veterans Cemeteries

Two Arkansas State Veterans Cemeteries have been established in the state to accept the interments of military veterans and selected family members. In 1997, the Arkansas General Assembly passed Act 235 to authorize the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs to establish and operate a state veterans’ cemetery system. National cemeteries are located in Little Rock (Pulaski County), Fayetteville (Washington County), and Fort Smith (Sebastian County). In 2001, the Little Rock National Cemetery closed to new interments with the exception of veterans or eligible family members in an existing gravesite. In an effort to offer additional burial locations for veterans and their families, the state veterans’ cemetery system was created. The system uses eligibility guidelines to determine which veterans and family …

Batteries A, B, C, and D (Battle of Helena)

Batteries A, B, C, and D are fortifications used by the Federal army during the Civil War to protect the city of Helena (Phillips County) from enemy attack. Along with Fort Curtis, these fortifications formed the core of the Helena defenses, most notably during the July 4, 1863, Battle of Helena. When the Army of the Southwest arrived in Helena after the Battle of Pea Ridge, Major General Samuel Ryan Curtis immediately began to fortify the approaches to the city. As Helena was deep in Confederate territory, the forts were necessary to prevent the destruction of the Union army in the town. The batteries were named A, B, C, and D, with A at the northern edge of the line …

Camden Army Air Field

aka: Harrell Field
Camden Army Air Field (a.k.a. Harrell Field) was one of three contract primary flying schools located in Arkansas during World War II. The other two were at Grider Field in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) and Thompson-Robbins Field in West Helena (Phillips County). The Arkansas communities where the schools were located gained much-needed jobs not only for the construction phase but also from operation of the schools. The need for these contract flying schools arose because Kelly Field in Texas could only graduate 500 pilots a year, and most of the current Army Air Force (AAF) pilots did not have enough flying hours to be instructors. AAF’s commanding general, Henry Arnold, devised a plan for contract primary flying schools located in …

Camden Water Battery

The Camden Water Battery was part of a system of Civil War fortifications that Confederate soldiers built in late 1864 to protect the city of Camden (Ouachita County) and block any Union movements toward Shreveport, Louisiana. In mid-September 1864, Major General Sterling Price led a force of 12,000 Confederate men—including most of the cavalry serving in the state—on a raid into Missouri, which left only a few infantry divisions around Washington (Hempstead County) to defend southern Arkansas. Those troops were under the command of Major General John Bankhead “Prince John” Magruder, who faced the challenge of defending southwestern Arkansas as aggressive Federal patrols probed the region in the absence of Price and the Confederate cavalry. Magruder’s ability to defend the …

Camp Jesse Turner

Camp Jesse Turner, located on Pickett Hill on the east side of Van Buren (Crawford County), was a small, specialized railroad training camp for soldiers to learn to operate railroads captured in enemy territory, worldwide, during World War II. It was briefly named Camp Walter Johnson, but on September 24, 1943, the press reported a name change to honor Jesse Turner, a justice on the Arkansas Supreme Court from the area. The soldiers assigned to four Railroad Operating Battalions (ROBs)—the 759th, 748th, 733rd, and 734th—were trained in the Missouri Pacific Railroad yards and roundhouse in Van Buren. Their weapons of war were locomotives, cars, tracks, bridges, telephone and telegraph lines, and repair shops. In 1941, the federal government allocated funds …

Camp Joseph T. Robinson

aka: Camp Pike
aka: Camp Robinson
Camp Robinson in North Little Rock (Pulaski County) is home to the Arkansas National Guard and is the principal training area for the Arkansas Army National Guard. It is also used by a number of other military and civilian agencies. The forerunner to Camp Robinson was known as Camp Pike, named in honor of General Zebulon Montgomery Pike. The camp was awarded to the central Arkansas area due to the efforts of the Little Rock Board of Commerce. The board offered, at no cost to the U.S. government, the purchase and lease of the lands needed to establish the post. Little Rock (Pulaski County) was awarded the camp on June 11, 1917, and the money needed to fulfill the promises …

Camp Lee

Camp Lee was a small military instruction camp near Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) used by the Confederate States of America. Two camps in Arkansas reportedly shared the name, the other being near Lewisville (Lafayette County). The camp in Pine Bluff was established near Lee Springs Road, about three quarters of a mile west of Camp White Sulphur Springs, in August 1861. At first, Camp Lee was used to muster several Arkansan units. The camp was used in August to house the Ninth Arkansas Infantry Regiment (CS). The camp was established because Pine Bluff and the surrounding facilities could not house several regimental-sized units. Shortly after establishment, the Ninth Arkansas Infantry was brought to Pine Bluff; records show that the regiment’s …

Camp Magnolia

Camp Magnolia, also known as Civilian Public Service Camp No. 7, was the only World War II–era work camp in Arkansas established for religious conscientious objectors (COs). There, COs engaged in much the same work as the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and took part in government-controlled medical experiments. The Selective Training and Service Act of 1940 contained a provision that allowed those who objected to military service on grounds of religious or personal beliefs to render public service for the nation in alternative settings. This provision had been the result of intense lobbying by historic peace churches, such as the Society of Friends (Quakers), the Mennonites, and the Church of the Brethren. When conscription for the anticipated war began on …

Camp Monticello

Camp Monticello was a World War II prisoner-of-war (POW) camp south of Monticello (Drew County). The camp was built in the southeastern part of the state because that area offered the required rural, isolated location. Advocacy by local civic leaders like Congressman William F. Norrell and the need for labor in the agricultural and timber industries also influenced the site choice. The camp, which housed Italian POWs, was one of four main camps and thirty branch camps in Arkansas that interned Axis prisoners. The 1929 Geneva Convention regulated many of the conditions within POW camps. POWs were to be treated the same as the troops of the retaining power. Therefore, Camp Monticello was built to the standards of American military …

Camp Nelson Confederate Cemetery

Camp Nelson Confederate Cemetery, located approximately four miles southeast of Cabot (Lonoke County), is the site of a mass grave with as many as 1,500 soldiers who died of various diseases. It is one of a small number of all-Confederate cemeteries in Arkansas. In 1862, thousands of Confederate soldiers from Texas and Arkansas began to gather near the settlement of Austin (Lonoke County), about thirty miles northeast of Little Rock (Pulaski County). Perhaps as many as 20,000 soldiers camped in the area named Camp Hope. Life in camp was routine, with the exception of a mutiny in the summer of 1862 by a number of soldiers whose enlistment had expired. After the initial group deserted—disgruntled about the lack of pay—nine …

Camp White Sulphur Springs Confederate Cemetery

Camp White Sulphur Springs, located in the community of Sulphur Springs (Jefferson County) two miles southwest of present-day Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), served as a staging and training facility for the Confederate army during the early parts of the Civil War. Later in the war, the camp and surrounding area functioned as a Confederate military hospital following a smallpox outbreak. In the early stages of the war, Camp White Sulphur Springs served as a recruiting and staging area for volunteers who came from Pine Bluff and the surrounding towns to organize and assign troops to various units. Early in the war, the Ninth Arkansas Volunteer Infantry Regiment and Fagan’s Guard, which later became B Company of the Second Arkansas Infantry …

Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System

The Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System (CAVHS) is a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare provider. It is part of the South Central VA Health Care Network (VISN 16), which includes facilities in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, and Florida. CAVHS, a tertiary care facility classified as a Level 1b on the VA Complexity Model, is one of the largest and busiest VA medical centers in the country and was recognized nationally in 2010 with the Robert W. Carey Performance Excellence Award—the highest honor a VA facility can receive for quality achievement and service excellence. The system’s two hospitals, John L. McClellan Memorial Veterans Hospital in Little Rock (Pulaski County) and Eugene J. Towbin Healthcare Center in North Little Rock (Pulaski County), …

Civil War Markers and Memorials (Outside Arkansas)

During the Civil War, soldiers from Arkansas volunteered and served in many skirmishes and battles across the South, often combined with other state regiments. The legislature of Arkansas and interested citizens deemed their service worthy of recognition and remembrance and have therefore provided for several memorials at significant battlefields. Major Arkansas memorials are located at the national battlefields of Gettysburg (Pennsylvania), Shiloh (Tennessee), and Vicksburg (Mississippi). Though not within the scope of this article, there are also monuments to Arkansas soldiers in other locations, such as one located on private land in Tennessee commemorating the role of Arkansas Confederate soldiers in the November 30, 1864, Battle of Franklin. GettysburgThe Gettysburg battlefield, first envisioned as a cemetery just after the battle in …

Clarksville Confederate Monument

The Clarksville Confederate Monument, located in the south-central section of Oakland Memorial Cemetery in Clarksville (Johnson County), is a ten-foot-tall marble obelisk atop a limestone base. The commemorative monument was financed and erected through the efforts of the Felix I. Batson Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy and erected around 1902. Inscribed upon the monument’s northern side is: “SACRED TO THE / MEMORY OF / OUR / CONFEDERATE / DEAD / 1861–1865.” Despite Johnson County’s relatively small population, “about 1,000 men, perhaps more,” joined the ranks of the Confederacy in at least seven different companies, according to the Goodspeed Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Western Arkansas; about half of that number returned from the war. On April 20, …

Clarksville National Guard Armory

Built in 1930, the Clarksville National Guard Armory at 309 College Street is an Art Deco–style building constructed as part of a statewide armory building program to house National Guard companies based in Johnson County. Citizen-soldier militias have had a constant presence in the United States since the colonial era, but it was not until Congress passed the Dick Act—sponsored by Senator Charles W. F. Dick, chairman of the Committee on the Militia—in 1903 that the National Guard became an official partner in the nation’s armed services, receiving federal support for training, equipment, and pay. Arkansas’s state militia was organized into the Arkansas National Guard as a result of the Dick Act. The Clarksville (Johnson County) armory was constructed in …

Contraband Camps

aka: Slave Refugee Camps
In 1862, as a response to Confederate use of slave labor against the Federal army in Arkansas, Union general Samuel R. Curtis drew on the authority of earlier “confiscation” acts to free black slaves for use in the Union army. Issuing certificates of freedom to hundreds of “contraband” fugitives (meaning escaped or Union-freed slaves), Curtis laid the foundation for emancipation in Arkansas, and he was one of the more determined Union military leaders in the belief that slaves should be freed. Word spread among Arkansas’s slaves, and when Curtis’s army arrived at Helena (Phillips County) in the summer of 1862, more than 2,000 came with him hoping for freedom and protection. Helena would be occupied by Federal forces through the …

Conway Confederate Monument

The Conway Confederate Monument, located on the grounds of the Faulkner County Courthouse in Conway, is a commemorative obelisk that was raised in 1925 to honor the county’s men who had served in the Confederate army during the Civil War. While Faulkner County was not created until April 12, 1873, men from east of Cadron Creek in what was then Conway County served in the Tenth Arkansas Infantry Regiment and later in Colonel A. R. Witt’s Tenth Arkansas Cavalry Regiment. As part of the postwar effort by descendant organizations to recognize the service of their ancestors, an effort was made to memorialize Faulkner County’s Confederate servicemen. Dozens of Confederate memorials were erected in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, …

Cross Hollow (Camp)

Cross Hollow (or Cross Hollows), located along the Telegraph Road eighteen miles south of the Missouri-Arkansas border near modern-day Rogers (Benton County), was the site of Confederate winter quarters during the winter of 1861–62. A Civil War skirmish was fought near Cross Hollow in 1864. Following the August 10, 1861, Confederate victory at Wilson’s Creek in Missouri, General Benjamin McCulloch’s army fell back into Arkansas. Feeling that the troops would be close enough to Missouri to march there readily if circumstances demanded, commanders chose Cross Hollow, a long, narrow valley at the intersection of an east-west road and the Telegraph Road, which was the major north-south road into Missouri. Abundant springs and forage and the presence of two mills nearby, …

Dooley’s Ferry Fortifications Historic District

The Dooley’s Ferry Fortifications Historic District features a series of redoubts and trenches that Confederate soldiers constructed in 1864 and 1865 to protect the approaches to Texas via the Red River during the waning days of the Civil War. In mid-September 1864, Major General Sterling Price led a force of 12,000 men—including most of the Confederate cavalry serving in the state—on a raid into Missouri, leaving the remaining Confederate troops in Arkansas under the command of Major General John Bankhead “Prince John” Magruder. Magruder faced the challenge of defending southwestern Arkansas as aggressive Federal patrols probed the region in the absence of Maj. Gen. Price and the Rebel cavalry. His ability to defend the region was further complicated by a …

Eaker Air Force Base

aka: Blytheville Air Force Base
Eaker Air Force Base was located on 3,778 acres of land between the communities of Gosnell and Blytheville in Mississippi County. Originally Blytheville Air Force Base, the base’s official name was changed in 1988 to honor air pioneer and commander of the Mighty Eighth Air Force during World War II, Lieutenant General Ira C. Eaker. The base contributed greatly to the economic and intellectual growth of the primarily agricultural county until it closed in 1992. The base was originally a 2,600-acre army air field installation used by the U.S. military during World War II, one of many air fields created in the country’s interior during the war. The Blytheville Army Air Field was activated on June 10, 1942. Mississippi County …

Eberts Training Field

Established next to the town of Lonoke in 1917, during World War I, Eberts Field ranked second among aviation training fields maintained by the U.S. government, and it was one of the leading training centers for aviators during the war. Named for West Point graduate Captain Melchior McEwan Eberts, an early Arkansas aviator, it had an enlistment of about 1,000 cadets being trained in aviation. About 1,500 enlisted men and officers were stationed at the field. Lonoke County outbid Pulaski County to get the aviation school to locate in Lonoke, which offered 960 rent-free acres and a new railroad spur connecting the field with the Rock Island Railroad tracks. The U.S. government accepted the Lonoke offer on November 19, 1917, …

Fayetteville Confederate Cemetery

The Fayetteville Confederate Cemetery in Fayetteville (Washington County) is the final resting place of Confederate soldiers who died throughout northwestern Arkansas. Closely associated with the activities of the Southern Memorial Association (SMA) and its efforts to commemorate Southern war casualties, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 3, 1993. The SMA of Washington County was established on June 10, 1872, when several women met in answer to a notice in the June 6 Fayetteville Democrat calling for establishment of a “Confederate burying ground.” SMA president Lizzie Pollard noted twenty-five years later, “Out of the many who answered this call, there were but thirty-eight enthusiastic enough to undertake the task to which we that day pledged …

Fayetteville National Cemetery

In 1867, the Fayetteville National Cemetery in Fayetteville (Washington County) was established by the federal government to be used for proper burial of Union soldiers of the Civil War who died in the Arkansas campaigns. The first five acres, about one mile southwest of the old courthouse, were purchased from local residents David Walker and Steven K. Stone. The original burial layout resembled a compass rose. Graves were placed in a circular pattern around the flagpole with the headstones facing the flag and pathways between sections forming a six-pointed star. Smaller sections shaped as diamonds were located between the points of the star, for a total of eighteen sections. The first burials were disinterred from local battlefields and reinterred in …

Fort Bussey

Fort Bussey was an earthen fortification built astride the Military Road in Benton (Saline County) to protect Union forces occupying the town in late 1863 and early 1864. It was located at the intersection of the Military or Stagecoach Road and roads leading to Hot Springs (Garland County) and Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). The fort is no longer in existence, although remnants of it were still visible in the mid-twentieth century. With the fall of Little Rock (Pulaski County) to Union forces on September 10, 1863, Confederates retreated through Benton on the way to Arkadelphia (Clark County). Within a few days, Union cavalry entered Benton as they scouted southward. On September 22, 1863, the community was occupied by 500 cavalrymen …

Fort Chaffee

aka: Camp Chaffee
Fort Chaffee, just outside of Fort Smith (Sebastian County) and Barling (Sebastian County) on Arkansas Highway 22, has served the United States as an army training camp, a prisoner of war camp, and a refugee camp. Currently, 66,000 acres are used by the Arkansas National Guard as a training facility, with the Arkansas Air National Guard using the fort’s Razorback Range for target practice. Groundbreaking for what was then Camp Chaffee was held on September 20, 1941, as part of the Department of War’s preparations to double the size of the U.S. Army in the face of imminent war. That month, the United States government paid $1.35 million to acquire 15,163 acres from 712 property owners, including families, farms, businesses, …

Fort Curtis

Fort Curtis was a major Union army fortification located in Helena (Phillips County) during and immediately after the Civil War. It is best known for being part of the Federal defenses at the July 4, 1863, Battle of Helena. After the Battle of Pea Ridge in March 1862, the Union Army of the Southwest under the command of Major General Samuel Ryan Curtis moved across northern Arkansas and southern Missouri before eventually taking the town of Helena, located on the Mississippi River. Helena would remain under Federal control for the remainder of the war. Located at the end of Crowley’s Ridge, the land around the city was well-suited for a defensive position. Construction on fortifications began almost immediately as the Army of …

Fort Hindman

Located on the Arkansas River near the site of Arkansas Post, Fort Hindman served as an important Confederate defensive fortification during the Civil War. Captured by a combined force of Federal troops and the Union navy, the fort was destroyed in 1863, and the site was eventually claimed by the river. On September 28, 1862, Major General Theophilus Holmes ordered the construction of fortifications along the Arkansas and White rivers. The construction of these fortifications was in direct response to Federal movements on the Mississippi River and followed a Union fleet attacking a Confederate post at St. Charles (Arkansas County), located on the White River. Located about twenty-five miles above the mouth of the Arkansas River, Arkansas Post was selected …

Fort Lincoln

aka: DeValls Bluff Fortifications
Fort Lincoln was an earthen fortification constructed in 1864 as part of the extensive network of earthworks Union forces built to protect the sprawling Federal base at DeValls Bluff (Prairie County) during the Civil War. Confederate forces had used DeValls Bluff at various points early in the war because of its status as the eastern terminus of the Memphis and Little Rock Railroad, which ran from the White River to the north side of the Arkansas River opposite Little Rock (Pulaski County). The site had few improvements, though, and what buildings were there were destroyed by Union raiders in January 1863. Major General Frederick Steele established a base at DeValls Bluff in August 1863 during his advance on Little Rock, …

Fort Logan H. Roots Military Post Historic District

aka: Fort Roots
In 1893, the U.S. Army chose Big Rock Mountain in North Little Rock (Pulaski County) as the location for one of its new military posts. Fort Logan H. Roots, as it was later named, served as an important military training facility in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. When the United States entered World War I in 1917, Camp Pike (now Camp Joseph T. Robinson) was constructed to provide the military with a larger training facility. In 1921, Fort Roots was transferred to the Public Health Service and became a veterans’ hospital. Today, Fort Roots remains an important part of the Veterans Health Administration. The history of Fort Logan H. Roots begins with the history of Big Rock Mountain, …

Fort Wayne

Fort Wayne was originally built in 1838 near the Arkansas-Oklahoma border for the defense of northwestern Arkansas and the Indian Territory to the west. In 1840, the fort was moved north to a spot about three miles southwest of present-day Maysville (Benton County). Although it was not in Arkansas, Fort Wayne played an important role in Arkansas-Cherokee relations following Indian Removal. After the Cherokee had settled in Indian Territory, political disagreements led to a three-way splintering of the Cherokee people: the Old Settlers who had moved west before the 1835 Treaty of New Echota was signed; the followers of John Ridge, who signed the treaty; and the followers of Chief John Ross, who had opposed the treaty outright. Fort Wayne …

Forts Lookout and Southerland

aka: Forts Southerland and Lookout
aka: Fort Diamond
Forts Lookout and Southerland are large earthen redoubts constructed in early 1864 to defend Camden (Ouachita County) from Federal attack during the Civil War. The forts were listed on the National Register of Historic Places on April 19, 1994, and designated as National Historic Landmarks on the same date as components of the Camden Expedition National Historic Landmark. In late 1863, following the September 10 capture of Little Rock (Pulaski County), Lieutenant General Edmund Kirby Smith, Confederate commander of the Trans-Mississippi Department, ordered Lieutenant General Theophilus Holmes to concentrate his forces along the Ouachita River to defend the approaches to Shreveport, Louisiana, against any Union advances to the south. Holmes, in turn, ordered Brigadier General Alexander T. Hawthorn, a prewar …

Fourth Military District

The Fourth Military District was an area under the control of the U.S. Congress during Reconstruction. Consisting of the Department of Arkansas and the Department of Mississippi, the district was created after the passage of the Reconstruction Acts of 1867. At the conclusion of the Civil War, the states that seceded from the Union began a process to reacquire admission. Presidential Reconstruction began during the war while Confederate states were occupied by Federal forces. With the fall of Little Rock (Pulaski County) to Union forces in September 1863, steps began to reestablish a state government loyal to Washington DC. A constitutional convention was held in early 1864, and Isaac Murphy was selected to serve as governor. The influence of the …

Grider Army Air Field

Grider Army Air Field was a World War II Army Air Corps training facility located in Jefferson County. Named posthumously in honor of World War I pilot John McGavock Grider of Osceola (Mississippi County), it opened on March 22, 1941. Today, the field survives as southeast Arkansas’s first modern municipal airport, encompassing 850 acres. It is located nearly six miles southeast of Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), off Highway 65 South and north of U.S. Highway 425. Construction on the airfield was set in motion in late November 1940, as voters had approved a $200,000 bond issue and city officials garnered a $107,320 grant from President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Depression-era Works Progress Administration (WPA). Several factors led to the genesis of southeast …

Helena Confederate Cemetery

The Helena Confederate Cemetery is located in the southwestern corner of Maple Hill Cemetery in Helena-West Helena (Phillips County). The cemetery contains the graves of Confederate soldiers, two memorials, and the grave of Major General Patrick Cleburne. The cemetery lies on Crowley’s Ridge overlooking the downtown area of the city. The cemetery was created in 1869 by the Phillips County Memorial Association when the bodies of seventy-three known and twenty-nine unnamed Confederate soldiers were moved into a one-acre portion of Maple Hill Cemetery. Most of these men died at the Battle of Helena on July 4, 1863, or from wounds shortly after. The body of Cleburne was moved to the cemetery and re-interred in 1870. A prewar resident of Helena, he …

Helena National Guard Armory

Located at 511 Miller Street in Helena-West Helena (Phillips County), the Helena National Guard Armory is a one-story, brick-masonry structure constructed in 1937 and designed in the Art Deco style of architecture. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on January 24, 2007. Citizen-soldier militias have had a constant presence in the United States since the colonial era, but it was not until Congress passed the Dick Act—sponsored by Senator Charles W. F. Dick, chairman of the Committee on the Militia—in 1903 that the National Guard became an official partner in the nation’s armed services, receiving federal support for training, equipment, and pay. Arkansas’s state militia was organized into the Arkansas National Guard as a result of …

Herman Davis State Park

Herman Davis State Park at Manila (Mississippi County) in northeast Arkansas honors Private Herman Davis, a native of Manila who is considered one of the top heroes of World War I. The one-acre park surrounds a monument to Davis. Davis distinguished himself with unusual feats of bravery on more than one occasion during the time he served in World War I. He was listed fourth on U.S. General John J. Pershing’s list of the100 greatest heroes of World War I and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the Croix de Guerre, and the Medaille Militaire by the American and French governments. Soon after Davis died in a Memphis hospital on January 5, 1923, two campaigns were launched to raise funds …

Hollywood Cemetery—Confederate Section

aka: Hollywood Cemetery Confederate Section
The Confederate Section of Hollywood Cemetery in Hot Springs (Garland County) is a 60′ x 54′ cemetery plot surrounded by a low concrete wall with ornamental concrete posts at all four corners and an opening on the western side inscribed “Confederate Veterans.” The plot contains thirty-four marked burials, a fieldstone monument, and four concrete benches. David Stone Ryan, who served as a lieutenant in a North Carolina unit during the Civil War and later made a home in Hot Springs, purchased the Confederate Section in Hollywood Cemetery in 1900, on behalf of the Albert Pike Camp of the United Confederate Veterans (UCV), to ensure a final resting place for his fellow aging Confederates. The Albert Pike Camp was disbanded in …

Hospitals (Civil War)

A wide range of Civil War hospitals in Arkansas included field hospitals established in the immediate aftermath of battle, commandeered houses and churches, and somewhat permanent post hospitals in occupied areas. Union bases tended to have more purpose-built hospital facilities, while Confederate doctors made use of any available buildings, such as colleges, hotels, churches, and private homes. The need for hospital facilities became obvious soon after Arkansas seceded from the Union and the new Confederate recruits became ill from the myriad diseases that afflicted their camps. Hospitals were established wherever large groups of troops gathered, often treating soldiers from specific regiments or from the same states. In early 1862, for instance, Confederate forces in Washington County established the Mount Comfort …

Jacksonville Museum of Military History

The Jacksonville Museum of Military History in Jacksonville (Pulaski County) sits on the original grounds of the World War II–era Arkansas Ordnance Plant (AOP) administration building and is located twenty minutes north of downtown Little Rock (Pulaski County), just off of Highway 67/167. The museum explores significant war and home-front activities dating from the Civil War through the Cold War, and also includes current and ongoing military engagements. The Jacksonville Museum of Military History first opened its doors in May 2005 with the mission to educate the public about the important contributions made by both the civilian workforce and the military in historical and current conflicts. The museum is funded by private donations, grants, and the Jacksonville Advertising and Promotions …

Jenkins’ Ferry State Park

Location: Grant County Size: 40 acres Jenkins’ Ferry State Park, in Grant County on the Saline River, commemorates a Civil War engagement that was part of the Camden Expedition of General Frederick Steele. The park contains interpretive exhibits, as well as a picnic area and a boat ramp for access to the river. The name of the park comes from Thomas Jenkins, who established a ferry on the Saline River in 1815. By 1861, at the beginning of the Civil War, the ferry was being operated by Jenkins’s sons, William and John DeKalb. In March 1864, General Steele led approximately 14,000 troops out of Little Rock (Pulaski County) to join in the Union army’s Red River Campaign. The goal of …

Lake Catherine State Park Prisoner of War Structures

Construction of what are now known as the Lake Catherine State Park Prisoner of War Structures was started by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the late 1930s and completed by German prisoners of war in 1945. Located at Lake Catherine State Park at 1200 Catherine Park Road in Hot Spring County, these structures—a 210-foot-long, nine-foot-tall stone retaining wall and an outdoor stone oven—were listed on the National Register of Historic Places on January 24, 2017. Lake Catherine was created when Remmel Dam was completed on the Ouachita River in December 1924. In 1935, Arkansas Power and Light founder Harvey C. Couch donated more than 2,000 acres of land surrounding Lake Catherine to the State Parks Commission. Two years later, …

Little Rock Air Force Base

The Little Rock Air Force Base (LRAFB) is located on 6,412 acres of land within the city limits of Jacksonville (Pulaski County). The base is a self-contained community that has contributed greatly to the economy and growth of the area since it became operational in 1955. The LRAFB is the largest C-130 base in the world. In 1951, members of the Greater Little Rock Chamber of Commerce learned that the Air Force was considering locating a new base in the central United States but that Congress was not interested in purchasing land for the base because the United States already owned some World War II airfields that could be converted to active bases. Everett Tucker, manager of the Industrial Department …

Little Rock Arsenal

In 1836, the same year Arkansas was admitted into the Union, the federal government requested the building of a military installation in Little Rock (Pulaski County). Under Governor James Sevier Conway and Major Robert B. Lee, a site for the Little Rock Arsenal was selected on the outskirts of the city. The site was on a former racetrack used by a local jockey club. Originally, Congress had allotted $14,000 for the arsenal, but the final cost of the building was $30,000. It incorporated timbers from Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) and stone from the Big Rock on the north side of the Arkansas River across from Little Rock, as well as locally made bricks. At the arsenal’s completion, the Arkansas Gazette …

Little Rock Aviation Supply Depot

During World War I, an air supply depot was constructed at Little Rock (Pulaski County) south of 12th Street near the Little Rock airport. Construction began in 1918 of the complex of structures encompassing fifty-five acres and designed to house up to 500 officers and men. The main warehouse was planned as an exact duplicate of the warehouse at Dayton, Ohio. The depot acted as a distribution point, with raw materials necessary for the function of an air service being gathered and sent to production facilities, while finished products were stored and the parts distributed to flying fields as needed. At one point, approximately 13,000 motors were stored there. Although the depot mainly supplied equipment to flying fields in the …

Little Rock Fortifications (Civil War)

Both Confederate and Union forces constructed fortifications to protect Arkansas’s capital between 1863 and 1865, with the Confederates concentrating their efforts on the north side of the river while Union works were built primarily south of Little Rock (Pulaski County). Following the Confederate defeat in the July 4, 1863, Battle of Helena, most of the Confederate troops in the state fell back to central Arkansas and braced for a Union offensive toward Little Rock. Major General Sterling Price reported that, in late July, “I commenced the construction of a line of rifle-pits and other defensive works on the north side of the Arkansas [River], and pushed them forward to completion as rapidly as I could.” The works stretched from Big …

Little Rock National Cemetery

Little Rock National Cemetery is the largest national cemetery in Arkansas and the only one closed to new interments. It is unknown when the first interment took place, or who it was, because the cemetery was part of the city cemetery at the time. The last active-duty burial was a man from Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) killed at the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. The cemetery was added to the National Register of Historic Places on December 20, 1996. In 1866, the land that is now the cemetery was outside the city limits of Little Rock (Pulaski County) and served as a Union encampment for the troops who continued to occupy the city. In September 1866, the first 9.1 acres were …

MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History

The MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History opened on May 19, 2001, in the Little Rock Arsenal building, located in MacArthur Park in Little Rock (Pulaski County). It contains an eclectic mix of exhibits, mostly relating to the role of Arkansas and Arkansans in various wars of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The Little Rock Arsenal building was erected in 1840 and was once part of a major military installation just south of downtown Little Rock. Although accounts vary, many biographers of General Douglas MacArthur say that he was born in this building on January 26, 1880. (Others say he was born in one of the nearby dwellings called Officers’ Row, which is no longer standing.) The property was given …