Locations

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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, …