Entry Category: Military Science - Starting with G

Gaines’ Landing, Skirmish at (July 20, 1862)

This Civil War skirmish occurred in relation to strategic considerations of Major General Samuel R. Curtis after he occupied Helena (Phillips County) and established operational headquarters there in the summer of 1862. The location of Gaines’ (or Gaines) Landing in Chicot County—situated between Curtis’s base at Helena and the stronghold of Vicksburg, Mississippi—made it a useful base for Confederates to transport munitions and other supplies into Arkansas by flatboat and steamboat. In addition to his concern for the general strategic security of the Mississippi River, Curtis also worried that such activities could impinge upon possible operations against Little Rock (Pulaski County) and the area between Memphis, Tennessee, and the mouth of the Arkansas River. To address these concerns, Curtis led …

Gaines’ Landing, Skirmish at (June 28, 1863)

Located on the western bank of the Mississippi River in Chicot County, Gaines’ (or Gaines) Landing was a busy shipping point between Helena (Phillips County) and Vicksburg, Mississippi. A road heading west from Gaines’ Landing through Drew County was one of few in the area leading inland away from the river, making it very important to settlers, immigrants, and merchants. During the American Civil War, Gaines’ Landing was one of many points along the river used by Confederate troops to harass Federal steamboats. Long bends of the river were ideal for the Confederates’ hit-and-run tactics: they could attack a boat as it entered the bend and then race across the narrow neck of land to attack it again as it …

Galloway’s Farm, Affair at

aka: Shelling of Jacksonport
  Following the March 1862 Battle of Pea Ridge in northwestern Arkansas, Major General Samuel Curtis led his Army of the Southwest on an ambitious attempt to capture Little Rock (Pulaski County). Supplying the army during the campaign was a difficult task, with rivers being vital to his success. River port towns such as Jacksonport (Jackson County), situated along the White River, became important supply centers, attracting attention from both Confederate and Union forces. The occupation of the town by Brigadier General Frederick Steele’s forces on May 4 brought renewed interest from Confederate forces. After receiving orders to occupy Jacksonport in the spring of 1862, Gen. Steele’s forces departed northeastern Arkansas on April 22. Delayed by heavy rain, they did not …

Gantt, Edward W.

Edward W. Gantt became one of southwestern Arkansas’s leading politicians in the Civil War era. He pushed for secession in 1860, led Confederate troops in 1861–1862, and then abruptly supported the Union from 1863 to 1865. He promoted radical social, economic, and political change during Reconstruction as he led the Freedmen’s Bureau and Radical Republicans in Arkansas. Edward W. Gantt was born in 1829, the son of George Gantt, a teacher and Baptist preacher, and Mary Elizabeth Williams. He decided to become a lawyer and attended the 1850 Nashville Convention, which considered secession during the crisis over California statehood. Hoping to find opportunities in the booming Southwest, he moved to Washington (Hempstead County) in 1854. The Sixth Judicial District elected …

Gillam, Isaac Taylor

Isaac Taylor Gillam was an important African-American leader in post–Civil War Little Rock (Pulaski County). His service on the Little Rock City Council, the Arkansas General Assembly, and as Pulaski County coroner typified the strong interest black freedmen took in politics and elections for decades after the Civil War. Isaac Gillam was born a slave in Hardin County, Tennessee. His birth date is unknown, but based upon surviving documents, he was probably born in 1839. Little is known of his life until September 15, 1863, when he enlisted in the Union army at Little Rock, five days after the city fell to Union troops. Gillam served in Company I, Second Regiment, Arkansas Infantry (later renamed Company I, Fifty-fourth Regiment, U.S. …

Gillem, Alvan Cullem

Alvan Gillem served as a general in the Union army during the Civil War and in the Fourth Military District, which included Arkansas, during Reconstruction. He was involved in the process of establishing and approving a new state constitution for Arkansas in 1868 so the state could be readmitted to the union. Alvan Cullem Gillem was born in Gainesboro, Tennessee, to a farming family on July 29, 1830. The son of Samuel and Ruth Gillem, Alvan had two brothers and a sister. At the age of seventeen, he received an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point. Graduating in 1851 as the eleventh ranked student in the class, he received a commission as a second lieutenant in …

Gilliland, Charles Leon

Charles Leon Gilliland of Yellville (Marion County) died in combat at the age of seventeen and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in battle in the Korean War. Charles Gilliland was born on May 24, 1933, in the Colfax (Baxter County) to Leon Carl Gilliland, a farmer and construction worker, and Evangeline Margarite Martin Gilliland, a nurse’s aide. Gilliland was the second of nine children and the oldest son. The family moved to neighboring Marion County when Gilliland was a teenager. A country boy who loved to hunt and fish, Gilliland was fascinated by the military and police work. He collected military-related photographs and articles from newspapers and magazines and wore surplus military fatigues and a …

Gober, Hershel Wayne

Hershel Wayne Gober is an Arkansas native who followed a career in the military with business and government positions. Gober held high-level posts in the Department of Veterans Affairs at both the state and national levels under President Bill Clinton. Hershel W. Gober was born on December 21, 1936, in Monticello (Drew County). One of eight children of Jimmie Price Gober and Wade Harvey Gober, he grew up in Monticello and attended the local public schools. He received his undergraduate degree from Alaska Methodist University (now Alaska Pacific University) in Anchorage. Gober married Olivia DeArmond on April 5, 1956, and they went on to have six children before the marriage ended in divorce. Following graduation from college, Gober joined the …

Gordon, Anderson

Anderson Gordon was a state legislator, Confederate officer, and participant in the Brooks-Baxter War. Anderson Gordon was born on February 13, 1820, in Maury County, Tennessee. The son of John Gordon and Nancy Tomlinson Gordon, he spent part of his childhood in Alabama and moved to Arkansas in 1839. The family settled about six miles north of Lewisburg (Conway County). When he was a child, his right hand was partially disabled due to a fever. Gordon engaged in a number of enterprises in Conway County, including store clerk, grocer, and farmer. He married Lydia Griffin on April 22, 1846, and the couple had ten children, three of whom survived to adulthood. In 1854, he obtained forty acres of land from …

Gordon, Nathan Green

Nathan Green Gordon was a naval pilot in World War II, Medal of Honor recipient, and lawyer. He served as lieutenant governor from 1947 to 1967, the longest tenure of one person in that office in Arkansas history. Nathan Gordon was born on September 4, 1916, in Morrilton (Conway County), the second of four children of Edward (Ed) Gordon Sr., a lawyer and one-time state representative, and Ada Ruth Gordon. Noted as “a boy who couldn’t pass up a challenge or a dare,” he showed excellence at a young age. Growing up in Morrilton, he attended public school through the tenth grade before finishing high school at Columbia Military Academy in Tennessee, where he played baseball and football and was …

Govan, Daniel Chevilette

Daniel Chevilette Govan participated in many of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War in Tennessee and elsehwere but lived into the twentieth century, following many career paths through his long life. Daniel C. Govan was born on July 4, 1827, in Northampton County, North Carolina, to Mary Govan and Andrew Govan, who served as a U.S. representative from South Carolina. In 1832, the family relocated to Marshall County, Mississippi, where the young Govan was raised. He received his primary education from private tutoring and then attended South Carolina College (now the University of South Carolina). He left before graduating, for unknown reasons. Like thousands of other prospectors seeking their fortunes, Govan participated in the 1849 California gold rush alongside …

Grand Army of the Republic (GAR)

The Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) was a fraternal organization for Union veterans. The first GAR posts (chapters) originated in Illinois in 1866. The patriotic organization had a surprisingly strong presence in Arkansas, a Confederate state. In the 1860s, the earliest Arkansas chapters had many African-American veterans of the Union army living in Arkansas. Toward the end of the nineteenth century, GAR chapters tended to be controlled more by white Arkansans uncomfortable with the post-Reconstruction resurgence of the Democratic Party in Arkansas. One of the first goals of the GAR was to assist widows and orphans of fallen Union soldiers and sailors. The organization’s motto was: “Fraternity, Charity, Loyalty.” Soon after it organized, the GAR pushed for the establishment …

Grand Glaize, Expedition to

aka: Scout to Little Red River
The expedition to Grand Glaize and scout to the Little Red River were conducted as the Union’s Army of the Southwest sought intelligence on Confederate movements as the Federal army menaced Little Rock (Pulaski County) during the mid-point of the 1862 Pea Ridge Campaign. Following the Union victory at the Battle of Pea Ridge on March 7–8, 1862, Major General Samuel R. Curtis pulled his Army of the Southwest back into Missouri to protect that border state from other possible incursions by Confederate troops. By late April, though, Curtis’s commander, Major General Henry Halleck, concluded correctly that Major General Earl Van Dorn had moved his Confederate Army of the West across the Mississippi River, and so he ordered Curtis to …

Grand Glaize, Scout to

A force of the Fourth Missouri Cavalry (US) was sent to Grand Glaise (Jackson County) on May 14, 1862, as the Union’s Army of the Southwest sought intelligence on Confederate movements as the Federal army menaced Little Rock (Pulaski County) during the midpoint of the 1862 Pea Ridge Campaign. Following the Union victory at Pea Ridge on March 7–8, 1862, Major General Samuel R. Curtis pulled his Army of the Southwest back into Missouri to protect that border state from other possible incursions by Confederate troops. By late April, though, Curtis’s commander, Major General Henry Halleck, concluded correctly that Major General Earl Van Dorn had moved his Confederate Army of the West across the Mississippi River, so he ordered Curtis …

Grand Prairie, Skirmish at

After the Battle of Pea Ridge, Major General Samuel Ryan Curtis led his troops across northern Arkansas and southern Missouri in an effort to capture Little Rock (Pulaski County). After failing to do so and taking refuge in Batesville (Independence County), Curtis led his troops down the White River in an effort to link up with supply transports near Clarendon (Monroe County). On July 6, 1862, a skirmish was fought by the relief column escorting those transports. The transports began to move toward Gen. Curtis on June 10 and, by June 17, were approaching St. Charles (Arkansas County), where they engaged the Confederate fortifications and the USS Mound City was struck. The expedition ultimately captured the position, but due to …

Green, Benjamin William

Benjamin William Green was a soldier, planter, mill operator, real estate agent, and advocate for Confederate veterans. Raised in South Carolina, he fought in a Georgia unit during the Civil War. He moved to Arkansas after the war and later served as commander of the Arkansas Division of the United Confederate Veterans (UCV). Benjamin Green was born on September 7, 1846, in Darlington County, South Carolina, to Judge James Green and Sarah Ann Green. He was a descendant of John James, an officer of the American Revolution. Green’s father was a planter, who, according to the 1860 census, owned twenty slaves ranging from age three to eighty years of age. His father was too old to fight in the Civil …

Greensboro to Helena, Expedition from

The Civil War expedition from Greensboro (Craighead County) to Helena (Phillips County) was undertaken in July 1863 as Brigadier General John Wynn Davidson’s Union cavalrymen descended Crowley’s Ridge in search of Confederate troops in the early stages of the Little Rock Campaign. Davidson led his 6,000-man cavalry division across the St. Francis River at Chalk Bluff (Clay County) from southeastern Missouri on July 19, 1863, to face a reported advance by Confederate troops under Major General Sterling Price. The poorly supplied Union column moved rapidly down Crowley’s Ridge while foraging for food. As one Union artilleryman put it, “our fast marching…is for grub.” As they neared Greensboro, likely on July 24, Davidson sent a party of fifty troopers of the …

Greenway, John Campbell

John Campbell Greenway was well known for his developments in the mining industry and was also one of a handful of soldiers with Arkansas connections to serve with Theodore Roosevelt’s Rough Riders, First Volunteer Cavalry, in the Spanish-American War. John Greenway was born in Huntsville, Alabama, on July 6, 1872, to Dr. Gilbert Christian Greenway and Alice White Greenway. He had four brothers and one sister. When he was a young child, his family moved to Hot Springs (Garland County). He lived there long enough to complete grade school in the city’s public school system. At that time, his family moved to Alexandria, Virginia. He continued his education, graduating from Alexandria’s Episcopal High School. He then attended Andover Academy in …

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 …

Grider, John McGavock

Mississippi County native John McGavock Grider was one of a small number of U.S. pilots who served with the British Royal Air Force in World War I. Shot down in 1918, he is best known for an airfield named in his honor and the postwar publication of a version of his diary by a comrade who initially made no mention of Grider as the author of the account. John McGavock Grider, the only son of William H. Grider and Sue Grider, was born on May 18, 1892, at Sans Souci plantation near the community of Grider (Mississippi County). As a young man, he followed in his father’s footsteps as a farmer. On March 29, 1909, he married Marguerite Samuels, with …

Gunn, Paul Irving “Pappy”

Paul Irvin “Pappy” Gunn was a Quitman (Cleburne and Faulkner counties) native whose innovative alterations to aircraft to increase their firepower played a significant role in the American victory in the Pacific during World War II. Paul Gunn was born on October 18, 1899, in Quitman, one of six children of blacksmith Nathaniel Hezekiah Gunn and Laura Litton Gunn. As a teenager, he became interested in airplanes after he read about the fighter pilots serving in Europe. He registered for the World War I draft on September 12, 1918. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in the waning days of the war and served as an aviation mechanist’s mate, learning the technical skills he would later use in World War …

Gwatney, Harold Lloyd

Harold Gwatney was a prominent Arkansas business leader best known for establishing one of the state’s largest Chevrolet dealerships, Harold Gwatney Chevrolet, which later became known as Gwatney Automotive Companies. Harold Lloyd Gwatney was born in North Little Rock (Pulaski County) on August 17, 1929, one of three children of Bertha Chenault Gwatney and John Jackson Gwatney, who was a construction painter. Gwatney began working at age ten to be able to purchase cloth so his mother could sew him clothes. Gwatney soon began working in his uncle’s garage, cleaning up and delivering automobile parts using his bicycle. He soon began automotive work and, by age twelve, purchased his first car, a Model T Ford. By then, he had become …