Entry Category: Military Science - Starting with U

Underground Hospital

aka: Fifty-fifth General Hospital
The Fifty-fifth General Hospital, “the Underground Hospital,” at Robinson Maneuver Training Center in Pulaski County was activated on May 25, 1943, during the United States’ involvement in World War II. Documents relating to the hospital were declassified on September 27, 1958; these stated that the Underground Hospital was the brainchild of then commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel Charles Chute Gill of the United States Army Medical Corps. Prior to other modern medical ventures, such as the Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) units implemented during the Korean War, the Underground Hospital experiment sought to simulate battle conditions and assess the potential for providing protected medical care at or near the frontlines. Gill, a graduate of the Medical School at the University of …

Union Occupation of Arkansas

At the Arkansas Secession Convention in May 1861, only Isaac Murphy, among seventy total delegates, refused to repudiate Arkansas’s bonds with the United States. The total delegation was representative of the wishes of many Arkansans, but Unionist sentiment ran deep in some regions, and eagerness for secession was not wholly unanimous among ordinary Arkansans expected to rally to the Confederate cause. During the war, these same ordinary Arkansans were pressed by Union and Confederate armies for conscription and forage, and devastation wrought by irregular partisans hastened a complete breakdown of civilized society in many parts of the state. Union forces were successful in reestablishing law and order as they pushed into Arkansas but were largely restricted to the area around their …

Union Transport near St. Charles, Attack on

aka: Attack on U.S. Transport Marmora (October 22, 1864)
Confederate guerrillas fired on the U.S. transport Marmora as it was steaming up the White River taking the Fifty-Third U.S. Colored Troops to St. Charles (Arkansas County) on October 22, 1864, killing three men and wounding up to eighteen others. On October 14, 1864, Major General Napoleon Jackson Tecumseh Dana ordered six Union regiments, including the Fifty-Third U.S. Colored Troops, to bolster Federal forces based at the mouth of the White River. The Fifty-Third boarded the steamboat Bart Able at Vicksburg, Mississippi, and headed north, arriving at its destination on October 18. Four days later, the regiment was traveling up the White River to occupy St. Charles. While the Marmora approached Prairie Landing, Confederate guerrillas concealed in the trees along …

Unionists

Unionists were Arkansans who remained loyal to the United States after the state seceded from the Union during the American Civil War, often suffering retaliation from Confederate forces and guerrillas. A significant number of Arkansas Unionists served in the Federal army, and loyal Arkansans formed a Unionist government in 1864. Of the more than 111,000 African Americans held in slavery in 1860, the overwhelming majority should be considered Unionists, and thousands flocked to the protection of Union armies at their first opportunity. As the possibility of disunion arose following the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860, Arkansans were not wholeheartedly in favor of secession. Arkansas had been a state for only twenty-five years and had benefited from the presence of …

United Confederate Veterans (UCV)

When the Civil War ended in 1865, thousands of Confederate veterans returned home to Arkansas. Many of these veterans remained in the state and slowly rebuilt their lives after four long years of war. A national organization for Confederate veterans was not established until 1889, when some Confederate veterans’ groups met in New Orleans, Louisiana, and organized the United Confederate Veterans (UCV). It was the counterpart to the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), a national organization of Union veterans that had been established in 1866, although the UCV never had the political power or the prestige of the GAR. However, the UCV did have the power to directly affect the lives of its members at a local level. The …

United Confederate Veterans Reunion of 1911

Little Rock (Pulaski County) hosted the twenty-first annual United Confederate Veterans Reunion on May 16–18, 1911. The reunion drew more than 140,000 people, including approximately 12,000 veterans, making it the largest event in Little Rock history until William Jefferson Clinton’s election night in 1992. The United Confederate Veterans (UCV) formed in 1889 with a goal of keeping alive the memory of the men who fought for the South during the Civil War and to bring national attention to the needs of the aging veterans. The annual reunion was one of the group’s major projects, and towns across the country vied to host the event. Judge William M. Kavanaugh chaired Little Rock’s planning committee for the event. Subcommittees arranged for lodging, …

United Confederate Veterans Reunion of 1928

The thirty-eighth annual national reunion of the United Confederate Veterans (UCV), held on May 8–11, 1928, marked the second time that Little Rock (Pulaski County) served as the event’s host city, seventeen years after the much-celebrated 1911 reunion. Governor John Ellis Martineau’s personal invitation, along with a $30,000 legislative appropriation to provide free entertainment for all veterans, helped Little Rock beat out the cities of Atlanta, Georgia, and Lexington, Kentucky, for the honor. The Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) oversaw all planning. Edmund R. Wiles, commander of the Trans-Mississippi Division of the SCV, served as general chairman of the reunion committee and used the War Memorial Building (now the Old State House) as committee headquarters. In November 1927, Wiles dispelled …

United Confederate Veterans Reunion of 1949

The fifty-ninth annual national reunion of the United Confederate Veterans (UCV) marked the third and final time that Little Rock (Pulaski County) served as host city for the event. Thereafter, the UCV held only two more national reunions. The Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) planned and organized all of the event’s activities. Little Rock’s Robert C. Newton Camp of the SCV served as the host organization throughout the reunion. Other organizations associated with the reunion included the Order of the Stars and Bars and the Confederated Southern Memorial Association (CSMA). Due to the limited number of living Civil War veterans, reunion officials expected no more than eight veterans to attend the event. Even this modest attendance expectation went unfulfilled, however, …

USAV Gen. Brehon B. Somervell (LSV3)

The USAV Gen. Brehon B. Somervell (LSV3) is a Frank S. Besson–Class logistical support vessel named for Brehon Burke Somervell, a Little Rock (Pulaski County) native who was essential to the United States’ logistical efforts during World War II. Brehon Burke Somervell was born in Little Rock on May 9, 1892. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, in 1914 and served in the 1916 Punitive Expedition into Mexico prior to shipping off to France during World War I. He was awarded a Distinguished Service Medal and a Distinguished Service Cross for his service there. He served in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers after returning to the United States and, during the Great Depression, …

USNS Gilliland (T-AKR-298)

The USNS Gilliland is a Gordon-class large, medium-speed, roll-on/roll-off (LMSR) ship originally built as a Danish cargo ship before being modified to join the U.S. Military Sealift Command. The vessel is named for Charles Gilliland of Yellville (Marion County), who earned a posthumous Medal of Honor for valor during the Korean War. Charles Leon Gilliland joined the U.S. Army on his seventeenth birthday in 1950, just two months before the Korean War began. He was serving with Company I of the Seventh Infantry Regiment when his company position was attacked near Tongmang-ni, Korea, on April 25, 1951. Gilliland held the main attack at bay with his automatic rifle and, though wounded, volunteered to stay behind and cover his fellow soldiers’ …

USNS Private William H. Thomas (T-AP-185)

aka: SS Alcoa Cruiser
aka: USS Rixey (AHP-3)
The USNS Private William H. Thomas was a Tryon-class evacuation transport built in 1941 that was renamed in 1946 for a Wynne (Cross County) native who received a Medal of Honor during World War II. William H. Thomas was born in Wynne on January 13, 1923. He was serving as a Browning Automatic Rifle gunner on Luzon in the Philippine Islands on April 22, 1945, when a Japanese satchel charge blew off both of his legs beneath the knee. Refusing medical attention, Thomas continued fighting until his weapon was disabled and he ran out of grenades. Thomas died of his wounds, and he received a posthumous Medal of Honor for his valor. The Private William H. Thomas originated as the …

USNS Sisler (T-AKR 311)

The USNS Sisler is a Watson-class large, medium-speed, roll-on/roll-off ship (LMSR) launched in 1998 and named for George Kenton Sisler, a graduate of Arkansas State University in Jonesboro (Craighead County) who earned a posthumous Medal of Honor for valor during the Vietnam War. Dexter, Missouri, native George Kenton Sisler was born in 1937 and enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1964 shortly after his graduation from what is now Arkansas State University with an education degree. On February 7, 1967, while operating with a Special Forces unit and South Vietnamese troops deep behind enemy lines, Sisler and his comrades were attacked. Sisler carried wounded comrades into a defensive perimeter and fought off repeated enemy attacks before being mortally wounded while …

USNS Watkins (T-AKR-315)

The USNS Watkins is a Watson-class large, medium-speed roll-on/roll-off (LMSR) ship launched in 2000 and named for Travis E. Watkins, an Arkansas native who received a Medal of Honor for heroic actions during the Korean War. Travis E. Watkins was born in Waldo (Columbia County) on September 5, 1920, but moved to Texas with his mother and brothers after his parents divorced. He joined the U.S. Army in 1939 and earned a Bronze Star at Guadalcanal during World War II. Remaining in the army, he had risen to the rank of master sergeant by the time the Korean War began. On August 31, 1950, he and a group of thirty soldiers were cut off from the rest of their regiment …

USS Admiral E. W. Eberle (AP-123)

aka: USNS General Simon B. Buckner
The USS Admiral E. W. Eberle was one of two ships named for Edward Walter Eberle, an admiral who served in the U.S. Navy from 1881 until 1928. Born in Denton, Texas, Eberle grew up in Fort Smith (Sebastian County). The ship saw service in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. The USS Admiral E. W. Eberle was an Admiral W. S. Benson–class transport ship. Designed to carry large numbers of troops, these ships were also armed with four five-inch guns, eight forty-millimeter guns, and sixteen twenty-millimeter guns. With its keel laid down on February 15, 1943, the ship was constructed by the Bethlehem Steel Corporation in Alameda, California. Ordered as a Maritime Commission Contract, the …

USS Arkansas (BB-33)

The battleship USS Arkansas (BB-33) was the third ship of the U.S. Navy to bear the state’s name, the prior vessels being a wooden-hulled steamer during the American Civil War, and an 1890s single-turret monitor that was renamed Ozark in 1909 and used as an instruction ship. The battleship Arkansas participated in both world wars and received four battle stars for service in World War II. The Arkansas’s keel was laid on January 25, 1910, in Camden, New Jersey. The USS Arkansas was launched on January 14, 1911, and commissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on September 17, 1912. Measuring 562 feet by ninety-three feet, the Arkansas was designed for a crew of 1,594. It was armed with twelve twelve-inch …

USS Arkansas (CGN-41)

The USS Arkansas (CGN-41) was the fourth and last ship in the Virginia class of Nuclear Powered Guided Missile Cruisers. The cruiser was also the fourth ship in the U.S. Navy to be named after the state of Arkansas. The keel of the USS Arkansas was laid on January 17, 1977, at Newport News, Virginia, by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co. It was launched on October 21, 1978, and was commissioned on October 18, 1980, with Captain Dennis S. Read in command. The guided-missile cruiser spent the four months following its commissioning in the vicinity of Hampton Roads, Virginia. In March 1981, it completed contract trials and conducted a public relations call at Port Everglades, Florida. Until …

USS Arkansas (Civil War)

Not to be confused with the like-named Confederate ship the CSS Arkansas, the USS Arkansas served the U.S. Navy during the Civil War as a supply and tender vessel, helping to maintain communications and supply with the blockade fleet along the Texas gulf coast. Constructed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1863 as a commercial barkentine-rigged, wooden-hulled, screw steamer originally named Tonawanda, this vessel measured 191 feet in length and thirty feet at the beam. It weighed 752 tons and drafted nineteen feet of water. It carried a crew of eighty-eight enlisted sailors and officers. Propelled by one vertical condensing engine capable of operation at high or low pressure, with a cylinder diameter of forty inches and a thirty-inch stroke, it averaged …

USS Arkansas (M-7)

aka: USS Ozark (BM-7)
The USS Arkansas (M-7), also known as the USS Ozark (BM-7), was one of four monitor-class naval vessels built for the U.S. Navy in the late 1800s. Although designed as surface warships, these vessels were primarily relegated to support operations because they were obsolete by the time they were finished. In 1898, the navy approved designs to introduce four new monitor vessels. These vessels were known as the USS Arkansas (M-7), USS Connecticut (M-8), USS Florida (M-9), and USS Wyoming (M-10). Because the navy designates the first ship of a class series the class name of the ship, M-7 through M-10 were known as Arkansas-class monitors. The USS Arkansas was built by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company …

USS Baron De Kalb

aka: USS St. Louis
Named for Baron Johann De Kalb, a Bavarian nobleman who served as a major general in the Continental army during the American Revolution, the sternwheel casemate gunboat Baron De Kalb saw extensive service with the Union’s Western Gunboat Fleet during the Civil War, including operations on the White River during the ongoing battle for control of significant interior rivers in the Trans-Mississippi Department. Built in 1861 in Carondelet, Missouri, by the innovative ship designer James B. Eads under orders from U.S. Army Quartermaster General Montgomery Meigs and originally christened the St. Louis, the 175-foot Cairo-class vessel displaced 512 tons and drew six feet of water. Its armaments consisted of two eight-inch smoothbore cannon, four forty-two-pound rifled cannon, and seven thirty-two-pound …

USS Baxter (APA-94)

The USS Baxter was a Sumter-class attack transport ship that saw action during World War II. It is named in honor of Baxter County. The Baxter was the fourth and final ship in the Sumter class to be constructed, with work beginning on March 18, 1943, in Chickasaw, Alabama; the other three ships of the class were constructed in 1942. The ship was launched on September 19, 1943, and was acquired by the U.S. Navy on November 30, receiving a reduced commission. The Baxter sailed to Brooklyn, New York, where it arrived on December 14. Work to convert it to an attack transport began the same day. The ship was fully commissioned on May 15, 1944, under the command of …

USS Benton County (LST-263)

The USS Benton County, originally USS LST-263, was a tank landing ship that served the U.S. Navy in the European Theater during World War II. It was renamed the USS Benton County on July 1, 1955, in honor of counties of that name in nine states, including Arkansas. LST-263 was one of a class of vessels created to carry tanks, wheeled and tracked vehicles, artillery, construction equipment, and supplies during military operations along coastal areas. Called “Large Slow Targets” by their crews, they were designed as shallow-draft vessels; when loaded with a 500-ton cargo, LST-263 drew just under four feet at the bow and just under ten feet at the stern. They carried pontoons amidships that could be used to …

USS Boone County (LST-389)

The USS Boone County, originally LST-389, was a tank landing ship that served the U.S. Navy in the European Theater during World War II. It was renamed the USS Boone County on July 1, 1955, in honor of counties of that name in eight states, including Arkansas. LST-389 was one of a class of vessels—called Landing Ship, Tank—created to carry tanks, wheeled and tracked vehicles, artillery, construction equipment, and supplies during military operations along coastal areas. Called “Large Slow Targets” by their crews, they were designed as shallow-draft vessels; when loaded with a 500-ton cargo, LST-389 drew just under four feet at the bow and just under ten feet at the stern. These ships carried pontoons amidships that could be …

USS Bradley County (LST-400)

The USS Bradley County, originally USS LST-400, was a tank landing ship that served the U.S. Navy in the European Theater during World War II. It was renamed the USS Bradley County on July 1, 1955, in honor of counties in Arkansas and Tennessee. LST-400 was one of a class of vessels—called Landing Ship, Tank—created to carry tanks, wheeled and tracked vehicles, artillery, construction equipment, and supplies during military operations along coastal areas. Called “Large Slow Targets” by their crews, they were designed as shallow-draft vessels; when loaded with a 500-ton cargo, LST-400 drew just under four feet at the bow and just under ten feet at the stern. They carried pontoons amidships that could be used to create causeways …

USS Calhoun County (LST-519)

The USS Calhoun County, originally USS LST-519, was a tank landing ship that served the U.S. Navy in the European Theater during World War II and was later used to dump radioactive material into the Atlantic Ocean. It was renamed the USS Calhoun County on July 1, 1955, in honor of counties of that name in eleven states, including Arkansas. LST-519 was one of a class of vessels created to carry tanks, wheeled and tracked vehicles, artillery, construction equipment, and supplies during military operations along coastal areas. Called “Large Slow Targets” by their crews, they were designed as shallow-draft vessels; when loaded with a 500-ton cargo, LST-519 drew just under four feet at the bow and just under ten feet …

USS Charles J. Finger

The USS Charles J. Finger, named for Fayetteville (Washington County) writer and editor Charles Joseph Finger, was a World War II Liberty Ship that saw wartime service in the Atlantic, Caribbean, and Pacific. After the war, the vessel sailed under the flags of four foreign nations prior to being scrapped in 1970. In the early days of World War II, German U-boat attacks devastated British shipping, and American industry responded to the heavy losses of cargo ships by developing what became known as Liberty Ships. These mass-produced vessels contained 250,000 parts that were created in factories across the United States, then sent to several American shipyards for assembly into two sections, each about 220 feet long, that were then welded …

USS Chicot (AK-170)

The USS Chicot was an Alamosa-class cargo ship that served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and the Korean War. The ship was named for Chicot County and was part of the same class as the USS Craighead, USS Poinsett, and USS Sebastian, all named for Arkansas counties. The Chicot was launched on July 16, 1944, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The ship was constructed by Froemming Brothers, Incorporated, and was acquired by the navy on March 13, 1945. It was commissioned as the Chicot on April 4, 1945, and the first captain of the ship was Lieutenant Commander Lawrence Marshall. The Alamosa class consisted of cargo ships designed to deliver troops, equipment, and goods to combat zones. The Chicot …

USS Cincinnati

The sternwheel casemate gunboat Cincinnati saw extensive service with the Union’s Western Gunboat Fleet during the Civil War, including the expedition up Steele’s Bayou and operations on the White River during the ongoing battle for control of significant interior rivers in the Trans-Mississippi Department. Built in 1861 in Mound City, Illinois, by the innovative ship designer James B. Eads under orders from U.S. Army Quartermaster General Montgomery Meigs, the 175-foot Cairo-class vessel displaced 512 tons and drew six feet of water. Its armaments consisted of six thirty-two-pound and three eight-inch smoothbore cannon, four forty-two-pound rifled cannon, and one twelve-pound howitzer. Under operational control of the army and piloted by permanently assigned civilians, the Cincinnati joined the Western Gunboat Fleet in …

USS Clara Dolsen

The USS Clara Dolsen was a massive sidewheel paddleboat built in 1861 and used by Confederate forces until its capture by the U.S. Navy during the 1862 St. Charles Expedition. The Clara Dolsen was a 939-ton sidewheel paddleboat built at Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1861 for Captain William T. Dunning, A. P. Stewart, and S. B. Edwards of New Orleans, Louisiana. Its hull was constructed at the Leatherbury yard, and its machinery was manufactured by C. T. G. Dumont. The Clara Dolsen was 273 feet long and forty-two feet wide, and it was powered by five boilers and twenty-eight-inch cylinder engines. Its paddlewheels were thirty-six feet in diameter with fourteen-foot buckets. The ship was acknowledged as “one of the largest, handsomest, …