...and April Fools' Day

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Swann, Elija Caesar

Elija Caesar Swann was a Confederate soldier who achieved national fame for his refusal to surrender to federal authorities for over three decades following the end of the Civil War. His continued military activities in the Cache River bottoms of Arkansas resulted from a very literal interpretation of the orders of his commander, Brigadier General Joseph Shelby, never to surrender to Union forces unless ordered to do so by Shelby himself. Elija Swann was born on November 23, 1848, in rural Benton County to subsistence farmers George and LeeAnn Swann; he had ten siblings. Loyalties were divided in the Arkansas highlands, and the Swann family apparently tried to stay out of secessionist politics in 1861. However, the war came to …