Entries - Time Period: Civil War through Reconstruction (1861 - 1874) - Starting with C

Cabell, William Lewis

A talented and respected Confederate brigadier general, William Lewis Cabell performed most of his Civil War service in the Trans-Mississippi Department in Arkansas. He served several terms as mayor of Dallas, Texas, between the mid-1870s and mid-1880s. The exact meaning of his nickname “Old Tige” is not clear, but it may refer to his tenacity and stern discipline. William Lewis Cabell was born in Danville, Virginia, on January 1, 1827, to Sallie Doswell Cabell and lawyer and military officer Benjamin Cabell. He graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1850 and served initially as a second lieutenant in the Seventh U.S. Infantry. Following his promotion to first lieutenant in June 1855, Cabell served as regimental quartermaster …

Cache Bayou, Skirmish at

On July 6, 1862, dismounted members of Company “I” of the Third Iowa Cavalry turned back a Confederate attempt to halt the Federal Army of the Southwest’s movement into eastern Arkansas. A significant skirmish occurred that day at Cache Bayou approximately fifteen miles north of Clarendon (Monroe County). After encountering a barricade along the Clarendon Road, the Iowa cavalrymen pushed through the obstacle and effectively forced the Confederates to retreat across the Cache River. The Federal victory at Cache Bayou allowed the barricade to be removed successfully, thus permitting the army’s continued trudge south into Arkansas. The Federal movement during the summer of 1862 occurred as part of the orders of Major General Henry Halleck—Federal supreme commander in the West—to …

Cache River Bridge, Skirmish at

On May 28, 1862, a reconnaissance under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Hiram F. Sickles of the Ninth Illinois Cavalry prevented Captain Richard Hooker’s Confederates from completely destroying the Cache River bridge near Augusta (Woodruff County). Confederate Major General Earl Van Dorn’s departure from Arkansas to the Western Theater with the bulk of Arkansas’s defensive capabilities left the city of Jacksonport (Jackson County)—and the rest of the state—unprotected. Hastily attempting to build a substantial Confederate defense of Arkansas, Major General Thomas Hindman—the newly appointed commander of the Trans-Mississippi Department—commissioned a number of local officers, such as Capt. Hooker in Jackson County, to raise units across the state. These units were encouraged to harass the Federals wherever they were found while …

Caddo Mill, Skirmish at

On December 14, 1863, a detachment that consisted of two companies from the Second Kansas Cavalry headquartered at Waldron (Scott County) surprised and overwhelmed a fifteen-man camp of Confederate forces near Caddo Mill (Montgomery County). On December 13, 1863, Lieutenant Colonel Owen A. Bassett sent a detachment of forty men, led by Lieutenants P. Cosgrove and B. B. Mitchell from the Second Kansas Cavalry headquarters located at Waldron, toward Caddo Gap (Montgomery County). In an attempt to maneuver away from a detachment of General Joseph Shelby’s Confederate cavalry, the two lieutenants continued to Farrar’s Mill. At Farrar’s Mill, they received a report that fifteen Confederate soldiers were encamped a short distance ahead near Caddo Mill. The Union detachment completed the …

Camden Expedition

Part of the Red River Campaign, the Camden Expedition resulted from Union brigadier general Frederick Steele’s orders to strike south from Little Rock (Pulaski County) and converge with Major General Nathaniel P. Banks’s column in northwest Louisiana before marching to Texas. Because of poor logistical planning, horrible roads, and strong Confederate resistance, Steele abandoned this plan to occupy Camden (Ouachita County). Losing battles at Poison Spring (Ouachita County) and Marks’ Mills (Cleveland County), Steele became unable to supply his army and retreated toward Little Rock. The Confederates caught Steele while he was crossing the Saline River engaging in the last battle of the campaign at Jenkins’ Ferry (Grant County). In 1864, the Trans-Mississippi Theater presented several problems for Union general-in-chief …

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 …

Camden, Skirmish at (April 15, 1864)

  The Skirmish at Camden on April 15, 1864, occurred after Union brigadier general Frederick Steele had forced Major General Sterling Price’s troops and cavalry out of Camden (Ouachita County) on April 12. Realizing his opportunity, Steele marched his army approximately forty miles to the east toward Camden. This would prove to be an important turning point within the Red River Campaign for the Union troops. In the early hours of April 15, the Thirty-third Infantry of Iowa began its march toward Camden, still eighteen miles away. Its first movement on the Confederate lines forced a battery on the main road to cease firing, allowing the troops to continue advancing toward the city. By 10:30 a.m., the Thirty-Third Infantry had …

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 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 …

Campbell, John

John Campbell was a Searcy County pioneer after whom the historic community of Campbell was named. He also served in both houses of the Arkansas General Assembly and was a second lieutenant during the Mexican War. John Campbell was born on May 9, 1806, in Warren County, Tennessee, to James Campbell and Lucy Howard Campbell. Campbell became a colonel in the Tennessee militia while still in his twenties; he was usually called Colonel Campbell by his friends and neighbors. On July 29, 1835, he married Ann Blassingame in McNairy County, Tennessee. Following the birth of their son Charles Henry Campbell on September 4, 1837, the family traveled by ox cart on a six-week journey across the Mississippi River and up …

Cane Hill, Engagement at

aka: Engagement at Canehill
aka: Engagement at Boston Mountains
The Engagement at Cane Hill on November 28, 1862, was the prelude to the Battle of Prairie Grove fought on December 7, 1862. Union brigadier general James G. Blunt, with 5,000 men and thirty cannon in the Kansas Division of the Army of the Frontier, surprised 2,000 Confederate cavalry and six cannon under Confederate brigadier general John S. Marmaduke while they were gathering winter supplies. The struggle lasted nine hours and covered about twelve miles over the wooded and rocky terrain between Cane Hill (Washington County) and the Cove Creek valley. While it was a Union victory, casualties were light on both sides. Blunt’s decision to remain at Cane Hill set in motion the entire Confederate force at Fort Smith …

Cane Hill, Skirmish at (November 25, 1862)

The November 25, 1862, Skirmish near Cane Hill, Arkansas, occurred as Union general James Gilpatrick Blunt reconnoitered Confederate positions in northwest Arkansas. His troops had already fought minor skirmishes with Confederate cavalry earlier in the month. From his camp on Lindsey’s Prairie in Benton County, Gen. Blunt sent Major George A. Purington with a portion of the Second Ohio Cavalry and detachment of the Third Wisconsin Cavalry south toward the Cane Hill (Washington County), Cincinnati (Washington County), and Evansville (Washington County) area. Accompanied by a local guide on a white horse, Maj. Purington’s troopers proceeded to within four or five miles of Cincinnati, discovering signs that several hundred horses had recently passed by. Half a mile farther down the road, …

Cane Hill, Skirmish at (November 6, 1864)

The November 6, 1864, skirmish near Cane Hill (Washington County) occurred as Union general Samuel Ryan Curtis pushed Confederate general Sterling Price’s troops out of Missouri. Price defeated several Union forces as he marched north, and then west, through Missouri, but meeting Curtis’s superior numbers at Westport, Missouri, Price realized he was in danger of a serious defeat and turned south. The two armies fought several engagements moving toward Arkansas, including: Marais des Cygnes, Mine Creek, Marmiton River, and Second Newtonia. Entering Arkansas well ahead of Curtis, Price marched to Cane Hill, secured several small droves of local cattle, and gave his hungry, worn-out troops a day’s respite, barely slipping away before Curtis’s troops appeared. Leaving Prairie Grove (Washington County) …

Carolina Methodist Church

The Carolina Methodist Church is located near Rosston (Nevada County). Constructed in 1871, the building and associated cemetery are the last remnants of the Carolina community. The church was added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 3, 1991. The first settlers to the area began arriving around 1855, when the land was part of Ouachita County. Some evidence suggests that the church congregation was founded the following year. The land where the church would be built was purchased by the board of trustees for twenty-five cents on January 15, 1870, from the John W. Shell and W. C. Hatley families. The church building was likely constructed by the following year, and the property records were transferred to …

Carpetbaggers and Scalawags

“Carpetbaggers” is a slang term denoting men who adhered to the newly formed Republican Party, which followed the demise of the Whig Party, and gained control of Arkansas politics and government after the end of Civil War. Many of these men were former Union soldiers. The correct term is Radical Republicans. Southerners coined the pejorative term carpetbaggers and claimed that these men came into the state with only what could be packed in a suitcase made from carpet scraps. The belief was that these men were uneducated opportunists who came to Arkansas only to plunder and take advantage of the bankrupt, defeated, and humiliated people of the state. Noted carpetbaggers included Thomas Meade Bowen, a lawyer, and Powell Clayton, an …

Carroll, David Williamson

David Williamson Carroll, who was one of the eleven men who represented the state in the Confederate Congress, was the first Roman Catholic to represent Arkansas in a national legislative body. He was one of the three members of the eleven-member Arkansas delegation who owned no slaves. David Williamson Carroll was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on March 11, 1816, the eldest child of William Carroll and Henrietta Maria Williamson. He was the scion of a prominent Catholic family. His great-grandfather Daniel Carroll (1730–1796) participated in the Constitutional Convention of 1787, being one of the three members of the Maryland delegation to sign the document. Daniel Carroll was the older brother of John Carroll (1735–1815), the first Catholic bishop and archbishop …

Carroll, Marion, and Searcy Counties, Scout to

aka: Skirmish at Richland Creek (December 25, 1863)
aka: Skirmish at Stroud's Store
aka: Skirmish at Buffalo River
  On December 16, 1863, Captain John I. Worthington of Company H, First Arkansas Cavalry (US), left Fayetteville (Washington County) to scout Carroll, Marion, and Searcy counties looking for bands of Confederate guerrillas. Company H was recruited from Arkansas refugees in Missouri, and one third of them were from Searcy County. Capt. Worthington’s scouting party had 112 men from his own company and one gun from the howitzer battery under Lieutenant Robert M. Thompson, attached to the First Arkansas. Worthington’s scouting party reached Carrollton (Carroll County) on December 19 and skirmished with Confederate bushwhackers. On December 22, they marched to William P. Stroud’s Store near Marshall’s Prairie in southeastern Carroll County (now in southeastern Boone County) after dispersing and breaking up …

Carrollton, Skirmish at (August 15, 1864)

Part of an effort to disrupt enemy operations across northwestern Arkansas, this skirmish was one of several fought in August 1864 against numerous guerrilla bands. While extremely brief, this skirmish caused significant havoc for one group of Confederate guerrillas. Brigadier General John Sanborn was tasked with stopping enemy actions in southwestern Missouri and northwestern Arkansas. From his command post at Springfield, Missouri, he led efforts to find and destroy groups of guerrillas. Using both regular Federal units and militia, Sanborn tried to keep the enemy from gaining any strength in his area. On August 15, 1864, one of Sanborn’s units, a detachment from a company of Arkansas militia under the command of Captain G. W. Edy, approached Carrollton (Carroll County). …

Catterson, Robert Francis

Robert Francis Catterson was an officer in the Union army during the Civil War. Ending the war as a brigadier general, he led militia units in Arkansas after the adoption of the 1868 constitution. He also fought in the Brooks-Baxter War and served as the mayor of Little Rock (Pulaski County). Robert Catterson was born on March 22, 1835, in Beech Grove, Indiana, the son of Patrick and Sarah Catterson. His father died about five years after his birth, and Catterson was raised by his mother alongside his five siblings. He attended local schools and then Adrian College in Michigan and Cincinnati Medical College. Upon the completion of his studies, he opened a medical practice in Rockville, Indiana. Catterson joined …

Cecil, John

John Cecil was the first elected sheriff of Newton County. He joined the Confederate army at the beginning of the war and later led dangerous guerrilla units in northwest Arkansas. The Union army wanted to capture him badly enough to burn down the city of Jasper (Newton County), and they enlisted Cecil’s younger brother Samuel to help snare him. John Cecil was the eldest son of Joseph and Margaret (Buttram) Cecil, born on April 10, 1822, in Morgan County, Tennessee. He had three brothers and five sisters. Joseph Cecil and his family migrated to Arkansas prior to 1837 and settled in Carroll County, part of which became Newton County in 1842. Three of John Cecil’s uncles also migrated to Arkansas …

Celeste

As part of the Union’s Mississippi River Squadron, the sternwheel steamer Celeste served on the Mississippi River and its tributaries, including expeditions on the White River during the ongoing battle for control of significant interior rivers in the Trans-Mississippi Department during the Civil War. The Celeste displaced 300 tons, but specific details about its construction and acquisition by Union forces are not known. In late August 1864, Brigadier General Christopher Columbus Andrews, commanding the Second Division of the Seventh Army Corps headquartered at DeValls Bluff (Prairie County), ordered an expedition up the White River to locate and pursue the troops under the command of Brigadier General Joseph Orville Shelby and Colonel Archibald Stephenson Dobbins. The initial phase of this expedition …

Chalk Bluff, Skirmish at (May 1–2, 1863)

Chalk Bluff in Clay County, where Crowley’s Ridge is cut by the St. Francis River, was an important transit point during the Civil War between northeast Arkansas and the Missouri Bootheel. It was the site of the last engagement of Major General John Sappington Marmaduke’s fighting withdrawal from his second Missouri raid, April 17–May 2, 1863, as the Confederate forces held off an initially determined but ultimately faltering Union pursuit to escape back into Arkansas across the St. Francis River on a makeshift floating bridge. Marmaduke entered Missouri with 5,000 men, of whom 1,200 were unarmed and 900 dismounted, planning to trap Union Brigadier General John McNeil at Bloomfield, Missouri. McNeil’s troops evacuated Bloomington ahead of Marmaduke and withdrew into …

Chalk Bluff, Skirmish at (May 15, 1862)

On May 15, 1862, Colonel Edward Daniels, commanding elements of the First Wisconsin Cavalry, forced Lieutenant Colonel William L. Jeffers’s independent command from the Chalk Bluff in Clay County, Arkansas, and temporarily restored a Union presence in the area. Upon hearing rumors of Confederate units in the Missouri Bootheel that could threaten his command at Cape Girardeau, Missouri, Colonel Edward Daniels marched with six squadrons of his First Wisconsin Cavalry to eliminate this threat on May 9, 1862. The next day, he routed the small command of Colonel William J. Phelan ten miles from Bloomfield, Missouri, before turning his column toward a sizable force, rumored at Chalk Bluff, who were alleged to be pressing citizens into service and seizing supplies. …

Cherokee Bay, Skirmish at

 Continuing the Union strategy of raiding northeastern Arkansas from Missouri to harass guerrillas or Confederate regulars in the area, Captain Abijah Johns of Company A, Third Missouri State Militia Cavalry, engaged in a sharp skirmish before defeating the unknown Confederate forces near Cherokee Bay (Randolph County) on May 8, 1864. The term “Cherokee Bay” was often used by Union officers to refer to the general areas between the Current and Black rivers in Randolph County. In fact, Lieutenant Colonel George C. Thilenius of Fifth-sixth Regiment of Enrolled Missouri Militia simply referred to the swampy region as Cherokee Bayou. Therefore, any specific location in the Cherokee Bay area used by Union officers may be difficult to pinpoint, as it could mean …

Chicot County Race War of 1871

aka: Chicot County Massacre
In late 1871, Chicot County was taken over by several hundred African Americans, led by state legislator and county judge James W. Mason. The murder of African-American lawyer Wathal (sometimes spelled as Walthall) Wynn prompted the area’s black citizens to kill the men jailed for their role in the murder and take over the area. Many white residents fled, escaping by steamboat to Memphis, Tennessee, and other nearby river towns. Like the Black Hawk War that occurred in Mississippi County the following year, the situation arose, in part, from the radical wing of the Republican Party exercising its power in choosing local officials. Both Mississippi and Chicot counties’ populations were primarily black, with blacks outnumbering whites four to one in Chicot County. …

Churchill’s Arkansas Division (CS)

The largest unit of Arkansas Confederate troops during the Civil War, this division saw action in both Arkansas and Louisiana. It was named for its commander, Major General Thomas James Churchill. The first regiments that eventually belonged to the division were organized in the summer of 1862. After the Confederate defeat at the Battle of Pea Ridge in March 1862, Major General Earl Van Dorn led the majority of Confederate troops in the state east of the Mississippi River, where most remained for the duration of the war. Arkansas was left almost completely defenseless, and the new commander of the Trans-Mississippi Department, Major General Thomas C. Hindman, immediately began efforts to raise new units of troops in the state. Numerous …

Civil War Archaeology

Since the late twentieth century, Civil War archaeology has been a thriving research area. Arkansas has been a location of much interest and continues to attract attention for work being done around the state. Federal and state agencies, along with private firms, have been part of this process. Their work focuses on several types of sites, including battlefields, camps, and civilian locations. BattlefieldsBattlefields get the most attention, as they are the Civil War sites people think of most commonly. For many years, archaeologists thought it was impossible to study battlefields because of their large size and the thin scattering of artifacts. Then, in 1983, a brush fire burned across the Little Bighorn Battlefield in Montana, exposing the ground surface and …

Civil War Markers and Memorials

Across the state of Arkansas, many markers and memorials commemorate the events of the Civil War. Some are located at or near the locations of significant events of the war, while others are located near county courthouses or in cemeteries. Some markers and monuments remain well-maintained, while others have disintegrated due to neglect and vandalism. In some cases, damaged markers and memorials have been replaced. Most of the earliest memorials were established in cemeteries where Civil War soldiers are buried. These cemetery markers can be found in Fayetteville (Washington County), Little Rock (Pulaski County), and Camden (Ouachita County), as well as other places. Other early markers of Civil War events were placed in Helena (Phillips County) and Pea Ridge (Benton …

Civil War Medicine

Medical treatment during the Civil War focused on two major areas: disease and wound care. As many as 700,000 members of the military lost their lives during the war, and approximately two-thirds of these deaths were due to disease. These figures do not include deaths suffered by the civilian population. Diseases were common before the war, especially yellow fever, cholera, and typhoid, but the war magnified their effect and sometimes brought them to epidemic proportions. The outbreak of war led to a massive mobilization effort in the state. Thousands of men joined military units and moved into camps with limited sanitary facilities. This lack of clean water, coupled with the large numbers of men living in close proximity, led to …

Civil War Recruitment

When the American Civil War began in April 1861, the recruitment of soldiers was not a problem for either side. Partisans of both the Union and the Confederacy were so confident that victory could be achieved in a few months that young men volunteered by the thousands to make sure that they did not miss out on the war. The turnout was so much greater than expected that the major problem facing the War Departments of both the Union and Confederacy was not the enlistment of soldiers but the procurement of food, clothing, and armaments to sustain them. The recruitment and organization of both armies began even before hostilities commenced, which was necessary given the size and condition of both …

Civil War Refugees

The Civil War that beset Arkansas for four years quickly depleted the modest infrastructure and resource base that then existed throughout the young state. The burden of armies supplying themselves with forage and requisitions from civilians compounded with marauding guerrillas and bushwhackers left many citizens utterly destitute, threatened with starvation. During wartime, order was often imposed only by means of military superiority over opposing forces, and civilized society in much of Arkansas began to break down as the fighting wore on. The prospect of survival in a war-torn state turned thousands of Arkansans into refugees who sought the charity of bare sustenance within Union lines or by leaving Arkansas altogether. Even before the war, Arkansas was bitterly divided from within …

Civil War through Reconstruction, 1861 through 1874

In the last years of the 1850s, Arkansas enjoyed an economic boom that was unparalleled in its history. But in the years between 1861 and 1865, the bloody and destructive Civil War destroyed that prosperity. The conflict brought death and destruction to the state on a scale that few could have imagined, and the war and the tumultuous Reconstruction era that followed it left a legacy of bitterness that the passage of many years did little to assuage. Prelude to War In the 1850s, Arkansas was a frontier state. Most Arkansans, especially those who lived in the highlands of the north and west, were farmers engaged in subsistence agriculture on small parcels of land. In the fertile lands along the …

Civil War Timeline

For additional information: Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission. http://www.arkansascivilwar150.com/ (accessed January 17, 2019). “Arkansas in the Civil War.” http://www.lincolnandthecivilwar.com/Activities/Arkansas/Arkansas.asp (accessed January 17, 2019). Brothers in Arms: Civil War Exhibition. Old State House Museum Online Collections. Brothers in Arms Collection (accessed January 17, 2019). Buttry, Virginia A., and Allen W. Jones. “Military Events in Arkansas during the Civil War, 1861–1865.” Arkansas Historical Quarterly 22 (Summer 1963): 124–170. Christ, Mark, ed. Rugged and Sublime: The Civil War in Arkansas. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 1994. ———. “The Earth Reeled and Trees Trembled”: Civil War Arkansas, 1863–1864. Little Rock: Old State House Museum, 2007. Civil War Collection. Old State House Museum Online Collections. Civil War Collection (accessed January 17, 2019). DeBlack, Thomas A. …

Clarendon Expedition (August 4–17, 1862)

The Clarendon Expedition of August 4–17, 1862, resulted in the Union’s capture of the city of Clarendon (Monroe County). Subsequently, Clarendon’s location as a port on the White River served as a component of the Union’s river campaign that led to the fall of Little Rock (Pulaski County), and Clarendon served as an important troop and supply line to Federal forces in Arkansas. Brigadier General Alvin P. Hovey had been placed in charge of an expedition to operate along the Arkansas River in preparation for the upcoming campaign to capture Arkansas’s capital, Little Rock. He was commanded by Brigadier General Frederick Steele to take the Fourth Division of the Army of the Southwest from Helena (Phillips County) to Clarendon. Before …

Clarendon Expedition (October 16–17, 1864)

In the early fall of 1864, a combined Union cavalry and infantry force embarked upon a mission into eastern Arkansas near Clarendon (Monroe County) in an attempt to gather military intelligence and to limit Confederate guerrilla operations against Union vessels on the White River and tributaries. Included in these troublesome operations were those conducted by unidentified guerrilla bands and regular Confederate forces under the command of General Joseph Shelby. At approximately 1:00 a.m. on October 16, a force consisting of fifty troopers of the Eleventh Missouri Cavalry Volunteers and fifty soldiers of the Twelfth Michigan Infantry—both under the command of Captain Albert B. Kauffman—boarded the steamer Celeste at DeValls Bluff (Prairie County). The steamer made its way down the White …

Clarendon, Skirmish at (June 26, 1864)

Early on the morning of June 24, 1864, a Confederate cavalry brigade under the command of Brigadier General Joseph Shelby attacked and captured the USS Queen City while it was docked at Clarendon (Monroe County). After stripping the ship of weapons, the Confederates set it afire. It drifted down the White River until it exploded. Three additional Federal ships soon arrived on the scene and engaged the Confederates on the riverbank, eventually forcing them to retreat from the town. The Confederates returned to the town the next day but were once again driven away by fire from the Union ships. A hastily organized expedition under the command of Brigadier General Eugene A. Carr departed from DeValls Bluff (Prairie County) on June …

Clark, Alida Clawson

Alida Clawson Clark, an Indiana Quaker who co-founded Southland College, arrived in Arkansas with her husband, Calvin, in April 1864 on a wartime mission to provide material and spiritual comfort to former slaves while war raged in the rest of the state. After supervising a temporary orphanage and school for black children in Union-occupied Helena (Phillips County), the Clarks moved their charges and school to a rural site near Helena, establishing what became Southland College (later Southland Institute), the first academy of higher education for African Americans west of the Mississippi River. She also founded Southland Monthly Meeting, the first predominantly black Friends Meeting for Worship in more than two centuries of Quaker history. Alida Clawson was born February 9, …

Clark, Calvin

Calvin Clark was a prominent Quaker leader and educator in post–Civil War Arkansas. With his wife, Alida Clark, he founded Southland College in Helena (Phillips County), the first institution of higher education for African Americans west of the Mississippi River. Calvin Clark was born in Wayne County, Indiana, on July 21, 1820, one of five children born to John Clark and Anna Price Clark. Clark received his early education in the local schools of Wayne and Morgan counties in Indiana. His mother died when he was about twelve; his father, who remarried, died when Clark was fifteen. Clark went to live with his uncle in Monrovia, and after getting additional formal schooling, at age eighteen, he began teaching in Richmond, …

Clarksville, Affair at

As Federal outposts were created across the state throughout the Civil War, Union commanders had to patrol the surrounding areas constantly in order to ensure that enemy forces were unable to gather enough strength to launch attacks. These patrols also helped keep local citizens safe but could lead to bloody fighting when guerrillas were discovered. In the spring of 1864, Clarksville (Johnson County) was in Federal hands, and five companies from the Second Arkansas Infantry (US) guarded the town and surrounding area. Commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Gideon M. Waugh, the troops worked to keep lines of communication between Fort Smith (Sebastian County) and Little Rock (Pulaski County) open. On March 15, 1864, Waugh received orders from Little Rock to make …

Clarksville, Skirmishes at

  Clarksville (Johnson County), located on the north side of the Arkansas River, was a prosperous town on the military road that ran from Little Rock (Pulaski County) to Fort Gibson in Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma), as well as a major stage coach route. In addition, Spadra Bluffs, just three miles south of Clarksville, was a major river port. It was critical to keep the river and the military road open so the supplies and troops could be moved easily. Keeping control of both the river and the military road was of prime importance to both the Union and Confederate armies. On September 25, 1864, Major Thomas Derry of the Third Wisconsin Cavalry led a Federal expedition of 385 men starting …

Clayton, John Middleton

John Middleton Clayton was a Union officer, Reconstruction official, county sheriff, and Republican Party activist. His life in Arkansas illustrates the contentious politics in the state and the South of this time, and his politically inspired murder in 1889 may have made him more famous in death than in life. John Clayton and his twin brother, William, were born on October 13, 1840, on a farm near Chester, Pennsylvania, the son of Ann Glover and John Clayton, an orchard-keeper and carpenter. The couple had ten children, six of whom died in infancy. Clayton married a woman named Sarah Ann, and the couple had six children. During the Civil War, Clayton served in the Army of the Potomac and was engaged …

Clayton, Powell

Powell Clayton, a Union general who settled in Arkansas following the Civil War, played a prominent role as a Republican politician in the Reconstruction that followed that conflict. He became the first governor after the state’s readmission in the Union and pursued social, economic, and political policies typical of Republican regimes elsewhere in the South. He subsequently became an important figure in that party’s national politics until the time of his death. Clayton was born in Bethel Township, Pennsylvania, on August 7, 1833, to John Clayton, a carpenter who kept an orchard, and Ann Clarke Clayton. Clayton attended local public schools and the Partridge Military Academy in Bristol, Pennsylvania. As a young adult, he studied civil engineering in Wilmington, Delaware, …

Cleburne, Patrick Ronayne

Patrick Ronayne Cleburne became the highest-ranking Irish-born officer in American military history, attaining the rank of major general. He entered the Civil War as commander of the Yell Rifles, which became part of the First Arkansas Volunteer Infantry Regiment. He became a drugstore owner and lawyer in his new Arkansas hometown of Helena (Phillips County) and was a delegate to the Democratic Convention in 1858. Pat Cleburne was born in Ovens, County Cork, Ireland, on March 16, 1828, at Bride Park Cottage to Joseph Cleburne, a doctor, and Mary Anne Ronayne Cleburne. He was the third child and second son of a Protestant, middle-class family that included children Anne, William, and Joseph. His mother died when Cleburne was eighteen months …

Cohn, Mathias Abraham

Mathias Abraham Cohn was a businessman, newspaperman, educator, elected official, and lawyer who immigrated to America from Germany. Moving to Arkansas in 1868, Cohn became a leader in the Jewish community of Little Rock (Pulaski County). The son of Abraham and Doris Cohn, Mathias Abraham Cohn was born on May 29, 1824, in Hildesheim, Germany, and was educated in the schools near Bremen, where he also received private instruction in English. He came to the United States prior to 1849, moving to Cincinnati, Ohio. On March 14, 1848, in Cincinnati, he married Theresa Kobner, a native of Odense, Denmark, whom he had met in Hamburg, Germany, and who had arrived in the United States on July 30, 1847; they had …

Commercial [Steamboat]

As part of the Union’s Mississippi River Squadron, the steamer Commercial served as an auxiliary vessel on the Mississippi River and its tributaries, including expeditions on the White River during the ongoing battle for control of significant interior rivers in the Trans-Mississippi Department during the Civil War. Specific details about its construction and acquisition by Union forces are not known, but the Commercial displaced between 295 and 500 tons and may have served at Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee, after the Battle of Shiloh in April 1862 and regularly served under charter on the western rivers. Between March and May 1863, the Commercial served in conjunction with the steamer Tycoon transporting refugees from Memphis, Tennessee, to Cairo, Illinois, and St. Louis, Missouri. …

Compere, Ebenezer Lee (E. L.)

Ebenezer Lee (E. L.) Compere was the son of pioneer Baptist missionary Lee Compere, who came to Arkansas between 1850 and 1860 because E. L. and brother Thomas H. pastored Baptist churches in western Arkansas. The elder Compere had previously been a missionary in the Creek Nation, having come from England to Jamaica and then the United States with wife Susannah Voysey Compere to do missionary work. E. L. Compere was born on February 6, 1833, near Montgomery, Alabama, shortly before his family moved from Alabama to Mississippi. On July 23, 1849, he was baptized at Montaches Creek Baptist Church in Itawamba County, Mississippi, and in 1852 was called to preach. From 1852 to 1857, Compere was educated at Mercer …

Confederate Battle Flags

Confederate battle flags were carried by soldiers to represent the Confederate States of America during the Civil War. Many of those flags possessed unique designs incorporating regimental designation numbers. There were basically five pattern types: the Stars and Bars, the Second National, the St. Andrew’s Cross, the Hardee design, and the Van Dorn design. The Stars and BarsThe Stars and Bars, known as the First National Flag of the Confederacy, consisted of a blue canton in the upper left staff corner with a circle of seven through thirteen white stars, representing each Confederate state. The canton bordered two horizontal red bars separated by a white bar. Among the several Arkansas regiments that used this pattern were the Sixth Regiment Arkansas …

Confederate State Capitol Building (Hempstead County)

aka: Hempstead County Courthouse of 1836
The 1836 Hempstead County Courthouse located in Washington (Hempstead County) was used as the Confederate State Capitol after Little Rock (Pulaski County) fell to Union forces in 1863. Today, it is one of the attractions of Historic Washington State Park. In 1824, Washington was designated the county seat of Hempstead County; the seat had previously been located in the northeastern part of the county. By 1835, local officials recognized the need for a new county courthouse. The circuit court had previously met in a one-room building built by Tilman L. Patterson, who also supervised the construction of the new two-story courthouse. It was built in 1836 for $1,850. Between the time of its construction and the advent of the Civil …

Connelly, Mary

Mary Connelly was an early educator in southern Arkansas. Operating a school first in Camden (Ouachita County) and later in Arkadelphia (Clark County), she helped establish the latter city’s reputation as an educational center. Mary Connelly was born to the Reverend Henry Connelly and Jane Johnson Connelly in Newburgh, New York; her exact date of birth is unknown. The oldest of eleven children, she graduated from the Presbyterian-affiliated Washington Female Seminary in Washington, Pennsylvania, in 1855. Connelly worked in Camden during the Civil War as a teacher. At the outbreak of the war, she was teaching at a private school in the town and was unable to secure transportation home to New York. She remained in Camden for the duration …