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

Fagan, James Fleming

James Fleming Fagan was a politician and United States marshal from Little Rock (Pulaski County) who is best remembered for his service as a Confederate general. Fagan’s service to the Confederacy includes leading Arkansas troops at the Battle of Shiloh, the Battle of Helena, and the Action at Marks’ Mills. Born in Clark County, Kentucky, on March 1, 1828, James Fagan was the older of two sons of Steven and Catherine Fagan. The family moved to Little Rock in 1838, where Fagan’s father worked as a plasterer during the construction of the Old State House before his death in 1840. Two years later, his mother married Samuel Adams, who was a former state representative, current state senator, and future state …

Fairview Cemetery—Confederate Section

The Confederate Section of Fairview Cemetery, near the junction of 10th and McKibben streets in Van Buren (Crawford County), is the burial site of Confederate soldiers who died in the area during the Civil War. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on December 6, 1996. After the Civil War began in 1861, the City of Van Buren donated a plot of land in the ten-acre city cemetery that John Drennen had donated as a burial ground in 1846. At least 100 Confederate soldiers, most of whom died of disease, were buried at the site during the war, and the remains of others were moved there from battlefield graves after the war ended. Ultimately, around 460 soldiers …

Fairview, Skirmish at

  On June 7, 1862, as part of a force under the command of Brigadier General Eugene A. Carr, Captain David R. Sparks led Company L of the Third Illinois Cavalry (US). They were ambushed and caught in a skirmish fourteen miles outside Fairview (White County). Prior to the skirmish, Gen. Carr’s forces had foraged around the Little Red and White rivers. They faced several problems, including losing three wagons from the Third Illinois Cavalry. Carr determined that, in its current condition, his force could not attack Little Rock (Pulaski County), so they remained near the two rivers and waited for word for the next mission. Capt. Sparks commented that the Confederate forces numbered 200 to 350 cavalrymen and some infantry, …

Farr’s Mill, Skirmish at

On July 4, 1864, the Fourth Arkansas Cavalry (US) was ordered on a scouting expedition to Caddo Gap (Montgomery County). About 250 men of the Fourth Arkansas set out on July 5 and almost immediately began skirmishing with Confederate irregulars. They proceeded to Farr’s Mill near the confluence of Gulpha Creek and the Ouachita River near Hot Springs (Garland County) and camped on July 8. A detachment of Union troops proceeded into Hot Springs the next day, chasing a band of Confederates through town. About 100 Confederates in Cook’s and Crawford’s bands of irregulars then attacked the camp at Farr’s Mill, where a fierce Federal counterattack drove them off. The Confederates lost four dead and six wounded, while the Fourth …

Fayetteville and Cane Hill, Skirmish between (November 9, 1862)

aka: Skirmish at Cane Hill (November 9, 1862)
aka: Skirmish at Fayetteville (November 9, 1862)
The Skirmish between Fayetteville (Washington County) and Cane Hill (Washington County) occurred on November 9, 1862, when General James Gilpatrick Blunt ordered Colonel William F. Cloud, Second Kansas Cavalry, to take a large reconnaissance force south and locate scattered Confederate picket and troop positions. Left to watch aggressive Confederate movements in northwest Arkansas, after numerous encounters with Southern troops in October, Gen. Blunt kept his cavalry constantly moving. The Second and Third divisions of the Army of the Frontier returned to camps near Springfield, Missouri, after the October skirmishing. Alone in the field with the First Division, Blunt served as the forward observation post of the Army of the Frontier. On November 7, from his position at Camp Bowen in …

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 …

Fayetteville, Action at (April 18, 1863)

The indecisive Action at Fayetteville on April 18, 1863, symbolized the Civil War in Arkansas as well as any other event in the state. The Confederates failed to achieve their goal of driving the Union forces out of Fayetteville (Washington County) and northwest Arkansas; however, it was only a few days after the battle that Federal authorities ordered the abandonment of the Fayetteville post. Confederate Brigadier General William L. Cabell’s cavalry brigade included the men of Colonel Charles A. Carroll’s Arkansas Cavalry and Colonel James C. Monroe’s Arkansas Cavalry, along with some Texas and Missouri troops. In opposition were Colonel Marcus LaRue Harrison’s First Arkansas Cavalry and Colonel James M. Johnson’s First Arkansas Infantry. Cabell’s Confederate cavalry command of about …

Fayetteville, Action near (July 15, 1862)

Part of a Federal expedition from Missouri into northwestern Arkansas, this action is just one of many fought near Fayetteville (Washington County). In July 1862, Union forces in Missouri received word that Confederates were massing near Fayetteville. Brigadier General Egbert Brown ordered      troops at Cassville to move into Arkansas and destroy the enemy units. In order to achieve complete surprise, Brown ordered that the Federals arrest everyone they encountered on the road to Arkansas and to move at night in order to launch an early morning attack on the Confederates. Commanded by Major William Miller of the Second Wisconsin Cavalry, the Federal force consisted of detachments from the Second Wisconsin, the Third Missouri State Militia, and the Tenth Illinois …

Fayetteville, Affair at

One of a series of hit-and-run actions across the state in 1864, this brief Civil War engagement demonstrates how Confederate forces could continue to engage Federal units with little fear of reprisal. The number of horses and mules required by armies during the Civil War necessitated enormous amounts of forage and supplies to care for these animals. As Union outposts in the state exhausted the available food near their camps, the Federal troops were forced to move farther away from their base of safety in order to ensure a continual supply of food. These small, isolated groups of men and animals made tempting targets for Confederate forces. On June 24, 1864, Colonel Marcus LaRue Harrison of the First Arkansas Cavalry …

Fayetteville, Occupation of (February 23–26, 1862)

  Following the Battle of Wilson’s Creek, Missouri, on August 10, 1861, the Southern troops began to stream into Arkansas. The Arkansas state troops were disbanded and were then recruited for service in the Confederate army, and rallying and enlistment began again in Fayetteville (Washington County). During the last few months of 1861, numerous companies were organized in and around Fayetteville. During the months after its defeat at Wilson’s Creek, the Union army rebuilt its strength. Early in February 1862, the Union army began to move into northwestern Arkansas. The Confederate forces withdrew southwardly as the Union advanced. The Confederate forces under General Benjamin McCulloch had accumulated abundant supplies in Fayetteville. McCulloch determined that not all the supplies could be …

Fayetteville, Operations around (October 25–November 4, 1864)

  Fayetteville (Washington County) was under Union control from September 1863 to the end of the Civil War. The First Arkansas Cavalry under the command of Colonel Marcus LaRue Harrison was stationed at Fayetteville with orders to patrol and establish order in northwestern Arkansas. The area the troops oversaw covered several counties from the Missouri line to the Arkansas River. Troops kept communications open by maintaining the telegraph line (which was frequently cut) from Van Buren (Crawford County) to Cassville, Missouri. They also escorted supply, subsistence, and mail trains between Cassville, Fayetteville, and Van Buren, and tried to keep the area free of Confederate troops and roaming guerrilla bands. The problems with guerrilla bands occupied much of their time, as the bands frequently …

Fayetteville, Skirmish at (August 23, 1863)

With both Confederate and Federal units operating in northwestern Arkansas during this period, fighting was often haphazard as towns changed hands multiple times. This skirmish is an example of how confusing the war could be. Lieutenant Edgar Barker of the Second Kansas Cavalry received orders to lead a detachment of twenty men to guard a wagon train near Springfield, Missouri. Upon returning to that city, Barker found that his regiment had marched south in Arkansas, so he led his detachment in pursuit of the remainder of the unit. Departing Springfield on August 14, Barker’s men moved southward to Cassville, Missouri, arriving on August 16. The Federals remained at Cassville until August 19, when they crossed into Arkansas heading toward Bentonville …

Ferry Landing, Skirmish at

aka: Skirmish at Ashley's Mills
Part of Federal efforts to capture Little Rock (Pulaski County), this engagement opened an avenue for Union forces to cross the Arkansas River to the east of the city. Confederate cavalry forces were pushed across the river to the west bank, where they remained for the remainder of the campaign. Brigadier General John Davidson commanded the cavalry division in Major General Frederick Steele’s Federal army as it approached Little Rock from Helena (Phillips County). Confederate cavalry guarded the approaches that the Federals were likely to take. Due to the death of Brigadier General Lucius Walker, Colonel Archibald Dobbins was commanding the Confederate cavalry division tasked with watching the area near Ashley’s Mills. Stretched thin, Dobbins’s command could place only the …

Fifteenth (Johnson’s) Arkansas Infantry (CS)

The Fifteenth (Johnson’s) Arkansas Infantry Regiment was a Confederate unit that served in the Western and Trans-Mississippi Theaters during the American Civil War. Organized in January 1862 of six companies, it was composed primarily of men from Columbia, Ouachita, Union, and Lafayette counties. The original command staff consisted of Colonel James M. Gee, Lieutenant Colonel John C. Wright, and Major P. Lynch Lee. The unit was originally organized by Captain John L. Logan of the Eleventh Arkansas Infantry, and Gee was elected colonel in January 1862. The regiment was ordered to Memphis, Tennessee, and soon afterward to Fort Henry on the Tennessee River. In February 1862, the Union army began its assault on Fort Henry, and the Fifteenth Arkansas retreated …

Fifteenth (Josey’s) Arkansas Infantry (CS)

The Fifteenth Arkansas Infantry Regiment was a Confederate unit that served in the Western Theater during the American Civil War. Not to be confused with the Fifteenth (Northwest) or Fifteenth (Johnson’s), it fought with the Army of Tennessee in all its major engagements until surrender at Greensboro, North Carolina, on April 26, 1865. The regiment was organized on May 14, 1861, as the First Regiment Arkansas State Troops, consisting of companies from Phillips, Monroe, Jefferson, Desha, Mississippi, and Prairie counties. Its first commander was Colonel Patrick R. Cleburne, an Irish immigrant from Helena (Phillips County). On July 23, 1861, the regiment was enrolled in Confederate service as the First Arkansas Infantry at Pittman’s Ferry, Arkansas. Due to there being another …

Fifth Arkansas Infantry (CS)

The Fifth Arkansas Infantry was a regiment that served in the Confederate army during the Civil War. Spending most of its service in the Western Theater, the regiment served for the duration of the war. After Arkansas seceded from the Union on May 6, 1861, a number of military units began to form. Companies organized in communities around the state and moved to a number of centralized locations to create regiments. Ten companies from across Arkansas organized into the Fifth Arkansas Infantry at Gainesville (Greene County) on June 28, 1861. The companies were from Poinsett, Bradley, Greene, and Prairie counties. Two companies were organized in Wittsburg (Cross County), which became the seat of Cross County when it was formed in …

Fifty-seventh Regiment, United States Colored Troops (US)

aka: Fourth Arkansas Infantry (African Descent)
The Fifty-seventh regiment of United States Colored Infantry began its service as the Fourth Arkansas Infantry (African Descent). Recruited and organized at DeValls Bluff (Prairie County), Little Rock (Pulaski County), and Helena (Phillips County), the regiment mustered into Federal service on December 2, 1863, and served with the Seventh Corps in the Department of Arkansas. Thomas D. Seawell received a commission as the regiment’s colonel on August 10, 1863, after previous service throughout Mississippi as captain of Company E in the Tenth Missouri Infantry. He served until the end of May 1864 and received a brevet promotion to brigadier general on March 13, 1865. The Bureau of Colored Troops, commonly known as the United States Colored Troops (USCT), was organized …

First (Crawford’s) Arkansas Cavalry (CS)

aka: Tenth Trans-Mississippi Cavalry
The First (Crawford’s) Arkansas Cavalry Regiment was a Confederate cavalry unit that served in the Trans-Mississippi Theater during the American Civil War. Also designated as the Tenth Trans-Mississippi Cavalry, it is one of three regiments to be designated First Arkansas Cavalry. Participating in military engagements in Arkansas at Mount Elba, Longview Prairie (Easling’s Farm), Poison Spring, and Marks’ Mills, as well as Price’s Missouri Raid, it was stationed in Texas when Confederate forces in the Trans-Mississippi Theater surrendered on May 26, 1865. The regiment was organized at Camden (Ouachita County) on December 30, 1863, by Colonel William A. Crawford of Saline County. It consisted of ten companies from Clark, Columbia, Ouachita, Lafayette, Saline, and Union counties, with two companies added …

First Arkansas Infantry (US)

The First Arkansas Infantry Volunteers (US) was recruited and organized in Fayetteville (Washington County) by Dr. James M. Johnson of Huntsville (Madison County) following the Battle of Prairie Grove. Johnson and his brother were associates of noted loyalist Isaac Murphy, who later became governor of Arkansas. The unit consisted of unionists from Washington County and other northwestern Arkansas counties including Madison, Newton, Benton, Searcy, and Crawford. The unit was mustered in on March 25, 1863, with thirty-six officers and 810 enlisted men. An April 1 report from Colonel M. LaRue Harrison of the First Arkansas Cavalry makes clear the condition of the first recruits: “The First Arkansas Infantry will number in a few days an aggregate of 830 men; probably 700 of them effective. …

First Arkansas Light Artillery (CS)

The First Arkansas Light Artillery was a militia battery mustered on September 27, 1860, at Fort Smith (Sebastian County) as part of the Provisional Army of Arkansas. The volunteer unit was first commanded by Captain J. G. Reid under the designation of the Fort Smith Artillery. The battery first marched north alongside units under Brigadier General Nicholas Bartlett Pearce to join secessionist forces in southwestern Missouri, before being mustered in as part of the Confederate army. On August 10, 1861, after combining with a large but poorly organized rebel force of Missouri State Guard troops under General Sterling Price, they were attacked by Federal forces at Wilson’s Creek near Springfield, Missouri. During the resulting Battle of Wilson’s Creek, the battery held …

First Arkansas Light Artillery Battery (US)

The First Arkansas Light Artillery Battery was a military unit organized from Arkansas Unionists during the Civil War. The battery served in Arkansas, Missouri, and the Indian Territory. The battery was the first artillery unit raised by Federal forces in the state. Denton Stark, the adjutant of the First Arkansas Cavalry, received permission to raise the unit in January 1863. Recruiting began immediately, and men from Benton, Washington, Madison, Crawford, Sebastian, Franklin, Johnson, and Sevier counties joined the battery. It reached full strength of 110 men by April 1 and began active service in Fayetteville (Washington County). Stark became the first commander of the battery. Although the battery was an artillery unit, it was not armed at this time and …

First Arkansas Union Cavalry (US)

Although Arkansas joined the Confederacy in 1861, not all of its citizens were committed to the new nation. Support for the Federal government remained strong in the northwest corner of the state, and many Arkansans were eager to defend the Union. Although the Unionists were a minority in the state, Arkansas still furnished approximately 10,000 men for the Northern armies. Those men filled the ranks of ten infantry regiments or battalions, four cavalry regiments, and two artillery batteries. Of these, the First Arkansas Cavalry became the most famous Union regiment raised from the state. After being mustered into service at Springfield, Missouri, in July 1862, the regiment returned to Arkansas and operated as a counter-guerrilla force. Roaming bands of Confederate sympathizers often harassed …

First Arkansas Volunteer Infantry Regiment (African Descent) (US)

aka: Forty-sixth Regiment U.S. Colored Troops
In April 1863, an organization of African-American troops was commenced in the Mississippi River Valley under the personal supervision of the adjutant-general of the army, Lorenzo Thomas. His first regiment was mustered into service on May 1, 1863, as the First Arkansas Volunteers of African Descent, designated the Forty-sixth Regiment U.S. Colored Troops on May 11, 1864. The First Arkansas would be one of four regiments of African Americans that was raised in Helena (Phillips County), a fortified city and naval port on the Mississippi River. Arkansas would be credited with 5,526 men in six regiments of African descent for Federal service. Allowing African-American men to serve was due in part to the Emancipation Proclamation and the Militia Act of …

First Arkansas Volunteer Infantry Regiment (CS)

As secession loomed in the spring of 1861, thousands of Arkansas men enrolled in volunteer companies and offered their services to the Confederacy. Ten such companies—raised in Union, Clark, Ouachita, Jefferson, Saline, Jackson, Arkansas, and Drew counties—were organized as the First Arkansas Volunteer Infantry Regiment and were transferred to Lynchburg, Virginia. After Arkansas seceded from the Union on May 6, 1861, the 905 men in the First Arkansas mustered into service on May 19. James Fleming Fagan, the captain of the Saline County Volunteers, was elected to serve as colonel of the regiment. The First Arkansas was present but did not see action at the First Battle of Manassas on July 21, 1861. The regiment remained in Virginia through the …

Fitzhugh’s Woods, Action at

The Action of Fitzhugh’s Woods was a Civil War action fought on April 1, 1864, as Union forces ventured from Little Rock (Pulaski County) to Woodruff County in an attempt to stop Confederate recruitment efforts and disrupt Rebel attempts to attack Federal targets. As Major General Frederick Steele led a Yankee army into south Arkansas in March 1864 on what became known as the Camden Expedition, Confederate Brigadier General Dandridge McRae was recruiting troops in the area between the White and Mississippi rivers. Aided by forty-six commissioned officers who were left without commands because of the flood of Confederate desertions that followed the fall of Little Rock in September 1863, McRae sought to bring the former soldiers back into the Rebel …

Flanagin, Harris

Harris Flanagin, the seventh governor of Arkansas, had his four-year term cut short when he surrendered Arkansas’s Confederate government following the surrender of the Trans-Mississippi Department at the end of the Civil War. After the fall of Little Rock (Pulaski County) in 1863, he reconvened the Confederate state government in Washington (Hempstead County), thus becoming Arkansas’s only governor to head a government in exile. Harris Flanagin was born on November 3, 1817, in Roadstown, New Jersey, to James Flanagin, a cabinetmaker and merchant who had emigrated from Ireland in 1765, and Mary Harris. No records indicate his middle name, and little is known about his early life. Flanagin was educated in a Society of Friends (Quaker) school and became a …

Floyd, John Buchanan

John Buchanan Floyd was the governor of Virginia, secretary of war, a brigadier general in the Confederate army, and a lawyer and planter who lived in Arkansas for a period. John Buchanan Floyd was born on the Smithfield Plantation, outside Blacksburg, Virginia, on June 1, 1806. His father, John Floyd, served in the House of Representatives and as the governor of Virginia. His mother, Letitia Preston Floyd, came from a prominent Virginia family. Floyd was the oldest of twelve children. Floyd attended South Carolina College and opened a law practice in Abington, Virginia, in 1829. The next year, he married Sarah Buchanan Preston. The two adopted a daughter. In 1834, Floyd and a brother moved to Arkansas, purchasing a cotton …

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 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, …

Fort Smith Conference (1865)

As a diplomatic assembly of Native American delegates and U.S. government officials, the Fort Smith Conference of 1865 was designed to reestablish relations between the federal government and Native American tribes of Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma) who had allied themselves with the Confederacy during the Civil War. Talks, which stretched from September 8 to September 23, 1865, informed tribal delegates that all pre-war treaty rights were forfeited upon taking up arms against the Union and that new treaties with the United States had to be negotiated. The Fort Smith Conference ultimately failed to achieve new treaties, as Native American delegates refused to consent to strict treaty stipulations and because factional squabbling between loyalist and secessionist Native Americans hampered negotiations. At …

Fort Smith Expedition (November 5–16, 1864)

In late 1864, the Confederate Trans-Mississippi Department launched a final offensive into Missouri in an attempt to gather recruits and influence the upcoming U.S. presidential election by turning public opinion against Abraham Lincoln and the continuation of the Civil War. The Confederate forces under the command of Major General Sterling Price involved in this campaign were defeated at almost every turn and eventually retreated in confusion through Kansas and the Indian Territory in an effort to return to Arkansas. This Union expedition was tasked with gathering intelligence and finding any remnants of Gen. Price’s forces. On November 5, 1864, Brigadier General John B. Sanborn ordered Major James A. Melton of the Second Arkansas Cavalry (US) to move from Cassville, Missouri, …

Fort Smith Expedition (November 5–23, 1864)

After the Camden Expedition in the spring of 1864, Confederate fortunes in Arkansas began to falter, and Confederates could no longer mount large-scale offensives to drive Federal troops out of the state. Union outposts were scattered throughout northern and central Arkansas, and much of the fighting that did take place was between Federal forces and irregular units. This expedition originated as a supply column and scouting party, but the Federal forces also participated in several engagements with Confederate troops who were retreating after Major General Sterling Price’s unsuccessful Missouri Raid. Federal units in Arkansas and Missouri searched for any sign of the enemy as Confederates under Maj. Gen. Price’s command continued to retreat southward after suffering multiple defeats during their …

Fort Smith Expedition (September 25–October 13, 1864)

By the summer of 1864, the Federal army was well established in a number of posts along the Arkansas and White rivers and along the railroad that linked Argenta—present-day North Little Rock (Pulaski County)—and DeValls Bluff (Prairie County). The large distances that separated many of these posts often made communication difficult for the Federals, due in part to the operations of Confederate cavalry and bands of enemy guerrillas. Major Thomas Derry of the Third Wisconsin Cavalry was ordered to lead a force from Little Rock (Pulaski County) to Fort Smith (Sebastian County)—over 180 miles—to deliver a number of dispatches to Brigadier General John Thayer, commander of the District of the Frontier. A large force was necessary because of the distance …

Fort Smith, Abandonment of

Following the election of 1860, Arkansas and the city of Fort Smith (Sebastian County) began to feel the tension and fear that accompany the threat of war. By February 1861, seven states had officially left the Union. Questions remained as to the allegiance of the remaining southern states and the Native American tribes residing in the Indian Territory. The Choctaw tribe officially sided with the Confederate cause, mainly to reinforce their claim to the 6,000 Choctaw-owned slaves. Other Native American tribes in the Indian Territory followed suit. Fort Smith was surrounded by a sea of turmoil. Political sentiments toward secession formalized during the winter and spring of 1861. Tensions grew even more throughout the region when ordnance stores were seized at Napoleon …

Fort Smith, Action at

Western Arkansas experienced the last years of the Civil War as a series of raids, ambushes, and small-unit actions. The Action at Fort Smith represented something out of the ordinary: an attack on a fortified town by Confederate forces. Following the successful Confederate raid that culminated in the Action at Massard Prairie on July 27, 1864, Brigadier General Douglas H. Cooper sought to test Union defenses at Fort Smith (Sebastian County) with a larger force. This probe would also give Cooper an opportunity to escort pro-Confederate families out of Sebastian County. Assembling the brigades of Brigadier General Stand Watie, Brigadier General Richard Gano, and other units, Cooper arrived in the vicinity of Fort Smith at sunrise on July 31, 1864. …

Fort Smith, Affair at

This short and bloody Civil War engagement outside Fort Smith (Sebastian County) erupted when a foraging party of the Fourteenth Kansas Cavalry was attacked by a number of guerillas. The enemy reportedly consisted of a mixed group of white and Native American troops, leading to claims of barbarism after the fight. While the official records list the engagement as occurring on September 23, the actual skirmish was fought on September 26. A group of the Fourteenth Kansas under the command of Captain Benjamin Franklin Henry set out from Fort Smith to gather needed forage. Moving southward, the group stopped about thirteen miles from the post to gather corn. While the Federals were gathering their supplies, a group of Confederate guerrillas …

Forts Lookout and Southerland

aka: Forts Southerland and Lookout
aka: Fort Diamond
Forts Lookout and Southerland are large earthen redoubts constructed in early 1864 to defend Camden (Ouachita County) from Federal attack during the Civil War. The forts were listed on the National Register of Historic Places on April 19, 1994, and designated as National Historic Landmarks on the same date as components of the Camden Expedition National Historic Landmark. In late 1863, following the September 10 capture of Little Rock (Pulaski County), Lieutenant General Edmund Kirby Smith, Confederate commander of the Trans-Mississippi Department, ordered Lieutenant General Theophilus Holmes to concentrate his forces along the Ouachita River to defend the approaches to Shreveport, Louisiana, against any Union advances to the south. Holmes, in turn, ordered Brigadier General Alexander T. Hawthorn, a prewar …

Fourth Arkansas Cavalry (US)

The Fourth Arkansas Cavalry was a regiment formed by white Arkansans who supported the Federal government during the Civil War. The Fourth Arkansas Cavalry began organizing in Little Rock (Pulaski County) in November 1863. William Fishback led the effort to recruit part of the regiment. Organized in two battalions of six companies each, the first company was mustered into service in December. LaFayette Gregg was commissioned as the colonel of the regiment and commanded it for its entire existence. The first battalion was originally enlisted as a one-year regiment, but this designation was rejected by the War Department. The battalion was disbanded, and recruitment continued as a three-year unit. The first eight companies of the regiment were organized by May …

Fourth Arkansas Infantry (CS)

The Fourth Arkansas Infantry Regiment was a unit of the Confederate army that served in the Western Theater during the Civil War. The unit was organized in Lawrence County, Missouri, on August 17, 1861, from companies that marched from Arkansas to join the army organizing in southwestern Missouri. Known as the Southwestern Arkansas Regiment, the unit consisted of companies from Calhoun, Hempstead, Montgomery, Lafayette, Pike, and Polk counties. Evander McNair of Washington (Hempstead County) was selected to lead the new regiment. The regiment organized with only eight companies, but two more joined the unit in November 1861 to bring the unit to full strength. Measles and other illnesses soon struck the unit, and a number of men died or were …

Fourth Military District

The Fourth Military District was an area under the control of the U.S. Congress during Reconstruction. Consisting of the Department of Arkansas and the Department of Mississippi, the district was created after the passage of the Reconstruction Acts of 1867. At the conclusion of the Civil War, the states that seceded from the Union began a process to reacquire admission. Presidential Reconstruction began during the war while Confederate states were occupied by Federal forces. With the fall of Little Rock (Pulaski County) to Union forces in September 1863, steps began to reestablish a state government loyal to Washington DC. A constitutional convention was held in early 1864, and Isaac Murphy was selected to serve as governor. The influence of the …

Frauenthal, Max

Max Frauenthal, a German immigrant noted for bravery in the Civil War, established an important mercantile business in Conway (Faulkner County). He was later known as the “Father of Heber Springs and Cleburne County.” Max Frauenthal was born on November 11, 1836, in Marienthal, Bavaria, Germany. No definite records of his parents’ or any siblings’ names are available. According to family history, his grandfather was called simply Meyer until the early nineteenth century, when the enactment of the Napoleonic Code required European Jews to take surnames; Meyer took Frauenthal, the name of a town south of Vienna, Austria. Max Frauenthal was fifteen when he came to the United States, eventually settling in Brookhaven, Mississippi. At Summit, Mississippi, he enlisted in …

Freedmen’s Bureau

aka: Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands
Congress established the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands in March 1865 to help four million African Americans in the South make the transition from slavery to freedom and to help destitute white people with food and medical supplies in the dire days at the end of the Civil War. Headed by General Oliver Otis Howard, the Freedmen’s Bureau was supervised in Arkansas by assistant commissioners General John W. Sprague (April 1865–September 1866), General Edward O. C. Ord (October 1866–March 1867), and General Charles H. Smith (March 1867–May 1869). The bureau attempted to help Arkansas’s estimated 110,000 slaves become truly free as the Civil War ended. Seventy-nine local agents (thirty-six civilians and forty-three army officers) labored from 1865 to …

Freedmen’s Schools

Freedmen’s schools in Arkansas were created as early as 1863 in areas occupied by Union forces to provide for the education of newly freed slaves during the Civil War and in the Reconstruction period that followed. These schools were first run by teachers from the American Missionary Association (AMA) and the Quakers—particularly the Indiana Yearly Meeting of Friends. Early schools existed in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), Little Rock (Pulaski County), and Helena (Phillips County), all areas with large populations of freed slaves. The federal government soon became involved in providing education for the freed slaves, and in 1865 the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands (known as the Freedmen’s Bureau) assumed responsibility for educating former slaves. AMA and Quaker …

Frog Bayou Expedition

As Federal forces consolidated power in northwestern Arkansas, efforts were made to find and destroy any remaining Confederate cavalry or guerrilla units operating in the area. This expedition took the Union troops through several counties and combat in two skirmishes. On November 5, 1863, Brigadier General John McNeil ordered Colonel Marcus LaRue Harrison to lead all of his mounted men accompanied by two howitzers in pursuit of a major unit of enemy forces operating in the area. This movement would be supported by another group of Union soldiers moving from Van Buren (Crawford County) in an effort to drive the enemy into Harrison’s men. Departing Fayetteville (Washington County) on the afternoon of November 7, 1863, Harrison led a total of …

Frog Bayou, Skirmish at (March 19, 1863)

With the defeat of Major General Thomas C. Hindman’s army at the Battle of Prairie Grove on December 7, 1862, major Confederate forces were compelled to leave the northwestern corner of the state. Federal forces occupied Fayetteville (Washington County) and used the town as a base of operations to keep any nearby Confederates disorganized. This skirmish was part of this effort. The major unit holding Fayetteville was the First Arkansas Cavalry (US) under the command of Colonel Marcus LaRue Harrison. The colonel sent regular patrols out of the city to determine Confederate intentions and, in mid-March 1863, sent out a small party under the command of Captain John Whiteford. Consisting of only nine men, the group moved south into Crawford …

Furbush, William Hines

William Hines Furbush was an African-American member of the Arkansas General Assembly and the first sheriff of Lee County. His political career began in the Republican Party at the close of Reconstruction and ended in the Democratic Party just as the political disfranchisement of African Americans in the post-Reconstruction era began. William Furbush was born in Carroll County, Kentucky, in 1839 and was often described as a mulatto. Nothing is known of his parentage or childhood, but judging from his literacy and scripted handwriting, he received an early and formal education. Around 1860, Furbush is known to have operated a photography studio in Delaware, Ohio. In March 1862, he traveled to Union-controlled Helena (Phillips County) on the Kate Adams, where …