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

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

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

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

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

Galloway’s Farm, Affair at

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

Gantt, Edward W.

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

Gillam, Isaac Taylor

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

Gillem, Alvan Cullem

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

Gordon, Anderson

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

Govan, Daniel Chevilette

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

Grand Army of the Republic (GAR)

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

Grand Prairie, Skirmish at

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

Gross, Tabbs

Tabbs Gross was a former slave who, as a lawyer and newspaper publisher, played an active role in Arkansas politics during Reconstruction. A political gadfly, he worked hard to secure greater influence within the Republican Party for the newly freed and enfranchised African-American population. Tabbs Gross was born a slave in Kentucky in 1820. Purchasing his freedom prior to the Civil War, he moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he aided slaves using the Underground Railroad, both there and in New England. He also served in Cincinnati’s Black Brigade during the war. After the war, Gross continued his efforts on behalf of the former slaves, serving as the head of a local “Committee to Get Homes for Refugees.” He soon decided …