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

Kaskaskia

The Kaskaskia was a small steamboat used by Confederate forces on Arkansas waters until its 1863 capture by Union troops during the Little Rock Campaign. The Kaskaskia was a forty-nine-ton sidewheel steamboat built in 1859 at Cincinnati, Ohio, and initially operated on the Ohio River out of Evansville, Indiana. After the Civil War began, the vessel was employed by the Confederacy, and by the summer of 1863, it was serving as a troop transport and towboat on the White and Little Red rivers in Arkansas. Following the July 4, 1863, Battle of Helena, the Kaskaskia was sent to Clarendon (Monroe County) to remove supplies from there in the event that Federal forces moved against Little Rock (Pulaski County), and then …

Kate Hart

As part of the Union’s Mississippi River Squadron during the Civil War, the sternwheel steamer Kate Hart served as a chartered 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. Built in 1864 in Paducah, Kentucky, the Kate Hart displaced between 279 and 300 tons of water and joined the Mississippi River Squadron in the summer of 1864, serving with two barges. Erroneous reports claimed that the Kate Hart burned in July 1864 during an operation on the White River under Brigadier General Eugene Asa Carr against Brigadier General John Sappington Marmaduke, but the vessel served until the end of the …

Kendal’s Grist Mill, Affair at

Part of a Union expedition to disrupt Confederate operations in eastern Arkansas, this action helped deny Confederate forces needed food and other supplies. In late August 1864, Colonel John Hudson of the Sixtieth U.S. Colored Infantry received orders to lead an expedition of troops against suspected enemy concentrations along the White River. Hudson created a force of approximately 500 men, including detachments from his regiment as well as troops from the Fifteenth Illinois Cavalry, Fifty-sixth U.S. Colored Troops, and Second U.S. Colored Light Artillery. The planned route took the troops down the Mississippi River to the White River before marching back to Helena (Phillips County). Aboard the steamers Dove and Hamilton Bell, the expedition departed Helena at 8:00 p.m. on …

Kennedy, James (Lynching of)

James Kennedy was a white man lynched in Dallas County in 1866, apparently for his open Unionist leanings. His murder shows the risks that many people who had allied with the Union during the Civil War faced in parts of Arkansas in the immediate postwar period, when pro-Confederate vigilantes perpetrated with impunity a number of assassinations and attacks under the guise of lawfulness. The August 3, 1866, lynching of forty-four-year-old James Kennedy and other men made news in the August 10, 1866, Little Rock Daily Gazette (under which name the Arkansas Gazette then operated) as follows: “We learn from a reliable source that on Wednesday night last a party of ten or twelve men went to the residence of James …

Kennedy, John

John Kennedy was a Union artilleryman who won a Medal of Honor for gallantry in the 1864 Battle of Trevilian Station in Virginia. He spent the last part of his life in Arkansas and is buried in Oakland and Fraternal Cemetery in Little Rock (Pulaski County). John Kennedy was born on May 14, 1834, in County Cavan, Ireland. Immigrating to the United States, he enlisted in the Second U.S. Artillery, Battery M, on December 16, 1857, at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, committing to a five-year term of service. Kennedy had served during the 1858 Utah Expedition before the Civil War began and was involved in many actions with Battery M in the Eastern Theater during the Civil War. Kennedy and the Second …

Kickapoo Bottom, Skirmish at

aka: Skirmish at Sylamore (May 29, 1862)
During the Civil War, present-day Stone County was part of Izard County. The county seat was at Mount Olive five miles upriver from Sylamore, present-day Allison (Stone County), on the west side of the river. (Due to the rail station established on the east side of the White River in 1902, the name Sylamore was usurped by the east side, and the western community was rechristened Allison.) The first military encounter in the area occurred here on May 29 and 30, 1862, at a place called Kickapoo Bottoms (or Kickapoo Bottom), today known as Harris Bottoms, three miles north of present-day Allison. An “‘uprising” at Sylamore followed the November 1861 Izard County Investigative Committee’s arrest, detainment, hanging, shooting, and forced …

King’s River, Skirmish at

One of a number of skirmishes fought in northwestern Arkansas in April 1864, this engagement was part of an effort by Federal forces to disrupt Confederate operations. Major James Melton received orders to lead 200 men of the Second Arkansas Cavalry (US) on a mission to find and defeat Confederate forces under the command of Colonels Bailey and Sissell (first names unknown). Separating from the regiment on April 15, 1864, the Union troops found and engaged the enemy on April 17 at Limestone Valley. The Confederates fled, but not before suffering casualties and losing armaments and other equipment. Melton continued his pursuit of the enemy force, reengaging the Confederates on April 19 on the King’s River. Moving against the enemy, …

Kingston, Skirmishes at

Only two Civil War skirmishes are known to have occurred near Kingston (Madison County). One of the best-known area skirmishes occurred when a detachment of the First Iowa Cavalry captured and destroyed a saltpeter works southeast of Kingston on January 10, 1863. (Saltpeter is a major component of gunpowder.) Information about the operation of these works reached General Francis J. Herron in early 1863, and he was determined to destroy the works at once, thus depriving the Confederacy of the means of obtaining powder for its troops that were so near his lines. He ordered Major J. W. Caldwell of the First Iowa Cavalry, then encamped at Huntsville (Madison County), to take 300 men of his regiment and proceed to …

Klepper’s Sawmill, Skirmish at

aka: Skirmish at Clapper's Sawmill
In early 1863, Confederate general John Sappington Marmaduke moved his forces out of Lewisburg (Conway County) to attack Springfield, Missouri. This action caused Union general Francis J. Herron to move to reinforce Springfield and defend against the Confederate forces. After the battle, the Federals retained control of the town, and Confederate forces filtered back down into Arkansas. General Herron sent Colonel William Weer to disrupt the Confederate forces in the Crooked Creek valley, forces which were concentrated between Carrollton (Carroll County) and Yellville (Marion County). Confederate captain E. G. Mitchell was also in the area recruiting. On March 31, 1863, Confederates under one Colonel Woodson and Colonel John F. Hill of W. H. Brooks’s command were in camp when attacked …

Knight’s Cove, Skirmish at

  In the absence of Colonel Thomas Freeman (CS), who had been captured at the Battle of Pea Ridge, a somewhat disorganized band was left in charge of protecting the Confederate munitions efforts in the White River valley under the direction of William Chitwood. On May 11, 1862, ferry owner Charles Grigsby and Chitwood, the husband of Grigsby’s cousin, Sarah Fulks, had rigged the ferry, a vital means of crossing the White River, with explosives mimicking a snag in the water, thus sinking the Grigsby Ferry and killing eleven Union soldiers, including Captain Thomas McClelland. “The Union army has very little options in crossing the White River,” General Samuel Curtis wrote in his report. The Union officially deemed it an …

Kramer, Frederick

Frederick Kramer emigrated in 1848 from Prussia to the United States, settling in the 1850s in Little Rock (Pulaski County), where he became a wealthy businessman and a participant in the city’s civic life. He served two terms as an alderman (1869–1872) and four terms as mayor (1873–75, 1881–1887). Also, he was elected to Little Rock’s first school board in 1869 and served continuously on the board until 1894, most years as the board’s president. He was a member, and often an officer, in social and service organizations ranging from the Casino Club, of which he was president, to the Masons, in which he rose to the highest ranks. Frederick Kramer was born on December 22, 1829, in or near …

Ku Klux Klan (Reconstruction)

The Reconstruction era in Arkansas witnessed the first of many incarnations of the state’s most well-known white supremacist organization, the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). In the years after the Civil War, African Americans not only had to struggle to achieve equality under the law, but—along with their white supporters—they had to endure intimidation, whippings, shootings, and murders. Although much of the racial violence was random, it was also during this time that the KKK began its long history of using violence to achieve political ends. The Ku Klux Klan first appeared in Arkansas in April 1868, just a month after African Americans voted in Arkansas elections for the first time. A year earlier, Congress passed the Reconstruction Acts, which put …