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

Oakland-Fraternal Cemetery

aka: Oakland & Fraternal Historic Cemetery Park
Oakland & Fraternal Historic Cemetery Park was established in 1862 when the City of Little Rock (Pulaski County) purchased a 160-acre estate in order to accommodate the Civil War dead. Through the years, this 160-acre estate has been carved into seven distinct cemeteries: Oakland, National, an eleven-acre Confederate, a one-acre Confederate, Fraternal, Jewish Oakland, and Agudath Achim. Today, 108 acres of the original 160 remain as burial grounds. The cemeteries have seen more than 62,000 burials since the first in 1863. The land was originally “christened Oakland, probably because the site which was chosen for it was natural forest, wooded principally with oaks,” according to an 1862 Arkansas Gazette article. The need for a city cemetery then, during the Civil …

Oil Trough Bottom, Skirmish at

The second Union army occupation of Batesville (Independence County) began on December 25, 1863, with the quiet entry of Colonel Robert Livingston’s command consisting of the First Nebraska Cavalry, Second Arkansas Cavalry, Eleventh Missouri Cavalry, and some smaller units. Livingston’s orders were to “keep the peace,” but he was surrounded by mobile Confederate units that knew the area well, led by General Dandridge McRae, Captain Thomas R. Freeman, and Captain George Rutherford, among others. The forces Livingston sent out from Batesville were mostly detachments to protect foraging wagons and larger “scouts” to patrol the area, gathering information and attacking the small Confederate units and bands of brigands when they could. On March 15, 1864, Major Lewis Pace was sent from …

Okolona, Skirmishes at

aka: Battle of the Bees
    The Skirmishes at Okolona were fought as Confederate cavalry under Joseph O. Shelby harassed the rear of Major General Frederick Steele’s Union army as it moved into southwest Arkansas during the Camden Expedition of 1864, marking the first serious resistance to Steele’s advance. Steele led his army from Little Rock (Pulaski County) on March 23, planning to link up with another Union army under Nathaniel Banks at Shreveport, Louisiana, and conquer the cotton-rich country of eastern Texas. The Federal army arrived at Arkadelphia (Clark County) on March 29 and waited for John Thayer’s Frontier Division out of Fort Smith (Sebastian County) before continuing south and camping at Spoonville (Pike County) on April 1. At around noon the next …

Old River Lake, Engagement at

aka: Engagement at Ditch Bayou
aka: Engagement at Lake Chicot
aka: Engagement at Lake Village
aka: Engagement at Furlough
aka: Engagement at Fish Bayou
aka: Engagement at Grand Lake
On June 6, 1864, Union and Confederate forces clashed along the southern shore of Lake Chicot near Lake Village (Chicot County). The engagement at Old River Lake (also known as Ditch Bayou) was the largest to occur in Chicot County and the last significant Civil War engagement in Arkansas. Union forces won the field but suffered higher casualties. By the end of 1863, Union forces controlled almost all traffic on the Mississippi River. Steamships were the primary sources of transportation. Gunboats protected fleets of troop transports moving up and down river. Their large cannons bombarded areas of Rebel activity along the river bank. Landing parties foraged for food and burned plantations. Local inhabitants lived in terror at the approach of …

Old Rondo Cemetery—Confederate Section

Old Rondo Cemetery—Confederate Section, located at 1612 Smith Road in Rondo (Miller County), commemorates Confederate soldiers from Texas who died of disease in Rondo in 1862. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 22, 2004. On June 12, 1862, Brigadier General Henry Eustace McCulloch ordered all Confederate troops located east of Tyler, Texas, to march to Little Rock (Pulaski County), which was threatened by Samuel Curtis’s Union army. These troops included the Nineteenth Texas Infantry Regiment under Colonel Richard Waterhouse. At least seven companies of the Nineteenth were stationed at Rondo, just past the Arkansas-Texas state line, from July through early September. While the men were camped at Rondo, measles struck, killing dozens of Waterhouse’s …

Ord, Edward Otho C.

Edward Otho C. Ord was a major general in the Union army during the Civil War and commanded the Department of Arkansas and the Fourth Military District during Reconstruction. Born in Cumberland, Maryland, on October 18, 1818, Edward O. C. Ord was the son of James and Rebecca Ord. The family moved to Washington DC when Ord was young. Tutored by his father, he was known as a mathematical genius. He entered the United States Military Academy at West Point at the age of sixteen. He graduated in 1839 and received a commission as a second lieutenant in the Third United States Artillery. After service during the Second Seminole War and a promotion to first lieutenant in 1841, Ord sailed …

Orient Ferry, Skirmish at

aka: Skirmish at Paroquet Bluff
  The Skirmish at Orient Ferry took place when troops in the Fifteenth Texas Cavalry attacked elements of the Fifth Kansas Cavalry as they ferried their supply wagons across the Black River at Paroquet Bluff, located on the west side of the river above Jacksonport (Jackson County) during their drive to join Major General Samuel R. Curtis’s Army of the Southwest as it marched across eastern Arkansas toward Helena (Phillips County) on the Mississippi River. The bulk of the Fifth Kansas Cavalry left Rolla, Missouri, on June 17 to join the Army of the Southwest. The veteran Kansans traveled fast and light, leaving their wagons and stores to catch up. Captain William F. Creitz and Company A, soon joined by …

Orto, Zaphney

Zaphney Orto, a prominent physician who helped discover the link between malaria and mosquitoes, was a U.S. army major and surgeon during the Spanish-American War, and the second president of Simmons First National Bank, founded in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). Born to Leonidas Orto and Martha G. McElwee Orto in Somerville, Tennessee, in 1842, Zaphney Orto lived on a farm near Somerville until he was eighteen, then worked in a store for two years. He studied medicine with Dr. S. W. Thompson of Evansville, Indiana, and graduated from the Miami Medical College of Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1872. Shortly afterward, he moved to Arkansas, where he settled in Clover Bend (Lawrence County). He practiced medicine there for two years before moving …

Osage Branch of the Kings River, Affair on the

This Civil War engagement demonstrates the continued presence of small bands of semi-autonomous Confederate commands along the Arkansas-Missouri border and exhibits late-war atrocities committed against captured black Union soldiers and laborers. On April 16, 1864, a detachment numbering between twenty-six and thirty-six troopers from Company A of the Second Arkansas Cavalry (US), commanded by Sergeant Josiah Watts, foraged for supplies along the Osage Branch of the Kings River about twenty miles from their post at Berryville (Carroll County). Cooper’s Battalion of Brigadier General Stand Watie’s First Indian Brigade—commanded by Captain James Washington Cooper and variously estimated between eighty and 300 troopers—surprised and attacked the foraging party. Watts and his men initially repelled the rebel assault, charged twice, and briefly drove …

Osceola, Skirmish at

  After losing most of his company (the Osceola Hornets, Company G of the Twenty-fifth Mississippi Infantry, later known as the Second Confederate Regiment) at the April 6–7, 1862, Battle of Shiloh in Tennessee, Captain Charles Bowen returned to Mississippi County in early 1863 with orders to seek new conscripts to supplement the dwindling Confederate ranks lost to sickness and death. Due to limited success with recruitment and Union control of the Mississippi River (making it difficult to cross), Bowen decided to remain in Mississippi County in order to protect lives and property from the rampant lawlessness that had compromised public safety and commercial activity in Osceola (Mississippi County) and the surrounding areas. Records indicate that he offered his resignation …

Oxford Bend, Action at

aka: Action at McGuire's
As part of Major General Thomas C. Hindman’s initial attempt to threaten Fayetteville (Washington County) and gain control of northwestern Arkansas in fall 1862, this skirmish preceded the Battle of Prairie Grove by more than a month. At daylight on October 28, 1862, a combined force of approximately 1,000 men from Colonel James O. Gower’s First Iowa Cavalry and Colonel John F. Phillips’s Seventh Missouri State Militia Cavalry (US) of Brigadier General Francis J. Herron’s Army of the Frontier attacked a Confederate camp at Oxford Bend in Washington County, four miles east of Fayetteville. There, they engaged approximately 3,000 cavalrymen commanded by Colonel Jesse L. Cravens of Major General Thomas C. Hindman’s Trans-Mississippi Corps. Cravens’s brigade consisted of Bass’s Texas …