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

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, and some monuments have been removed or relocated. 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 …

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 Bars The 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 …

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 …

Conscription (Civil War)

When the American Civil War began, neither the Union nor the Confederacy relied on conscription to fill the ranks. A draft was not necessary at the onset because men in both the North and the South initially volunteered in large numbers for the war they believed would be over by summer. As the war dragged on through 1861 and into 1862, however, men proved less willing to enlist in the increasingly violent and protracted conflict. For this reason, both the United States and Confederate States enacted conscription in 1862. The Confederacy was the first to enact compulsory military service. A draft was necessary due to the poor planning on the part of the Confederate government. Recruits had entered military service …

Contraband Camps

aka: Slave Refugee Camps
In 1862, as a response to Confederate use of slave labor against the Federal army in Arkansas, Union general Samuel R. Curtis drew on the authority of earlier “confiscation” acts to free black slaves for use in the Union army. Issuing certificates of freedom to hundreds of “contraband” fugitives (meaning escaped or Union-freed slaves), Curtis laid the foundation for emancipation in Arkansas, and he was one of the more determined Union military leaders in the belief that slaves should be freed. Word spread among Arkansas’s slaves, and when Curtis’s army arrived at Helena (Phillips County) in the summer of 1862, more than 2,000 came with him hoping for freedom and protection. Helena would be occupied by Federal forces through the …

Cotton Plant, Affairs at

The Affairs at Cotton Plant are two separate events that took place on successive days near the town of Cotton Plant (Woodruff County) and the Cache River. DeValls Bluff (Prairie County) served as a major Union outpost in eastern Arkansas. Supplies were brought up the White River and transported from the town by rail to the northern shore of the Arkansas River across from Little Rock (Pulaski County). Protecting the area immediately surrounding DeValls Bluff remained an important Federal objective for much of the war. Numerous Union units operated in and around DeValls Bluff, including at the towns of Augusta (Woodruff County) and Clarendon (Monroe County). Control of these towns in eastern Arkansas allowed Federal troops to protect the vital …

Crawford, William Ayers

William Ayers Crawford’s importance to Arkansas history stems from his service to the Confederacy and his participation in Arkansas’s postwar political crises, the most visible of which was the Brooks-Baxter War. William Crawford was born on June 24, 1825, in Washington County, Tennessee, the youngest of eleven children of William Ayers Crawford and Martha Blakely Crawford. His father was a farmer and breeder of fine horses; he died in 1834. Following his mother’s death in 1840, the orphaned Crawford left Tennessee with older siblings. After passing through Little Rock (Pulaski County) en route to Texas, they changed their original plan and made Saline County their permanent home, farming for a living. In June 1846, Crawford enlisted for service in the …

Crooked Creek, Skirmish at

Part of Union efforts in northwestern Arkansas to disrupt Confederate operations, this skirmish was one of several encounters over a four-week period in early 1864. In January 1864, the Second Arkansas Cavalry (US) was stationed in Cassville, Missouri. Colonel John E. Phelps received orders from Brigadier General John Sanborn to move into Arkansas in an effort to disrupt a planned raid by Confederate forces into Missouri. Phelps led his unit into the state to link up with other Federal units. At the same time, troops from the First Arkansas Cavalry (US) under the command of Captain Charles Galloway were scouting in the area. Leaving Fayetteville (Washington County) on January 10, Galloway moved eastward, receiving reinforcements. Galloway’s troops joined the Second …

Cross Hollow (Camp)

Cross Hollow (or Cross Hollows), located along the Telegraph Road eighteen miles south of the Missouri-Arkansas border near modern-day Rogers (Benton County), was the site of Confederate winter quarters during the winter of 1861–62. A Civil War skirmish was fought near Cross Hollow in 1864. Following the August 10, 1861, Confederate victory at Wilson’s Creek in Missouri, General Benjamin McCulloch’s army fell back into Arkansas. Feeling that the troops would be close enough to Missouri to march there readily if circumstances demanded, commanders chose Cross Hollow, a long, narrow valley at the intersection of an east-west road and the Telegraph Road, which was the major north-south road into Missouri. Abundant springs and forage and the presence of two mills nearby, …

Cross Hollow, Skirmish at

  Federal forces in northwestern Arkansas and southwestern Missouri used cavalry patrols to prevent Confederate regulars and guerrillas from organizing in the area. This skirmish was part of an effort by Union forces in Missouri to disrupt small bands of the enemy gathering near Cross Hollow. On June 20, 1864, Captain James Powell of the Second Arkansas Cavalry (US) received orders to embark on a scouting mission with an unspecified number of men. Moving southward from Cassville, Missouri, Powell and his men first encountered enemy forces near Sugar Creek but did not attack. The Federals continued to Cross Hollow where they turned southward to Fayetteville (Washington County) before moving to Bentonville (Benton County). On the third day of the scouting mission, …

Cross-Roads, Skirmish at

During the 1864 Federal occupation of Batesville (Independence County), many detachments were sent out through the surrounding counties for information, forage, and seizure of bushwhackers. In an accidental encounter, one such detachment caught some brigands for the second time. Captain Albert B. Kauffman of the Eleventh Missouri Cavalry Volunteers left Batesville on March 24, 1864, with a detachment of 200 men and six officers to scout to the southwest and west. They traveled up the White River to the mouths of Wolf Bayou and Briar Creek, then turned southwest until they reached Coon Creek. They camped at McCarles’s farm, where they found a mule harness that had been taken by Captain George Rutherford during a previous skirmish at Waugh’s Farm. …