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

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 …

Franks, William Joseph

William Joseph Franks was a U.S. Navy seaman who received a Medal of Honor for his actions while serving as an artilleryman in a Civil War battle at Yazoo City, Mississippi, in 1864. He is buried in Maple Hill (Independence County). Little is known about William Joseph Franks’s early life, except that he was born in 1830 in Pittsboro, Chatham County, North Carolina. The 1850 federal census appears to include a reference to him as living in Chatham County’s Lower Regiment with a fifty-year-old woman named Rebuah Frankes and a seven-year-old girl named Emilin Frankes, though it lists William as a fifteen-year-old laborer rather than a twenty-year-old. Regardless, he was in DeValls Bluff (Prairie County) in 1863 and enlisted in …

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 …