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Confederate Arkansas

The People and Policies of a Frontier State in Wartime

Written by Michael B. Dougan

Publication Year: 2010


This book fills a long standing gap in state histories dealing with the period of the Civil War in the western frontier that was Arkansas. Based on newspaper articles, legal documents, letters, diaries, reminiscences, songs, and official military reports, Dougan’s account provides a full picture of the political situation just prior to the war, and set the stage for the state’s entry into the war despite the fate that only a third of the population supported secession.


Published by: The University of Alabama Press

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pp. vii-viii

In summing up his Civil War experiences in the hospitals of the North, American poet WaIt Whitman prophetically observed: "Future years will never know the seething hell and the black infernal background of countless minor scenes and interiors (not the official surface-courteousness of the Generals, not the few great battles) of the Secession war; and it is best they should not-the real war will never ...

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1. Introduction: Antebellum Arkansas

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pp. 1-11

Union soldiers nicknamed her Rackensack; the western geographer Timothy Flintsaid she was the "epitome of the world." Somewhere between these two different points of view lay the historical reality know as Arkansas.1 ...

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2. State Politics on the Eve of the Sectional Crisis

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pp. 12-23

In the same way that Arkansas's history is a function of her geography, so was her role in the Confederacy largely determined by the politicians who managed her affairs. In 1860, the center of political gravity, the "family," found their well-oiled machine in serious difficulties. Paradoxically their present problems were in part the result of their past successes. By 1854 independent Democrats, including Senators ...

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3. Arkansas in the Election of 1860

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pp. 23-34

The August election put state affairs to rest and allowed concentration on national issues. Foremost among the problems vexing Arkansas Democracy was the split in the national party. The tension which developed in the late 1850s between the Douglas and Buchanan wings had ramifications in Arkansas. While Arkansians had taken but little interest in the Kansas agitation and made only feeble attempts to aid ...

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4. Arkansas and the Union, November, 1860 - March, 1861

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pp. 35-46

The news of Lincoln's election, while slow in reaching Arkansas, came as no surprise. Even before the news arrived, Danley tried to head off agitation for secession: "Let us act calmly, coolly, and as becomes wise and patriotic men." In most of the press, moderation was the order of the day. "Give him a trial," urged the Arkansian, and if he fails, "impeach him, damn him, and damn him forever." The ...

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5. Arkansas Leaves the Union

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pp. 47-67

On March 4, 1861, America anxiously waited to see what the new president would promise in his inaugural address, for his policy would determine the course of action of the border slave states. Nowhere was the recognition of this reality as patent as in Arkansas, as the delegates assembled for the opening session that same day. ...

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6. The First Year of the War

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pp. 68-89

Arkansas from the beginning played only a minor role in the strategic thinking of the Confederate leaders. Partly because they were better bureaucrats than revolutionaries, Jefferson Davis and his advisors did not adequately appreciate either the needs or the opportunities arising from the war on the border. Owing to excessive concentration on the eastern, and to a lesser degree, the central theatres, the infant ...

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7. The Second Year of the War

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pp. 90-104

It would be pleasing to assume that the appointment of T. C. Hindman to command in Arkansas reflected a realization by Richmond of the significance of the west. But such was not the case. Hindman's appointment was secured by Senator Johnson, who went to Beauregard and got Hindman transferred to Arkansas, even though, as it developed, Beauregard's authority did not extend across the Mississippi. Curiously ...

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8. Wartime Conditions

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pp. 105-118

The Civil War caused dislocations and hardship throughout the Confederacy. But the testimony of the people of Arkansas suggests that Arkansas suffered more extensive hardship than most. Contributory factors included the poor roads and unusable rivers which isolated communities from sources of supplies and the abandonment of over two-thirds of the state to irregulars. Some persons, in favored locations or with ...

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9. The War's End

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pp. 119-127

The loss of Fort Smith on September 1, and Little Rock on the 1Oth reduced effective Confederate control to the extreme southwest counties. Only bad roads, burned out houses, and abandoned fields separated Confederate from Union Arkansas. In the vast no-man's land which constituted three fourths of the state, both armies foraged, and bushwhacker bands, with and without legal sanction, operated. Following the ...


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pp. 128-154


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pp. 155-165

E-ISBN-13: 9780817384494
Print-ISBN-13: 9780817305222

Page Count: 176
Publication Year: 2010