The Battle of Fitzhugh Woods
VOL. XXXIX, No. 1, JANUARY 2003 FOR THE MEETING TUESDAY, JANUARY
Our 39th Year Meets Fourth Tuesday, January-November/Founded March 1964
Fletcher Branch Library, H & Buchanan (East of University Ave.),
Little Rock Program at 7 p.m.
Dues $15 Per Year VISITORS WELCOME!
VISIT THE BATTLEFIELDS WHEN YOU CAN...WHILE YOU CAN
by Dr. Herbert L. Lunday
& Larry Lunday
Due to a last-minute conflict, Dr. Tom DeBlack (who has a Tuesday night class
second semester) will be unable to be with us this month (he WILL be scheduled
for a later appearance).
But, when one door closes, another opens, and we have the opportunity to
learn about a little-known Arkansas Civil War battlefield, the Battle of
Fitzhugh Woods (near Augusta in eastern Arkansas). (Betcha you never heard of
In 1864, Gen. Dandridge McRae (CSA) was pursuing his duties of collecting and
reorganizing Confederate absentees in northeast Arkansas, while also assuming
command over that portion of the state lying between the White and Mississippi
rivers. Without McRae's knowledge, Col. Christopher C. Andrews (USA) had been
assigned the task of ridding the area of Confederate troops. The two forces
ultimately clashed approximately six miles north of Augusta on April 1, 1864,
very near the present-day community of Fitzhugh.
In November 1984, following many years of curiosity, some brief research, and
a little luck, the battlesite was finally re-discovered by Herbert L. Lunday,
his father Herbert H. Lunday, and his brother Larry A. Lunday. The Lundays have
since documented the battle and the battlesite in a Microsoft PowerPoint
presentation to be enjoyed by all who appreciate the details and historical
value of the event.
During the presentation, Dr. Herbert L. Lunday tells the story of the battle
from the perspective of the two commanding officers, shows numerous modern-day
photographs of relevant area landmarks, and presents relics recovered from the
Herbert H. Lunday is a retired homebuilder and long-time resident of Augusta,
where he and his wife live. Larry Lunday grew up in Augusta, and received an AB
degree from ASU in Jonesboro. He and his family live in Searcy, and he
works for Entergy here in Little Rock. He's an avid reader with a
particular interest in military history.
Herbert L. Lunday is a native of Augusta, and lives with his family in West
Plains, Mo. He holds MA and PhD degrees from the University of
Arkansas/Fayetteville, and serves as dean of Student Services at SW Missouri
State University/ West Plains.
We are fortunate that Larry Lunday called and told me about this program,
just as we were facing the dilemma of replacing Dr. DeBlack. What a wonderful
circumstance! The Lundays are interested in at least placing markers at the
battlesite, and the property owner is even amenable to having the battlesite
This is an excellent kick-off program, and you won't want to miss it!
OUR THANKS to Beau Cantrell for his always-excellent presentation for
the third year in a row. He is a fine speaker and an outstanding
researcher. We're lucky to have him. This year, he's asked to have us move
his talk from the November meeting to a more weather-friendly time of the year
and we'll work on that. (Which is why you won't see his name on the list
of programs to come...yet.)
WE VOTED to raise our dues to $15 a year, individual or family, with
those who have already paid "grandfathered in."
But if you have NOT yet paid your 2003 dues, consider this your first
"bill," and bring your check to Tuesday's meeting (or just mail it to the
address above).And try to recruit at least one new member during the year!
WE HAD A LITTLE MIX-UP on the election of officers in November,
because Jan Sarna had found out that he would be unable to move up. So after
some scrambling, we got our webmaster, Charles Durnett, to agree to serve as
president this year. We don't have a vp/program chairman yet, but since
all the program slots have been filled by the redoubtable Jan Sarna (who was
vp/program chairman for 2002), it should be a problem to find someone to
introduce the speakers...
PROGRAMS TO COME:
February 25, 2003--Drew Hodges, North Pulaski CWRT,
General Pete Longstreet.
March 25, 2003--George Davis, the 6th Arkansas
April 22, 2003--Supt. John Scott, Pea Ridge NMP, Pea
May 27, 2003--Cal Collier (confirmed), Topic to be
announced. We're so glad Cal is going to be able to come this year, after
missing last year's annual appearance due to health problems.
June 24, 2003--Randy Philhours, Paragould, The
July 22, 2003--Rob McGregor, Little Rock, Jefferson
Davis, Before & After the Civil War.
August 26, 2003--Dr. Brian Steel Wills, Topic to be
September 23, 2003--Dr. Dan Sutherland, The University
of Arkansas, Guerilla Warfare.
October 28, 2003--Landon Smith, Jackson, Miss, Prairie
SPEAKING OF HEALTH, we continue to maintain contact with Bill O'Donnell,
living at the Arkansas Hospice for the past several months, who had a good
Christmas with his family, and is still fighting the good fight.
You might want to drop him a card at 5615 Evergreen, Little Rock 72205.
WE'RE SHARING with you this issue articles from the CWRT of Montgomery
County (MD), and the North Carolina CWRT, which we hope you'll enjoy, and also
include the information on the 2003 Confederate Historical Institute, to be held
in Lexington, Ky., with tours of Perryville battlefield, Mill Springs
battlefield, and the John Hunt Morgan Raid Historic Trail, led by Ed Bearss.
WE'RE GETTING a good response to the "Refighting The Civil War"
article, nearly 10,000 reprints of which have been mailed out all over the
country by HERITAGEPAC. We have also sent out several dozen videotapes of
the CSPAN2 video on "Civil War Battlefields & Slavery," a discussion held at the
University of Richmond in September, featuring Dr. Dwight Pitcaithley, chief
historian of the National Park Service; Robert K. Krick, retired chief historian
at Fredericksburg battlefield; Dr. Edward Ayers, dean of the College of Liberal
Arts at The University of Virginia, and yours truly.
The battle goes on... Help if you can...
BUT YOU MUSTN'T MISS
the Lundays and Fitzhugh Woods...BE THERE!
We Who Study Must Also Strive To Save