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Civil War Round Table of Arkansas

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Newsletter Archive - We have left these online because they contain valuable articles. For the most up-to-date Civil War Roundtable of Arkansas Newsletter please use the Newsletter button in the Menu. 



    Our 40th 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.  
    Brian Brown, President  /  Charles O. Durnett, Editor,  
    Dues $15 Per Year VISITORS WELCOME!  


    JUST LIKE THE movies, we are going to start with the previews and coming attractions. This one has to do with the May Meeting. We have changed the date to May 11, 2004. As members remember our May speaker has been for a number of years Cal Collier and we move the meeting depending on his schedule. It is always well attended. This year it is:

     MAY 11, 2004

    7:00 p. m.

    Fletcher Branch Library

    Little Rock, AR

     Also, remember that will be our 40TH Birthday party. Ice Cream and cake will be provided.




    Brian Brown


    Brian spent a week on tour in Tennessee (Shiloh) with Ed Bearss and will make that battle the center of his presentation. As many of you know he is a good photographer and Chronicaler when it comes to the Civil War.

     Brian Brown is a Little Rock attorney who practices law with the Laser Law Firm (he plans to keep practicing until he eventually gets it right!).  He has been a member of the Roundtable since age 10, has been president a couple of times over the years, and has been treasurer since the dawn of time.   He is the author of a book on Civil War genealogical research, and really needs no introduction.



    Now seems like a good time to remind folks that if you haven’t paid your 2004 dues, you can do so at the meeting. The dues are $15.00 annually for a family membership.



     Seminar on the 140TH Anniversary of the Battle of Jenkins Ferry.

    Saturday April 24, 2004

    Saline County Library

    1800 Smithers Drive

    Benton, Arkansas

    9:00 to 3:00


    Dr. Tom Deblack

     Overview of the Camden Expedition

    Tom Ezell

    The Battle, The Commanders, The Soldiers

    Anthony Rushing

    The Legacy of the Battle

    Dr. Robert Jones and Dr. Quinn Baber

    From Mini Balls to Pocket Watches

     PROGRAMS FOR 2004

     April 27, 2004 -- 
    Brian Brown,   "The War in Tennessee"
    May 11, 2004 –
    Cal Collier, Towson, Md.  "The Third Arkansas at Antietam."
    AND  the 40TH Birthday Party
    June 22, 2004 -- 
    Dr. Billy Gurley, Jr   --
     "Yankee Bullets, Southern Blood: The Remarkable Journal Of Dr. Henry M. Dye, Confederate Surgeon" 
    July 27, 2004 -- 
    Gaylord Northrop, Sherwood,
    ”Command & Control in Confederate Arkansas
    August 24, 2004 -- 
    Supt. Ralph Jones, Fort Gibson, Okla.
    ”The Battle of Honey Springs“
    September 28, 2004 -- 
    Don Montgomery, Historical Interpreter, Prairie Grove Battlefield. The Biennial Reenactment is set for December
    October 26, 2004 -- 
    This is our Annual joint meeting with the North Pulaski Roundtable to hear Mark L. Cantrell, historian, of El Reno, OK
    November 23, 2004 --
    Drew Hodges, speaking on “A. P. Hill”
    Election of Officers
    December, 2004 – 
    No meeting Scheduled in December


    Dear Friends of the Battlefields,

     I wanted to let you know about a unique reenactment taking place in Spotsylvania County Virginia May 7-9th, 2004. Please take a moment to review our website. Although not complete, it has pictures of the trenches being dug, down loadable video clips, and other general information you may be interested in.

     This event is the first time Spotsylvania has held a reenactment of the Battle of Spotsylvania in 40 years! Since the preservation fight at Chancellorsville last year there has been a renewed interest in seeing what heritage tourism can do for the county. They are hoping to promote visitation to the historic sites and events to show it can be economically beneficial to protect our resources and assets.

     The county has dug over a quarter mile confederate trench – full scale to the Mule Shoe! The Mule Shoe battle will take place at 5:30 AM May 9th, complete with pyrotechnics and 4,000 reenactors!

     There will also be the following:
    Three battle reenactments
    Fife & Drums
    Brass bands
    Educational programs for the children
    . . .and much much more!

     I hope you all will be able to make it and continue your support to preserve something so valuable to us that often gets overlooked. Your concern is greatly appreciated. Any comments or suggestions about the site or the event are gladly welcomed.

     Thank you
    Robert Lee Hodge
     Reenactment Website:


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    Poison Spring State Park,

    Marks' Mills State Park and

    Jenkins' Ferry State Park:

     In the spring of 1864, three Civil War battles took place in south central Arkansas that were part of the Union Army’s “Red River Campaign.” The three state historic parks commemorating these battles--Poison Spring State Park, Marks’ Mills State Park and Jenkins’ Ferry State Park--are part of the Red River Campaign National Historic Landmark.

     The first battle occurred near Camden at POISON SPRING on April 18 when Confederate troops captured a supply train and scattered Union forces.

     On April 25 at MARKS’ MILLS, Confederate troops captured another Union supply train. With the loss of two supply trains and the onslaught of wet spring weather, the Union Army retreated from Camden toward Little Rock.

     On April 29 and 30, Union troops fought off an attack by the Confederates, and using an inflatable pontoon bridge, crossed the flooded Saline River at JENKINS’ FERRY and retreated to Little Rock.


    The Battle at Jenkins' Ferry

    (From Arkansas State Parks and Recreation)

    The day after the battle at Marks' Mills and under the cover of darkness, Steele, his men, and what equipment they have left, cross the Ouachita River at Camden on a pontoon bridge. Steele has gone to great lengths to convince Confederate scouts his troops have spent the night inside the safety of the town. It is mid-morning before the Rebels realize they've been tricked.

    Further slowing the pursuit, the Confederates lack the equipment required to build a bridge across the Ouachita. An entire day passes before a hastily constructed bridge transports the Rebels across the river on April 28.

    The Confederates' only hope of catching the fast-fleeing Federal troops is at the rain-swollen Saline River at Jenkins' Ferry, some 50 miles north. If Steele is able to put the flooded river between him and Gen. Smith's troops, he will have at least salvaged what remains of his army.

    April 29. A torrential rain is pounding Gen. Steele's troops and he's concerned about crossing the Saline. As wagons, horses and mules bog down in the quagmire, Steele and his men reluctantly make camp at Jenkins' Ferry. Steele spends most of the night plotting ways in which he can hold off advancing enemy troops while crossing the river at the same time. April 30 dawns and the first Rebels to arrive at Jenkins' Ferry find themselves facing the full force of Steele's army. Steele's men are backed up to the Saline River, but entrenched and protected from flanked attacks -- by an overflowing creek on one side and a flooded swamp on the other.

    The Battle of Jenkins' Ferry begins after the first light of the foggy day. Despite their disadvantaged position, the Confederates launch one unorganized attack after another. Rebel commanders know that letting up the pressure will allow Steele's army to cross the Saline and escape.

    By the end of the bloody day, the South had lost nearly 1,000 soldiers at Jenkins' Ferry, and the North nearly 700. But Steele's army did manage to cross the river and continue its retreat to Little Rock.

    The Battle Sites Today

    Today these three sites are preserved by the Arkansas State Parks system. All were made part of the system in 1961. Richard W. Davies, executive director of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism and a self-professed Civil War buff, believes the significance of these battles is that afterwards Union troops did not conduct another campaign in southwest Arkansas.

    "This led to the salvation of many of the antebellum structures, including the Confederate Capitol, at Washington, Arkansas," he said. Many of these buildings now comprise Old Washington Historic State Park which, combined with Poison Spring, Marks' Mill and Jenkins' Ferry, has been designated as the Red River Campaign National Historic Landmark.

    Davies said that "even though individually, the three sites seem rather small, when combined, they are the Red River Campaign in Arkansas." While not as well known as Gettysburg, Manassas or Vicksburg, Davies believes the Red River Campaign sites are as significant in a way. "If you're a soldier standing in the cold rain, miserable, scared, hungry and exhausted, and someone is shooting at you, then your chances of getting killed are just as great as they are at the bigger battles. If you do get killed, you're just as dead as you'd be in Virginia. The Civil War in Arkansas was a mean, nasty affair. There was little about it that was civil."


    Our 40th birthday will be in May. 


     for Brian Brown and the war in Tennessee