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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! 

    "The Battle of Prairie Grove."


    Donald R. Montgomery

     Historical Interpreter

    Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park

    Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park in the Ozark Mountains of northwest Arkansas protects the battle site and interprets the Battle of Prairie Grove, where on December 7, 1862, the Confederate Army of the Trans-Mississippi clashed with the Union Army of the Frontier resulting in 2,700 casualties during a day of fierce fighting.

     Excerpt from Rugged and Sublime:
    The Civil War in Arkansas;
    Courtesy of the Department of Arkansas Heritage

     Hindman returned to Fort Smith and learned of the inviting disposition of the Army of the Frontier. He decided to try to cross the Boston Mountains undetected and overwhelm Blunt's isolated division before Herron could react. If everything turned out as he hoped, the road to Missouri would be open once again. Back in Little Rock, Holmes continued to be extremely concerned about the danger of a Federal offensive from the east. His anxiety mounted when Confederate authorities in Richmond urged him to send ten thousand men to Vicksburg at once. Then he learned of Hindman's bold plan to march north. It was all too much for Holmes; he refused to allow any of his troops to leave Arkansas. "The invasion of Missouri is interdicted," he told Hindman, "so make your arrangements to give up that darling project”. Hindman assured Holmes that the planned attack on Blunt was a limited offensive that did not presage an invasion of Missouri and that regardless of the outcome of the operation he would return to Fort Smith. Considering Hindman's nature, and his disdain for the ineffectual Holmes, Hindman may not have been entirely honest.

      The initial phase of the Confederate offensive did not go as planned. Brig. Gen. John S. Marmaduke led a cavalry force of about two thousand men across the Boston Mountains to distract Blunt and to screen Hindman's advance. To Marmaduke's surprise, Blunt rushed forward to meet him with a force of five thousand men and thirty cannons. The two unequal columns collided on November 28 at Cane Hill. The Federals used flanking maneuvers and superior artillery to drive the Confederates from one position after another. The nine-hour running fight swept across twelve miles of forested ridges and valleys. As was often the case in the Civil War when mobile mounted forces were engaged, casualties were light: the Federals lost nine killed, thirty-two wounded, and a small number missing; Confederate losses were slightly higher.

      After receiving his Masters Degree from the University of Arkansas Don Montgomery joined the park as Historian. For his undergraduate years, he concentrated on History; and extended that to his graduate work in United States Social and Southern History.  He has done numerous workshops and presentations for the National Trust for Presentation & National Park Service. In addition, Don has made presentations to local historical groups and has been a member of the The Civil War Roundtable of Northwest Arkansas since 1998; serving as both Program chair and Newsletter editor.




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    September 28, 2004 --

    Don Montgomery, Historical Interpreter,
    Prairie Grove Battlefield. The Biennial Reenactment  

    October 26, 2004 --

    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

    January 25, 2005 – Mark Christ - TBA

    February 22,  2005 - TBA

    March 22, 2005 - Brian Brown – TBA

    April 26, 2005 – Tom Ezell,   Jenkin's Ferry

     May 10, 2005 - Cal Collier - TBA

     We Who Study Must Also Strive To Save!


     I would appreciate it if the following request might be included in your organization’s announcements or newsletters. For a book I am writing called “The Slaves’ War,” I am asking the Civil War Roundtables of the country for assistance in locating slaves’ accounts of the Civil War, from battles and skirmishes on land and sea to Contraband camps, foraging, raids, escapes, emancipation, and any other incidents that might shed light on the war the way the slaves experienced it. My interest is less in the black soldier’s experience of the war (which has been written about extensively) than the slave civilian’s.

     I have already canvassed a number of sources, including the WPA interviews with former slaves, but if members of the Civil War Roundtable can direct me to encounters with slaves recounted in some of the more obscure contemporary histories of the Civil War, memoirs, diaries and letters, etc., whether black, white, Union or Confederate, they will be gratefully received and prominently acknowledged.

     Thank you for your consideration.

    Andrew Ward

     Author of Dark Midnight When I Rise: The Story of the Fisk Jubilee Singers who introduced the world to the music of black America (Farrar Straus & Giroux) and the forthcoming  River Run Red: The Story of Fort Pillow (Penguin).

    2206 East crescent Drive
    Seattle WA 98112
    Telephone: (206)568-0159
    Fax: ‘0140


    Living History Weekend at Sulphur Springs

         With fall of the year coming on there is one event after the other on our schedules, but the number one event will be the Sulphur Springs Living History and Memorial Service at the Camp White Sulphur Springs Confederate Cemetery, in the Sulphur Springs community, on October 9 - 10.

         The living history displays and demonstration will be a hospital tent, commissary tent, and Civil War Camp.  The soldiers will talk to visitors and display their equipment.  There will be an artillery display with six cannons.  You might even get to hear them fire the big guns.  Andy Taylor and his helpers will be cooking meals over an open campfire.  Moreover, don't miss Mail Call, right after lunch, at 1:00 PM, Ellen DiMaggo and her helpers will present "Letters from the Front."  Jerry Lawrence Jr., will be hammering the hot iron in his blacksmith shop.

         After dark, about 7:00 pm, on the 9th, Ellen DiMaggo, from Lake Village, AR, will present a multimedia program entitled, "The Wound Has Never Healed”. The power point presentation tells the stories of the woman of Arkansas and the hardships they faced during the Civil War.

         Then Sunday morning, on the 10th, the Rev. Terry Bandy, from Truman, AR, will conduct an in camp worship service.  I will assure you that you will get your religion filed if you come and hear Terry present his powerful message.  Then at 2:00 PM, the Memorial Service will be held to honor those who are buried in the cemetery.  Doyle Taylor is scheduled to be our Key Speaker. Doyle's research on Camp White Sulphur Springs is still bringing in new information, so you want to miss hearing his talk.

         We will be expecting to see you all at the Sulphur Springs Living History Weekend, October 9 - 10.  Everyone is welcome to come and attend any part or this entire event. Please, bring lawn chairs especially if you plan to attend the program Saturday night. The event is free but we will accept donations for the cemetery maintenance fund.



     Freedom Rising

    Washington in the Civil War

    Ernest B. Furgurson

    An illuminating history of how the Civil War transformed the nation’s capital from a provincial city to one of the most important cultural and social centers in America.

    Before 1861, Washington was a sleepy city of 60,000, poorer cousin to New York, Boston, and Philadelphia. But with the outbreak of war, it became the center of union mobilization, and tens of thousands of Americans descended upon it. Ernest Furgurson relates the story of the making of a metropolis through the men and women who brought Washington to life. He writes about William H. Seward, who fancied himself Abraham Lincoln’s prime minister; Walt Whitman, who nursed the wounded; detective Allan Pinkerton, who tracked down spies and deserters; Elizabeth Keckley, an ex-slave who became a dressmaker for both Mrs. Lincoln and Mrs. Jefferson Davis; the architect Thomas Walter, racing to finish the Capitol dome before the war’s end.

    And at the center of it all, Lincoln himself, running a country and fighting a war, awash in the dramas of his personal life—until his final drama became the entire nation’s.

    A fascinating portrait of the life of our capital city at one of its most vital moments, and an invaluable addition to our understanding of the growth of our nation.

    Ernest B. Furgurson spent more than 30 years as a reporter for the Baltimore Sun, serving in Moscow and Vietnam, and as Washington columnist and bureau chief. He has written three other books on the Civil War. He is a native of Virginia, and now makes his home in Washington, D.C.


    Jeff Davis’ Home Survives

    The word on the Internet is that Beauvoir in Biloxi, Ms came through hurricane Ivan with little or no serious damage but a lot of cleanup.



    Beauvoir is the retirement estate of Confederate President Jefferson Davis in Biloxi, Mississippi. Developed by planter-entrepreneur James Brown, the gulf side estate grew to encompass approximately 500 acres and was dominated by an imposing Louisiana raised cottage-style residence, constructed in 1848-1851. Unscathed by the war, the property passed from the Brown family in 1873 first to Frank Johnston and then to Sarah Anne Ellis Dorsey. A Natchez born intellectual, author, and Confederate partisan, the widow Dorsey named the estate, which she shared with her half-brother, Beauvoir (French for "beautiful view") and invited Jefferson Davis to write his memoirs here. Davis accepted the invitation but insisted on paying his way and, by February 1877, was living in the Library Pavilion at Beauvoir. Joined by his wife Varina, Davis purchased the property in February 1879 and transferred to the main residence, where he lived until his death on December 6, 1889. Varina Davis sold the central portion of the estate to the Mississippi Division, United Sons of Confederate Veterans in 1902 for use as a memorial to Jefferson Davis and as a Confederate veterans home. The veteran’s home operated on site from 1903 until 1957, caring for a total of approximately 2,000 soldiers and widows.


     While Beauvoir and the Mississippi Gulf Coast have experienced many severe hurricanes over the years, nothing has approached, the destruction and terror brought on by Hurricane Camille on the night of August 17, 1969. It may have been the most powerful hurricane ever to strike the North American continent. Barometer readings as low as 26.63 inches were reported, along with wind speeds as high as 210 miles per hour. First striking Louisiana around the mouth of the Mississippi River, near the towns of Buras and Venice, Camille roared on to strike the Mississippi coast, devastating the cities of Waveland, Bay St. Louis, Pass Christian, Long Beach, Gulfport, Biloxi, and Ocean Springs, with heavy damage extending far beyond those places. At least 250 lives were lost, with another 100 missing. Some 5,000 homes were totally destroyed and 40,000 heavily damaged. Many businesses were also totally destroyed, and even more were damaged.

     One death occurred at Beauvoir when an employee died of a heart attack during the storm. Other employees who stayed on the property barely survived.

     Although severely damaged, Beauvoir survived Camille because of its construction. The raised design prevented the storm surge from flooding the main floor of the house. However, the Davis Family Museum, housed, at that time, in a more modern enclosed area underneath the antebellum structure, suffered severely.

     Extensive repairs had to be made to the house, and a broad campaign was mounted to raise money. People from all over the country contributed, and a massive amount of Beauvoir's funds had to be used. The state of Mississippi made a large appropriation to help. The trees on the property were mangled and littered the entire place. Beauvoir had to be closed for an extended period. There have been damaging hurricanes since, but none has approached the disaster of Camille.


    Civil War Seminar

    Saturday, October 9, 2004
    9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

     Old State House Museum

    300 W. Markham, Little Rock

    The Old State House Museum is proud to announce its third annual Civil War Seminar, A General Desolation: Civil War Arkansas, 1864.

    The speakers are:

    • Mark Christ, Arkansas Historic Preservation Program

    "The Queen City Was a Helpless Wreck" – Jo Shelby's Summer of 1864

    • Dr. Gary D. Joiner, Louisiana State UniversityShreveport

    Fred Steele's Dilemma and Kirby Smith's Quest for Glory

    • Steve Rucker, Arkansas National Guard Museum

    An Arkansas Artifact: The Jenkins' Ferry Flag

    • Dr. Daniel Sutherland, University of ArkansasFayetteville

    Day of the Outlaw: Guerilla Conflict in 1864

    • Tom Wing, University of ArkansasFort Smith

    "A Den of Corruption and Iniquity" – Fort Smith and the Confederate Indians

    The cost is $15, including lunch. Registration is required. Call Georganne Sisco at 501-324-8641 or email her at Registration deadline: Friday, October 1, 2004


     Plans are being made for the coming year and it is just around the corner. It is about time to start asking you for dues once again. Your officers have tried to be frugal this year to build the balance to a comfortable base of $1,500. This would provide us with enough money to cover expenses for an entire year or meet special expenses that may come along.

    We presently have $1,047.59 and in addition to the dues, we average about $25 per month in doorprize related income. Our monthly newsletter is our only continuing cost at $72.00 per month. Our Editor donates about half of that each month so it is not as bad as it might seem. We do exchange publications with a number of CWRTs around the country.

    Our other major expense is for speakers. This is harder to project because there are many variables. We try to pick up some of the expenses for our out of town speakers. That way we are able to bring some folks to you that you might not otherwise have a chance to hear. They are always very reasonable in their requests for assistance.

    In addition, every two or three years we make a presentation of Cleburne/Russell award. As many of you know, it is an engraved presentation sword and is quite expensive.

    Our Roundtable also tries to help the Central Arkansas Civil War Heritage Trail with any special expenses or special needs. I mentioned one of these special needs at the last meeting. Don Hamilton could use our help as he works at fixing the Battle of Little Rock markers. He says the engraving is going to cost $1,500, which is obviously way out of our league, but we could help by making a donation. We could also encourage our members to make  a small donation that could help him defray the costs.

    Also, elections will be coming up in November, so start thinking about who might be a good candidate for office in the Civil War Roundtable of Arkansas.




    for Don. Montgomery and
    The Battle of Prairie Grove