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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 41th 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. 
    VOL. XLI, No. 07, JUL 2005
    Randy Baldwin, President  /  Charles O. Durnett, Editor, 
    Dues $15 Per Year VISITORS WELCOME! 

    The Tullahoma Campaign


    Don Hamilton

    When General Bragg retreated from Murfreesboro, he selected a strong position, distributing his infantry from Shelbyville to Wartrace. His cavalry was posted at McMinnville, on his right, and was thrown out as far as Guy Gap. Tullahoma was his depot of supplies.

    For a year or more, some of our ablest generals had regarded Chattanooga as the strategic key to the Southern Confederacy. The theory that Vicksburg was the key to the Confederacy was based on opening that great waterway, the Mississippi River. Before the time of railroads, Vicksburg would probably have been the key, but it is doubtful whether the sacrifices made for the capture of Vicksburg were wisely made, since railroads are more important than rivers. If Vicksburg were left in the hand of the Confederates and Chattanooga seized, Vicksburg would probably have been evacuated. The Confederate Government perceived the strategic importance of Chattanooga before the United States Government did, but the Confederates felt secure in the possession of that stronghold since its position seemed practically impregnable.

    Our Vice President Don Hamilton will bring us to this exciting crossroad on our way through Tennessee.

    A Rare Opportunity
    Jeff Shaara, author of the critically acclaimed best-selling novel, Gods and Generals, will be in Arkansas for a week in September. He will be here as a part of the “If All of Arkansas Read the Same Book” program and will be making appearances all around the state.
    CWRT members and friends have an opportunity to meet him in person on September 13. We will gather at 7:00 pm at Wordsworth Books, 5920 R St. (In the Heights) Little Rock. Watch for updates, and mark your calendars, now.



    Register to receive your newsletter on-line.

    Randy Bladwin, President
    Don Hamilton, Vice President
    Brian Brown, Treasurer
    Brian Brown is still accepting dues of $15.00
    Chas. Durnette, Secretary/Editor


    August 23, 2004
     Ron Fuller -
    Ulysses Grant and General Robert C. Newton face off one more time.  This time it is cordial.

    September 13
    “If All of Arkansas Read the Same Book” is a program that brings an author into the state for a book tour. In the fall of 2005, they have scheduled Jeff Shaara and his book “GODS AND GENERALS”. Come, meet, and chat with the author.

    September 27, 2005 – Regular Meeting
      Terry Winschel,
    Historian - Vicksburg NMP –
    “A Tragedy of Errors: Failure of the Confederate High Command in the Defense of Vicksburg

    October 25, 2004

    November 22, 2005
      Dave Gruenewald Pat Cleburne's Ireland


    Election of Officers

     December 2005 –
    No meeting Scheduled in December

    We Who Study Must Also Strive To Save!

    Hurrah for the Light Artillery!

     A battery of field artillery is worth a thousand muskets.
     General William Tecumseh Sherman

    Only about six percent of the soldiers in the American Civil War were enrolled in the artillery branch of the service, yet the artillery played a pivotal role in almost every major engagement of the War. From the massed Union batteries at Stones River and Malvern Hill to the intrepid fieldwork of Pelham's horse artillery at Fredericksburg, the big guns were always a factor, and often the decisive one.

    The purpose of this site is to acquaint the reader with basic information about the topic and provide some suggestions for further viewing and reading. Much of the focus is on the field artillery, which saw the most battle action during the War, but the growing Encyclopedia of Civil War Artillery provides examples of every type.

    The Evolution of Ordnance

    The Civil War accelerated the technological development of ordnance. Before the War, the typical cannon was a bronze, muzzle-loading smoothbore. Though such cannon were still in heavy use at the end of the War, it was apparent that the next generation of guns would be steel, breech loading rifles.

    Rifles vs. Smoothbores

    The principles of rifling had long been understood; the spin imparted to the projectile by forcing it into spiral grooves in the bore of the gun made it fly straighter, farther, and with more power on impact. Rifling of bronze guns was not an effective solution, because the friction of the ammunition wore down the rifling in that relatively soft metal. (Many older weapons, particularly the nearly obsolete 6-pounders, were rebored with rifling at the start of the War, and proved to be of very limited use after a very short time.) Effective rifled cannon required harder metal, but cast iron, the logical choice, was too brittle.

    Early Breechloaders

    As with rifling, the advantages of loading cannon at the breech are clear, as the men serving at the front of a gun could attest. Breech loading guns required a mechanism that was able to withstand the strain of firing and still operate smoothly and quickly to allow the next round to be fired. This required not only a superior material but also expert machining. The famous Whitworth was an early but unreliable example, and its cannoneers not infrequently had to fasten the breech closed and load it from the muzzle.

    A Comment on Materials

    The disadvantages of bronze as an ordnance material have just been listed, and to them may be added its excessive weight. But bronze had for centuries the signal advantage of toughness; absent a serious defect in manufacture, bronze guns were reliable and safe. Superior smelting techniques developed during the early industrial revolution raised hopes that cast iron might be a suitable material for guns, and there were many experiments. However, the explosion of the Peacemaker aboard the Princeton halted the production of iron cannon in the United States for over a decade, and only the largest, and most over-engineered, guns were made of iron.

    Reinforcement of cast iron forward of the breech was an obvious solution, but Robert Parker Parrott was the first to successfully turn out quantities of cast iron cannon. The novelty in his method was not in the reinforce, but in the method of attachment; the wrought iron band was allowed to cool in place while the gun was rotated, which allowed the reinforce to clamp on uniformly around the circumference of the breech. The resulting guns still did burst occasionally, but could be produced quickly and cheaply at a time when they were desperately needed; the cost to the government was about $187, versus about $350 for its nearest rival, the wrought iron 3-inch ordnance rifle. The Parrott system became the workhorse rifle of the artillery for the first years of the War, and continued to be produced in quantity even after the introduction of

    the ordnance rifle, which was preferred by many artillerymen. Advances in materials superseded both models within a few years; the steel rifle soon took over the field. The Wizard, made of what the designer called "semi-steel" (puddled wrought iron) and the small Whitworths and Armstrongs of true steel, were precursors of the revolution in materials that would take place in the following decades.

        Prairie Grove Visitors Center

    NEACWHT places marker,
    holds Chalk Bluff meeting

    By Danny Honnoll

    NEACWHT Chair

       The citizens of Marmaduke contacted the Northeast Arkansas Civil War Trails Committee group about placing a marker to honor the town’s namesake and within 10 months the marker was placed.
       The town of Marmaduke, Northeast Arkansas Civil War Heritage Trails Committee, Col. Robert G. Shaver Camp #1655, Sons of Confederate Veterans and the Gen. James F. Fagan Chapter #280, Military Order of Stars and Bars, conducted a historical marker dedication on Saturday, July 2.
       The marker dedication took place at the Marmaduke City Park at 10 a.m. following the parade at Marmaduke, which began at 9 a.m. The events were part of the Annual Marmaduke Fourth of July weekend that is held on the weekend nearest the Fourth of July.
       After the dedication, the Marmaduke marker was placed at the corner of Arkansas Highway 49 North and Arkansas Highway 34 on the northeast corner of the Marmaduke post office property.
       The ceremony included the dedication and the unveiling of a new historical marker at Marmaduke. The NEACWHTC, Sons of Confederate Veterans members, Military Order Stars and Bars, 30th Arkansas and Seventh Arkansas Infantry reenactors and Hubbard’s Battery reenactors were outfitted in full Confederate regalia during ceremonies and conducted a three-volley gun salute at the side of the marker. Over 30 reenactors from all over the region filled the ranks of the honor guard.
       U. S. Congressman Marion Berry, State Representatives Dustin McDaniel and Travis Boyd, and State Senator Tim Wooldridge attended the marker dedication. Over 500 people watched as Terry Bandy unveiled the new marker to honor Marmaduke.
       We had a meeting with the Woodruff County Judge and the mayor of Augusta on May 12. The Lunday brothers, Larry and Herbert, are spearheading the drive to mark the site of this battle. The county and city committed to the project and are going to apply for a grant for the site.
       A Pocahontas marker is scheduled to be placed by September 2006. This will be part of the 150th anniversary of Pocahontas. Jim Kincade and Derek Clements are working with us on a place to locate the marker for the events that took place in Pocahontas during the war.
       Ann and Walter Meals want to invite everyone down on Friday, Sept. 9, from 5-8 p.m. for gospel singing. Then, on Saturday from 9 am to 5 p.m., join the Stone House Pioneer Days Celebration. The NEACWHTC will have a signup on Saturday to let everyone know where we are to hold our meeting.
       It will start Saturday, Sept.10, at 11 a.m., at the Stone House at Colt, Arkansas. See y’all there!  

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    [LITTLE ROCK] ARKANSAS DAILY TRUE DEMOCRAT, March 9, 1861, p. 2, c. 4
    Gaiety Theatre.
    Thursday, March 7th, 1861,
    And during the Week,
    Wolfstenberger's Panorama,
    The Mirror of the World!
    Painted on Two Miles of
    Price of admission as before. 
    [LITTLE ROCK] ARKANSAS DAILY TRUE DEMOCRAT, March 9, 1861, p. 2, c. 3
    A New England woman declares in print that "Fanny Fern" has done more to injure her sex and make men disrespect them than any female writer since the world began. 
    [LITTLE ROCK] ARKANSAS DAILY TRUE DEMOCRAT, March 12, 1861, p. 3, c. 3
    Important from Texas.
    We extract from a private letter, just received from Brazos San Diego, Texas, the following extract.  The writer is a member of a military company, recently organized at Galveston, for the purpose of assisting in the capture of the forts now occupied by the federal troops in that State. 
    He says:  "We arrived here on the 20th inst., Col. Ford being commander-in-chief of our company.  He is better known in the State as 'Old Rip,' and is said always to be in a bad humor unless he is engaged in a fight.  He had scarcely gotten more than half way from the steamer to the barracks, before he ordered the American flag to be pulled down and the lone star, to be raised in its place.  But after some time parlying [sic] he was persuaded by his brother officers to show the enemy a little more respect, and he accordingly gave them an hour to breathe.  The United States flag was then struck in silence, no one seeming to exult over it.  But when the lone star went up, a long deafening shout came up from Ford and his four hundred and fifty rangers.
    "We have taken about fifty pieces of artillery, and will go over to the Rio Grande to-morrow for the purpose of attacking the fort at Brownsville.  They are aware of our intentions, and are said to be busy in making preparation to give us a 'warm reception.'  They have one hundred and forty field pieces and about three hundred and fifty soldiers, their position behind the fort giving them greatly the advantage.  We received a dispatch this evening, informing us that they intended to resist to the death.

    "Our men are nearly all armed with a Minnie rifle, a six-shooter, and a cutlass.  You may look for interesting news by the next steamer." 
    [LITTLE ROCK] ARKANSAS TRUE DEMOCRAT, April 25, 1861, p. 2, c. 1
    The ladies we understand have taken up the cause in earnest.  They were up till on o'clock Tuesday night making uniforms for the Prairie company, who came in about twelve o'clock on Monday, on their way to Fort Smith.  Fifty jackets had to be bought, cut and made; and though they were not finished in time, as they had left at eleven, yet they were sent up on the first boat. 
    [LITTLE ROCK] ARKANSAS TRUE DEMOCRAT, April 25, 1861, p. 2, c. 3
    Clark County.
    We have been permitted to publish the following letter from a gentleman in Clark county to a citizen o this place:
    Arkadelphia, April 20, 1861
    I have this moment participated in raising the first flag that I ever did in my life, except that of the old thirteen stars; but this time I participated with as good a grace as ever I done anything in my life, and I am proud to say to you that I do not believe there is more than three men that now say they are for union
    So when I tell you that one of the largest secession flags is now floating from the Bell pole, you will scarcely believe me, but nevertheless it is true.  We had speeches from Messrs. Flannagin, Beard, Witherspoon, Dr. Huey of Camden, Parson Garrett, Col. Bozeman, etc.  There is petitions unanimously signed to send to the president of the convention to call it at the earliest day possible.  This is the first time I ever saw the people of Arkadelphia a unit in my life on any subject.
    Yours in haste,
    Old Nick. 
    [LITTLE ROCK] ARKANSAS DAILY TRUE DEMOCRAT, March 12, 1861, p. 3, c. 4
    We copy from the South Western Democrat resolutions passed by the general council of the Choctaw Nation.  We are glad to see our neighbors taking such a bold and manly position, and think that some of our own people might learn a lesson from them.  The message of James Hudson, the principal chief, is an able paper, and we regret that we have not space to republish it.  It takes the position boldly and unequivocally that in the event of a dissolution of the Union the Choctaw Nation will go with the southern States.—Read the resolutions below.
                                                                                        From the South Western Democrat.
    Expressing the feelings and sentiments of the General Council of the Choctaw Nation, in reference to the political disagreement existing between the northern and southern States of the American Union.
                Resolved by the General Council of the Choctaw Nation, assembled, That we view with deep regret and great solicitude, the present unhappy political disagreement between the northern and southern States of the American Union, tending to a permanent dissolution of the government, and the disturbance of the various important relations existing with that government, by treaty, stipulations and international laws, protending [portending?] much injury to the Choctaw government and people.
                Resolved, further, that we express the earnest desire and ready hope entertained by the entire Choctaw people, that any and all political disturbances agitating and dividing the people of the various States may be honorably and speedily adjusted; and the example and the blessing, and fostering care of the general government, and the many and friendly social ties existing with their people, continue for the enlightenment in moral and good government; and prosperity in the material concerns of life, to our whole population.
                Resolved, further, That in the event of a permanent dissolution of the American Union takes place, our many relations with the general government must cease, and we shall be left to follow the natural affections, education, institutions, and interest of our people, which indissolubly bind us in every way to the destiny of our neighbors, and brethren of the southern states; upon whom we are confident we can rely for the preservation of our rights, of liberty and property, continuance of friendship, general counsel and fraternal support.
                Resolved, further, That we desire to assure our immediate neighbors, the people of Arkansas and Texas, of our determination to observe amicable relations in every way so long existing between us, and the firm reliance we have, that amid any disturbance with other States, the rights and feelings so sacred to us will remain respected by them, and be protected from the encroachment of others.
                Resolved, further, That his excellency, the principal chief, be requested to enclose, with an appropriate communication from himself, a copy of these resolutions to the Governors of the southern States, with the request that they be laid before the State convention of each State, as many as have assembled at the date of their reception; and that in such as have not, they be published in the newspapers of the State.
                Further enacted, That these resolutions take effect, and be in force from and after their passage.
                Approved Feb. 7th, 1861. 
    [This comes from original reaserch by
    Vicki Betts, Professional Librarian                        
    Cataloging and Reference
    The University of Texas at Tyler]



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