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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 42nd 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. XLII, No. 5,

    Jan Sarna, President  /  Charles O. Durnett, Editor, 
    Dues $15 Per Year


    3rd Arkansas at Wilderness and Spotsylvania

    As always, the Arkansans acquitted themselves with great galantry and bravery.

    By Cal Collier

    Cal Collier served in the U.S. Air Force, spending some of his time at LRAFB. A native of Virginia, he grew up on the Civil War, and, while he was in Arkansas, became interested in the activities of Arkansas’ Confederate soldiers. This resulted in his writing of three books:

    They’ll Do To Tie To, a history of the Third Arkansas Infantry which served in the Army of Northern Virginia;

    First In, Last Out, a history of the Capitol Guards (First Arkansas Infantry), which served in the Army of Tennessee; and

    The War Child’s Children, a history of the Third Arkansas Cavalry, which served under Forrest and Gen. Joe Wheeler (called the war child because of his slight stature). 

    Cal was a member of the Arkansas Civil War Centennial Commission in the early sixties, and is a Founding Member of our Round Table.

    He and Melba moved to Baltimore several years ago, to be near his children in the Washington, D.C., area, and his last surviving sibling. He is an active member of the Baltimore CWRT and has made several talks to that group. He has also spoken to the National Congress of Civil War Round Tables and the Confederate Historical Institute on several occasions.

    In 2000, he was the recipient of our group’s Patrick Cleburne Award, given for contributions to Arkansas Civil War history, joining Ed Bearss, Jerry Russell, Don Hamilton, and Bill O’Donnell, who were the previous recipients. Since that time, former Sen. Dale Bumpers has also become a recipient. This commemorative Calvary Sword is only given to those who have made a large contribution to the civil war community.


    Each May, Cal and Melba return to Little Rock for his Air Force squadron re-union, and we take advantage of those visits to add an outstanding program to our schedule.



    The 3rd Arkansas Infantry Regiment was organized by companies on July 5, 1861 and mustered into Confederate service for the duration the War. When Dr. W.H. Tebbs and Van H. Manning, a lawyer at Hamburg, Ashley county, organized two companies in early 1861 and marched them to Vicksburg, where they offered them to the Confederate States at Montgomery, Alabama, the Confederate secretary of war refused to accept them.

    The two officers then went to Montgomery, and by persistent entreaty, succeeded at length in securing their admission to the Confederate Army, for the war. Manning knew Congressman Albert Rust, then the Congressional representative for his district in southern Arkansas, obtained the assistance of his influence, and when Rust decided to enter the military service of the Confederacy, persuaded him to return to his home at Champagnolle, raise eight more companies, and follow on to some rendezvous where together they could organize a regiment for the service during the war.; Rust did so, and joined Manning at Lynchburg, where the regiment was organized, really the first, regiment from Arkansas, as regular troops of the Confederacy, enlisted for the duration of the war.

    The regiment was ordered to the mountains of West Virginia, where it performed arduous and discouraging service in the campaign on the Gauley and Cheat rivers. Hard marching under Stonewall Jackson (whom Col. Rust later described as an impracticable old schoolmaster who said grace before he ate and prayed before going to bed) in the Valley Campaign followed this. The regiment was engaged in the battles of Greenbrier and Allegheny. Under General Jackson at Winchester, in January 1862, the 3rd Arkansas marched to Bath and Romney, returned to Winchester, and was ordered thence to Fredericksburg and assigned to the brigade of Gen. Theophilus H. Holmes. Colonel Rust was promoted to brigadier general about this time, and was transferred to a command in the western armies. Van Manning was promoted to the colonel of the regiment succeeding Col. Rust, the 3rd Arkansas was engaged in the battles of White Oak Swamp, June 3, 1862, in J.G. Walker's brigade, on July 1, 1862 participated in the battle, of Malvern Hill, and was at Sharpsburg on September 17, 1862 where Col., Manning was seriously wounded. At Fredericksburg, again in December 1862, the 3rd Arkansas was assigned to Hood's Texas Brigade, with which it remained, until the end of the war.


    Here the regiment was additionally augmented by, the incorporation of Bronaugh's 2nd Arkansas Infantry Battalion of five, Arkansas companies. The regiment was not engaged at Chancellorsville, being engaged instead, with Longstreet's Corp. at Suffolk.

    The 3rd Arkansas participated in the, battle of Gettysburg with Longstreet's Corps, fighting in and in the vicinity, of the Devil's Den, and went with that corps to Tennessee in, September 1863 where it fought at Chickamauga (where the gallant Major, Reedy was mortally wounded), Chattanooga, Wauhatchie, and in the siege of Knoxville, TN.

    Returning to the Army of Northern Virginia in the spring, of 1864, the regiment fought with the Texas Brigade at the battle of the, Wilderness, May 6, 1864, marching at the double-quick several miles that morning to save the Confederate line and subsequently throw Grant's forces, back. Here Col. Manning was shot through the thigh and captured, being detained, a prisoner of war until July 1865.

    The regiment moved on to continue the, fight at Spotsylvania, and on to Cold Harbor. The regiment was at Deep Run on August 6, 1864; at Petersburg during the siege by Grant, at High Bridge and Farmville in 1865, and surrendered at Appomattox Court House with General Lee on April 9, 1865. At Appomattox, only 144 men remained to stack their arms instead of the nearly 1,500 mustered throughout the war.



    The CWRT sent a note to the family of Former State Historian, John L. Ferguson, (who died in March) and received a nice a thank-you card from the family.
    More News From the Infirmary, Robert F. Shaver, long time member and supporter passed last Tuesday.

    Last month, Don Hamilton mentioned several times the importance the Corinth railroad crossing played in The Battle of Shiloh. Here is the 22 square feet as it looks today in Corinth.





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    New is information on the Places Page about

    Battle of Massard Prairie

    Battle of Reed’s Bridge

    Devil’s Backbone


    PROGRAMS 2006
    June 27: John C. Scott, NPS –
    The Pea Ridge Story including
    Dr. Doug Scott’s recent archeological survey of the battlefield
    July 25: Dr. Bobby Roberts
    River War in Arkansas
    August 22: Don Nall
    The Drummer Boy
    September 26: Michael B. Dougan
    Snarling cormorants of newspaper filth:
    " The Civil War Press of Arkansas."

    October 24: Fred Williams
    Federal Occupation of Little Rock
    November 28:
    Election of Officers
    December 2006 –
     No meeting Scheduled in December
    We Who Study
          Must Also Strive To Save!

    Confederate Memorial Day honors

    fallen soldiers at Camp Nelson

    By John N. Felsher
    Staff Writer
    Standing in a damp field wearing a gray greatcoat, boots, a cavalry hat and a belt buckle emblazoned with “CSA,” E.J. Hart looks like a figure who stepped out of a history book.


    HONORING THE WAR DEAD: Rick Meadows, left, and E.J. Hart decorate Camp Nelson Confederate Cemetery on Confederate Memorial Day Wednesday.

    A colonel in the 58th North Carolina Cavalry, a Civil War re-enactment unit, Hart often attempts to recreate or at least make people remember history. On this chilly morning, mildly reminiscent of the dreadful winter of 1862-63, Hart and Rick Meadows, a Cabot history buff, placed flowers at the foot of the memorial at Camp Nelson Confederate Cemetery Wednesday.
    On April 26, Confederate Memorial Day, the two men paid homage to the soldiers who fought on both sides of the most divisive conflict in American history. They also honored all American soldiers who fought in wars before or since. Both Hart and Meadows claim family members who fought on one side or the other during the Civil War.
    “Confederate soldiers were American veterans, too,” Hart said. “They fought for their homes. The Confederate flag is not a racist symbol. It’s a symbol of our heritage.”
    Nearly 1.2 million American soldiers died during the Civil War, more than all other American wars combined. Just the Union Army suffered nearly as many casualties as American forces in both the European and Pacific theaters combined during World War II.
    Because of poor or nonexistent medical treatment, disease probably killed more Civil War soldiers wearing either blue or gray uniforms than bullets and cannonballs. At Camp Nelson during the winter of 1862-63, disease destroyed a Confederate army before it even fired a shot in anger.
    A typhoid epidemic and other diseases ravaged the 25,000 poorly supplied soldiers gathered to defend Little Rock from an anticipated attack by Union troops. One of the first to die, Brig. Gen. Allison Nelson, commanded a combined army of Texas and Arkansas soldiers. He fell to illness on Oct. 7, 1862. His troops buried him at Mount Holly Cemetery in Little Rock.
    The new commander, Brig. Gen. Henry E. McCullough, moved the unit from present-day North Little Rock to a bivouac at Camp Hope two miles east of Austin. He renamed the cluster of tents “Camp Nelson.”
    Disease continued to besiege his bedraggled soldiers much worse than any Union army could. Before the cold, wet winter of 1862-63 ended, he lost more than 1,500 soldiers from typhoid, measles and other diseases. Sickness incapacitated many of the starving, weak gray-clad survivors.
    In contrast, the 40-day Union campaign to take Little Rock during the summer of 1863 cost the Federals 137 battle casualties. The Confederates listed about 64 combat casualties before surrendering the city on Sept. 10, 1863.
    Before retreating from Little Rock, surviving Confederate forces at Camp Nelson buried the men where they could, often in communal trenches. Many other graves remain scattered throughout surrounding property. Stones or rotting crossed sticks marked a few graves, but most remained unmarked.
    In 1898, a group of Arkansas Confederate veterans searched the woods and discovered about 500 graves, most of them holding unknown soldiers. One veteran, James M. Gately, donated a parcel of land four miles southeast of the new village of Cabot. The aging veterans reburied the remains at what became Camp Nelson Confederate Cemetery, today the only all-Confederate cemetery in Arkansas.
    In 1905, the Arkansas Legislature appropriated $1,000 to build a monument at the cemetery. Today, people can see the aging 12-foot tall obelisk and the headstones at the cemetery off Cherry Road. After most of the veterans died, nature reclaimed most of the cemetery.
    For the past three years, Hart cut the grass and maintained the cemetery grounds at his own expense. Each Confederate Memorial Day, he places flowers at the monument to honor the soldiers who served.
    Confederate Memorial Day actually pre-dates the federal holiday. As early as 1862, Union and Confederate officers began noticing a grieving widow of a Confederate soldier and her child placing flowers at unmarked soldier graves. Other women took up the act of caring. Before the war ended, the idea spread through many women’s groups.
    In 1874, Georgia officially declared April 26 as a public holiday to honor its war dead. On April 26, 1865, three weeks after Gen. Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, Va., Gen. Joseph E. Johnson surrendered his army in North Carolina, the last Confederate field army to fight the Union. Some other states celebrate Confederate Memorial Day on different dates. In 1867, Nella L. Sweet wrote a hymn called “Kneel Where Our Loves are Sleeping” and dedicated it to “the ladies of the South who are decorating the graves of the Confederate dead.”
    In 1868, Gen. John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, a Civil War veterans group, proclaimed May 30 as “Decoration Day.” He chose that day as a time when flowers would be in bloom across the country. His organization placed flowers on the graves of both Union and Confederate dead. In 1873, New York became the first state to make Decoration Day official.
    Until after World War I, the “war to end all wars,” most Southern states ignored the May date, preferring to honor their dead on their own dates. After the horrors of that war ceased, people began using the May date to honor soldiers who fought in all wars.
    The term “Memorial Day, wasn’t used until about 1882. It didn’t come into widespread use until after World War II. In 1967, federal law changed the name of the commemorative day, but the U.S. Congress did not declare Memorial Day an official holiday until 1971.



    Celebrating The Heritage

    The 9TH annual Confederate Heritage Day ceremony was held April 15th on the State Capital grounds, directly in front of the Confederate Memorial. Sponsorded by the Central Arkansas Civil War Heritage Trail and the Arkansas Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, this heritage event was the largest held in the state.

    Heritage Day is a celebration of three separate events:

    Arkansas Confederate History
    and Heritage Month

    Honoring the Arkansas soldiers who died during the war years of 1861-1865 will be read at the Confederate monument located at the northeast corner of the capitol grounds. A bell will be rung following each name.

    An estimated 60,000 Arkansawers enlisted in Confederate units and that at least 6,800 are known to have been killed or died of disease during the War.

    Confederate Memorial Day

    Confederate Memorial Day is a day celebrated in Southern states to remember Confederate dead. It is generally held on the last Sunday in April.

    Immediately after the war ended in 1865, Southern women began the tradition of scattering spring flowers on the graves of soldiers, both Confederate and Union, buried in their hometowns.

    In 1868, the United States officially picked up the same tradition for the dead of all wars and it became the national Memorial Day, now held on the last Monday in May.

    Confederate Flag Day

    Confederate Flag Day was designated by Arkansas state Statute 69-110 and establishes the day as the Saturday immediately preceding Easter Sunday.

    Flag Day commemorates the wide variety of flags used by the Confederate States government and the military units.

    This was the ninth year that all three events have been combined into one, and one large event with over 40 reenactors and over 100 spectators some dressed in period clothes. At least 16 different patterns of flags were on display. Flags of Arkansas units and of the Confederate government and its army during the War.

    Among the organizations that took part in the event are the Arkansas Reenactors, Children of the Confederacy, United Daughters of the Confederacy, Order of Confederate Rose, Sons of Confederate Veterans and Military Order of Stars and Bars.



    Sam Davis Youth Camp
    Harriet, Arkansas,
    July 10-16, 2006

    In a survey conducted by the Center for Survey Research and Analysis in 2000, 65% of college to pass a high school equivalent American history test:

    - Only 23% correctly identified James Madison as the “Father of the Constitution”. 

    - Yet, 98% knew that “Snoop Doggy Dog” is a rapper.

    - Just over half, 52% knew that George Washington's Farewell Address warned against establishing permanent alliances with foreign governments.

    - Yet, 99% correctly identified Beavis & Butthead.

    In 1864, Major-General Patrick Cleburne prophetically warned: If the South should lose, it means that the history of the heroic struggle will be written by the enemy, that our youth will be trained by Northern school teachers, will be impressed by all of the influences of history and education to regard our gallant dead as traitors and our maimed veterans as fit subjects for derision.

    You can send a child to the Sam Davis Youth Camp for one week this summer. This fee includes room, meals, and educational materials. The Camp will permit our next generation to discover the values that made our Confederacy a great nation.

    To register a sons or daughters send a check payable to The Sam Davis Youth Camp, and mail to:

    Sam Davis Camp
    Post Office Box 59,
    Columbia, TN, 38402.

    When your registration has been received and processed, you will receive a confirmation by mail, followed by details regarding camp facilities and scheduled activities. Registration Deadline: June 1, 2006

    Co-Ed Camp: Monday, July 10 - Sunday, July 16, 2006 at the Shepherd of the Ozarks Christian Center, located near Harriet, Arkansas; Boys Camp: Mid-June 2006 in North Carolina. The cost for room, board, and all activities and needed supplies is $495.00 for each camper. Visit the camp website at






    Cal Collier

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