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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. 10,
Jan Sarna, President/ Charles O. Durnett, Sec-Editor, 
Dues $15 Per Year


Elections, Tidbits, and Trivia

This month we have quite a few subjects to accomplish during the evening. In addition to the speakers presentation we have to elect and install the new officers for the coming year.
At the last meeting, Rich Meadows made and Charles Durnett seconded, a motion to form a Task Force to preserve the land surrounding the markers that identify the Battle of Little Rock. A discussion of the markers and the endangered land surrounding them ensued. The motion passed.
On the same subject, Don Hamilton reported on the progress of the printing of the Battle of Little Rock brochure. Subsequently, Don informed the board that a funding source might have been found. We need to have the master redesigned to include the Marmaduke Walker Duel Marker. CWRT of Arkansas would be responsible for that cost.

Vice President Ron Kelly
reported that the membership cards are being prepared and a list of businesses that will provide a discount is being developed. Wordsworth Books have already agreed to provide a 10 percent discount on purchases.
At the end of this newsletter is an excerpt of an e-mail sent to Mark Christ at the state Arkansas Historic Preservation Program. It gives high praise to his program and to the website maintained by the Civil War Roundtable of Arkansas (your organization).

Very special thanks to C. Fred Williams for his presentation at the October meeting on FEDERAL OCCUPATION OF LITTLE ROCK.  We all came away with some new knowledge.

Howard Stebbins

1910 to 2007

Albert Howard Stebbins, III, age 95, of Little Rock, died Wednesday, November 15, 2006. He was born in Little Rock, October 22, 1910. He was descended from a French Canadian family that settled at Arkansas Post as early as 1784, and in 1818 bought the “Spanish Grant” Bartholimew plantation (part of which is still in the family) adjoining the future North Little Rock. Howard attended Little Rock schools and was in the first graduating class of Central High School in 1928. He earned his A.B. degree from Harvard University in 1932. He married Elsie Bellingrath on October 17, 1934.
He served as President of both Stebbins & Roberts Paint Mfg. and the Coke a Cola Bottling Company of Arkansas. He served as President of many local civic and charitable organizations. Mr. Stebbins was a Navy Veteran; the last living member of the North Little Rock Airbase Committee, a 33* Mason, and member of St. Marks Episcopal Church.
An avid hunter and fisherman, he was a former state chairman of Ducks Unlimited. The amateur historian also donated collections of early Arkansas currency, pamphlets and maps to Hendrix College at Conway, the Historic Arkansas MuseumUniversity of Arkansas Library.
and the
He was inducted into the Little Rock Rotary Hall of Fame in 1991 and into the Aviation Hall of Fame in 1991.
He is survived by his wife Elsie Bellingrath Stebbins of Little Rock. They had three sons; Albert Howard Stebbins, IV deceased, James Edward Stebbins and wife Helena, of Hampshire, England, Theodore Leon, “T.L.” Stebbins and wife Lucinda of Wellesley, Massachusetts, nine grandsons, six great-grandsons, and two great-granddaughters.
Funeral arrangements were under the direction of Ruebel Funeral Home. You can sign the memorial book at


December 2006
 No meeting Scheduled in December

January 23, 2007 - Randy Philhours
Marmaduke Walker Duel

February 27, 2007

March 27, 2007  Brian Brown
Home from Gettysburg
April 24, 2007 - Miss Ellie
Women during the War Between the States
May 22, 2007 Cal Collier
June 26, 2007 W. D. Honnoll
M. J. Thompson: The Swamp Fox
July 24, 2007
August 28, 2007
September 24, 2007
October 23, 2007
November 27, 2007
We Who Study
      Must Also Strive To Save!


Thanks to Chuck Durnett for helping me by suggesting, some of the questions for this month's quiz.  I have written these quizzes for nine months now and I feel that they have been fun and, hopefully, educational for some of you. 
Last year about this time Jan Sarna, who was the incoming President, asked for ideas for ways to add interest to the meetings and I suggested the use of the monthly quiz.  So we implemented the quiz portion of the meeting.  I did not intend at the time to do this on a permanent basis and I hoped that various members would step forward and volunteer at the meetings to write a quiz for the next month. 
This has not happened and I feel that if there is still interest in the quiz as part of the meeting routine, then in order to keep it going we need volunteers to come forward.  If collectively the membership is not interested then the time has come to discontinue the quiz. 
So, this is the last quiz I plan to write.  This is not to say that I would not volunteer to put out a quiz at some future date.  However, if we are to continue the quiz then we need some volunteers to step forward now.


We all know that many civil war battles have another name that they are popularly known.  Some lesser-known battles have six or even more names.  The use of dual names is due in many cases to the union using the name of a nearby river or body of water and the south’s tendency to select names of towns or settlements. Sharpsburg and Antietam is a good example. 

See if you know another name for these battles:


A reminder that it is time to pay your $15 dues to the organization. This helps us bring in the special speakers that you all enjoy during the year.
Also, with the coming year you will be receiving a membership card for the very first time (with discounts to selected businesses). One of the benefits of belonging to CWRT of Arkansas.



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We Who Study Must Also Strive To Save!

           TUESDAY NIGHT

[Excerpts from a visitors letter]
Dear Mark Christ:
As a fellow history enthusiast and tourist, I wanted to give you my opinions, first impressions, and observations regarding the Arkansas Civil War sites I recently visited, while they are still fresh in my mind. I want you to know that these are just my opinions, with the goal of giving your Civil War Heritage Trail teams one tourist's views of what he had seen. My wife and I visited these sites together, so I incorporate some of her thoughts on this as well, but most of them are mine. As a trustee of the Ohio Civil War Trail Commission, I realize the value of receiving opinions of travellers visiting from out-of-state.
They often bring an impartial view of where things are going well, and where things might improve. Because of the outstanding assistance the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program staff gave me in providing me the most recent Arkansas Civil War pamphlets and brochures prior to going to Arkansas, and because of the access to the top-notch web sites and, I only feel it is fair that I let you know how that material helped me, and what I saw when I visited the sites.
A Little Background of Me
To let you know what kind of tourist I am, I want to give you a little bit of background of myself. I am in my late 30's, and I am a professional engineer living in Cincinnati, Ohio. I'm the current program chairman of the Cincinnati Civil War Round Table (a member since 1995), and former preservation chairman of that group. I've studied the Civil War for over 25 years, mainly as a researcher and battlefield site documenter. I've written several Civil War papers, and I have spoken to groups throughout Ohio, particularly on John Hunt Morgan's 1863 Indiana-Ohio Raid, which is the subject of my most recent research.
I am also a Trustee of the Ohio Civil War Trail Commission, which became Ohio's first Civil War heritage trail organization in 1999, working under the guidance of the Ohio Historical Society. I have also been a tour guide at Perryville Battlefield State Park, at Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati, and at the Camp Dennison Civil War site near Cincinnati.

I have researched and visited over 700 battlefields across the nation, from nearly every major American war, but mostly from the Civil War. My wife is also a Civil War buff, but she prefers going to military sites where there are signs and walking trails.

Our trip to Arkansas
My wife and I visited Arkansas November 3 - 11, 2006. We just returned home last Sunday. My wife and I toured 46 battlefields (mostly skirmishes) throughout Central and Southeast Arkansas. Most of these battlefields were unmarked, of course, and were not mentioned in any of the materials given to me by the Arkansas Heritage Preservation Program. Some of these unmarked sites are gems, but most are not. However, I will not comment on them. I will only remark upon those places that the literature and web sites talk about.
About the literature and web sites
The and web sites are outstanding. They are amongst the best I have ever seen in the area of state Civil War Heritage Trail web sites. Not only do they cover the tourist sites for people to visit, but they also give notes about what is actively happening amongst the preservation organizations within Arkansas. I especially find unique that the site gives details about all of the small skirmishes fought in the state, with an excellent search engine to help out.
I consider Arkansas's Civil War Trail web sites comparable to those of Maryland and Virginia, which are considered the premier statewide Civil War Heritage Trail web sites in the USA. Please keep up the great work on your internet sites!
The brochure entitled A Guide to the Arkansas Civil War Heritage Trail: A Scenic Tour Map of Arkansas was colorful and very helpful. I really enjoyed the smaller, lesser-known, out-of-way sites that it mentioned. The Arkansas Civil War Discovery Trail Guide pamphlet was also very well done in this respect. Both of these publications excited me to visit Arkansas Civil War sites. I thought these were much better done than, for example, Tennessee's equivalent brochure named A Path Divided: Tennessee's Civil War Heritage Trail.
The Little Rock Campaign Tour pamphlet was also excellent. The stops were well-directed, up-to-date, and accurate in their historical facts. The interpretive panels at each stop, though their clear laminate covers are cracking so badly that they are now difficult for people to read, are very well placed, are unbiased, and are quite informative. The panel texts are complimentary to the brochure text, which is also great. Furthermore, the stops covered the most important sites of the campaign, based upon my research from the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion and from Dyer's Compendium of the Civil War. Awesome!
My best experiences on the Civil War Heritage Trail in Central and Southeast Arkansas
St. Charles. This place was beautiful, especially at the public boat landing and at the gravel road that runs along the west river bank on the northeast side of the Broadway silos. It would be even better to have an interpretive panel here or at the museum next to the monument on Broadway. What is the meaning of the fake siege cannon that is sitting in a private yard on the road leading to the public boat landing, just across from the metal historic sign for the battle?
Marks Mill Cemetery Park. The work done here by the local history/nature buffs (particularly the Colvins) is outstanding. The Marks Mill Battleground State Historical Memorial park is disappointing, because it only contains the area of the second position of the 43rd Indiana regiment. However, the Marks Mill Cemetery Park adds lots of value to this stop, because it takes people on a journey back into time, with excellent markers, monuments, and trails. The Battle Trail was my favorite. Some of the battlefield is preserved at the Cemetery Park, too.
Bayou Fourche battlefield at Remmell Park. The view of Bayou Fourche from the history pavilion is excellent. It has not changed much in 140+ years, except that the grounds are mowed. This stop, combined with the battle monument stop at the bridge near where the Confederate artillery was placed, made for a great experience and a good start at interpreting this key battle of the Little Rock Campaign.

Ashley’s Mills and Terry’s Ford
stops on the Little Rock Campaign tour. The interpretive panels were well-placed and easily accessible, and definitely gave the visitor a feel for what happened at each of these places. We enjoyed the conglomeration of old buildings from the town of Scott at Ashley’s Mills. We could see the battlefield clearly from this location.
Reed’s Bridge Battlefield. This is certainly the BEST “small-action” battlefield in Arkansas that I have visited so far. It is not as good as Parkers Crossroads in Tennessee, for example, but it is better than small-action battle parks like Britton’s Lane and Jackson in Tennessee. To make Reed’s Bridge battlefield better, it would need to have more markers, trails, and lands to visit. A museum would be wonderful, but not necessary. I know these things are trying to happen at Reeds Bridge, based upon what I read from the Battlefield Updates. Please keep up the awesome effort here!!!
Mount Elba battlefield. Again, the Colvins made this top somewhat worth the drive down the long gravel road to Mount Elba. I liked the monument and marker that they placed on the north side of the river. There were lots of deer hunters there the day we visited, and we could not get down to the river ford due to it being on private property (Keep Out signs all over the place), but the visit was nice. It would be great to have some battlefield land here preserved just east of the ford, on the north side of the river, where the heaviest fighting occurred.
Ditch Bayou battlefield’s markers. These markers were placed perfectly on the Confederate line at Ditch Bayou. It was easy to visualize the battle from here. Despite the modern buildings on the battlefield, there are still lots of battleground adjacent to the bayou that has not been disturbed, and could be made into a battlefield park.

Arkansas Post National Memorial. Simply wonderful! Much of the battlefield is preserved, although some of it is inundated. We hiked the Confederate Trenches trail, as well as many of the other park trails. My wife really liked this place.

So did I.

My disappointing experiences on the Civil War Heritage Trail in Central and Southeast Arkansas
Poison Spring battlefield. The kiosk markers here were good, but the Battleground Memorial park itself is only a small piece of the battlefield, and it lies mainly behind the center of the Union lines. There are no “battle” trails with interpretation, only nature trails, and those are cut in the area of the Union retreat. The good thing is that the battlefield (across the street from the Battleground Memorial) is mostly on State Park land. The next step would be to open up that land to public entry with the addition of trails and markers in the areas of the heaviest fighting.
Prairie D’Ane battlefield. I saw no markers for this battlefield, and no signs directing the visitor to it. The directions in the Guide to the Arkansas Civil War Heritage Trail were ambiguous, saying that the battlefield is located “northwest of I-30 at Prescott.” Where is it northwest of I-30? On which roads? I know this is privately owned land, but a marker in the public right-of-way would be helpful, and more specific directions would have been good. The Depot Museum was closed, so we could not ask about it there. However, it should not be a requirement that the visitor must go to the museum in order to know where the actual battle took place.

Pine Bluff’s courthouse square. I expected an interpretive panel to be here, at the least, but I saw only a plaque describing the Oct 25, 1863, battle. Interpretation could be made better here for this battle that cost so many Confederate lives.
L’Anguille Ferry battlefield could use a marker or interpretive panel, located along SR1. None of the brochure information told exactly where the battle occurred.
Best opportunities I observed for Civil War battlefield land improvement in Southeast and Central Arkansas
Being a battlefield preservationist, I know that battlefield land purchase requires (1) funding, (2) willing sellers, (3) a fair market price on the land, and (4) a dedicated group of persons to work out the details, like at Reed’s Bridge. I was told that the Arkansas Preservation Program does not perform land purchasing. However, if there are folks in the state that are handling battlefield land acquisitions

in Central and Southeast Arkansas, the comments below are meant for them.

Poison Spring State Park could open up its state-owned lands and allow visitors to walk around the true battlefield land, located across the street from the current Battleground Memorial. It would be appropriate to be able to walk the ground where the 1st Kansas troops fought.
There are some lands that still could be saved at Bayou Fourche that would add value to this battlefield. Namely, I saw a large hay field lying on the north side of Fourche Dam Pike and just east of the bridge over the bayou. The Union lines stretched through here. Also, it would be great to allow visitors to access the small parcel of land where the Confederate artillery was placed, on the south side of Fourche Dam Pike, just across the street from the battle monument. Access to the lands between the bayou and the Arkansas River would be good, too.
Purchasing and opening up the fields just east of the Ditch Bayou bridge on US82, on both the north and south sides of the highway, would add a lot to the interpretation of Arkansas’s last major battle. These fields are where most of the Union casualties were inflicted. Also, there is undisturbed land adjacent to the bayou where the Confederate lines were placed that could be saved. US82 is very busy, which implies residential and commercial growth is not far behind.
A small battlefield park at Prairie D’Ane would be appropriate.
Thanks very much for listening. Overall, I feel that Arkansas is doing a great job in interpreting and trying to preserve its Civil War sites. It certainly should receive an ‘A’ for effort in this area compared to some other states I have visited.
That’s why I wrote this note in the first place. If I hadn’t thought there is any active effort going on to save and mark Civil War sites, I would not have bothered. By the way … I will be coming back to Arkansas again … for more Civil War visits!
Take care, and good luck!
David Mowery
VISIT THE BATTLEFIELDS  WHEN YOU CAN...                                                     WHILE YOU CAN