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Our 43nd 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. XLIII, No. 6,
Ron Kelly, President/Charles O. Durnett, Sec-Editor, 
Dues $15 Per Year


The Swamp Fox

 Brigadier General Jeff Thompson

By W. Danny Honnoll

The presentation might also be titled M. Jeff Thompson - The Forrest of the Trans-Mississippi or as the Federals might put it "the Swamp Rat". Thompson was an able leader though out the war but like Forrest kept losing his command only to gain another.
Brigadier General Jeff Thompson was one of the most famous Confederates to be imprisoned at Fort Delaware. He was held there for the spring and summer of 1864. A colorful character with a distinct personality, his diaries reflect a stay at the Fort that might almost be described as pleasant, due to luxuries granted him because of his Officer status. He was known as a gambler and ladies man,
whose military prowess earned him celebrity status. At the outset of the war, Thompson raised and led a battalion of cavalry. He had great success using guerilla tactics; ambushing and seizing ships and soldiers on the Mississippi River, and disappearing into the wilderness.

Jeff Thompson
 as portrayed in

Dubbed the "Missouri Swamp Fox", Thompson was never a full Confederate General, but was treated as one by the army. He commanded as many as 5,000 troops. In August of 1863, he was captured in Pocahontas, Arkansas. He arrived at Fort Delaware in the spring of 1864.
Thompson was transferred from Fort Delaware under unique strategic circumstances. During the shelling of Charleston, Confederate General Sam Jones brought 50 Federal officers into the town and advised Union General Foster to cease bombardment or risk killing his own men. The Union countered this bold move by placing Confederate officers in the way of rebel shells. Thompson was one of the first Confederate officers placed on the ships in the direct line of fire.
Eventually, 600 Confederate officers were transported from FortDelaware to Charleston Harbor, living in deplorable conditions, under fire from their own guns. They are memorialized in the South to this day as "The Immortal 600". Thompson was brought into CharlestonJuly 29, 1864, when negotiations for prisoner transfer were finalized. After his release, Thompson went to Mississippi and again took up his command. He finally surrendered his brigade on May 9, 1865 after General Lee's surrender. 
W. Danny Honnoll is the former Commander of the Arkansas Division and Life member of Sons of Confederate Veterans and MOS&B. He is President of the Arkansas Civil War Heritage Trails Foundation and serves as a member of the Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission known as the 2011 commission.
(CWRT sits as the Central Arkansas Civil War Heritage Trail and Charles Durnett sits on the 2011 Commission.)
Honnoll is President of the Arkansas State University Museum Advisory Council, and vice president of the NEASHF at Jonesboro.  He was the keynote speaker at the Lee/Jackson Banquet at Monroe, LA in Jan. 06.


Cal Collier For last months program.

It was good to see Cal & Melba again and to get a chance to visit.

The Scouts
The Outriders checking for Yankees in Northern Arkansas. [Chalk Bluff Reenactment May 2007.]

By Secretary/Editor Charles Durnett
I will summarize where we stand on CWRT meeting space and the requirement that we change location.
We have a meeting scheduled at the Fletcher Library [72205] June 26. A conflict with the July meeting exists that we have known about for some time. Ron Talked to the Terry Library (on Napa Valley) about meeting there in July, but nothing was firm. Scheduling ahead, we were okay for August, but when we reach September, it was evident that another organization was going to beat us to the schedule every time.
It was announced at the March meeting that we may have to look for another meeting place, but we did not seriously discuss it until April. At the May meeting we had, some possible alternative meeting places the discussion became very serious. A number of alternatives were mentioned and details have been worked out in the ensuing days.
1) Ron Kelley has opened the possibility of meeting at the Arsenal in MacArthur Park. It would be available indefinitely and is a good meeting place. It would be free and we would have complete access. It had some obvious difficulties, such as accessibility and security. These are all manageable problems requiring a little extra work from our officers.
2) David Gruenewald contacted Second Presbyterian and they were very willing to rent us a room on our night for $10 per month and willing to contract for a year at a time. There is some concern about finding the room once you are on the grounds. In addition, some have mentioned that the governing board changes its mind from time to time. It is also in west Little Rock, but has easy access to the Interstate.
3) Don Hamilton has talked to Bobbie Roberts and Mary Louise Cantwell at the Thompson Library at 38 Rahling Circle. That location would be available to us and could be booked for the entire year. However, it is in very west Little Rock.
4) Jan Sarna checked UALR and learned that the UALR Library cannot be used, nor can any of the other possible facilities.  He was told that University policy prohibits non-UALR groups, and all groups not sanctioned by the UALR administration, from using on-campus facilities. He says, “Sorry to bear such bad tidings, but this is an apparently new policy that the Library directors were not aware of, either.”
The only barometer that I can think of is the zip codes that I mail to each month, and those are:
Out-of-state             5
Outside Pulaski         25
North of the River      9
Downtown 72201-04       13
Midtown 72205-09        18
West L. R. 72210-27     29

Museum Partners Outline Fund raising Program
Richmond, VA: The Museum of the Confederacy recently joined national online fund raising efforts by becoming a Museum Partner with Partnering with hundreds of museums across the country, serves as a means to raise much needed money to support operating costs. Online shoppers can have a portion of their purchase donated to the Museum’s annual fund with no extra cost.
Over 200 national retail merchants participate in and offer a percentage of sales to the Museum at no extra cost to the consumer. Examples of merchants include, Ebay, Lands’ End, The Sharper Image, USA Today, Office Depot, Chef’s Catalog, Delta Airlines, and Orbitz. For an entire list of retailers, please go to
Participation is simple and secure. To designate a portion of an online purchase to the Museum of the Confederacy, simply go to and log in.
Then choose to support the Museum of the Confederacy. Shoppers click on the link of the store they would like to visit and go about their shopping. The Museum of the Confederacy asks for your support when shopping online.

The HOLCOMB (JOHN M.) PAPERS, 1862-1863.
Repository: Center for American History, The University of TexasAustin 
Biographical Note: John M. Holcomb [also Holcombe] (1821-1863) was born in South Carolina. He married Caroline Amanda BlantonTexas, possibly in Llano County.
On March 31, 1862, he enlisted in Allen’s Regiment of the 17th Texas Volunteer Infantry at Camp Terry, Texas. In September of that year, he was stationed at a camp near Tyler, Texas. From there he moved east into Arkansas, writing from Camp Nelson, BrownsvilleArkansas), Austin (Arkansas), Little Rock, and Camp Pine Bluff, where he was taken ill with progressive pulmonary tuberculosis in January 1863. He was unable to perform his duties from that time until his discharge from the army on April 25, 1863.
In June, he wrote to his wife, complaining of continued ill health and asking her to send someone with “a hack long enough for me to lye down in ... I pant to git home [sic].” John Holcomb died in Arkansas
Scope and Contents: Fourteen letters from John Holcomb to his wife Amanda recount his experiences in the army at various camps and towns in east Texas and Arkansas, and the progress of his illness. Eleven letters from William S. Fowler and Charles Keton to Amanda Holcomb concern John’s health, events in Arkansas, as well as family and business affairs in Texas. The collection includes documents relating to John Holcomb’s military career, a forensic analysis of the medical statement on his discharge certificate, and an 1861 manuscript draft of six verses to “Dixie Land”. at and lived with her in ( in 1863 and was buried in an unknown place.

July 25, 1863 





About 6 Miles N Of Lonoke

June 26, 2007 W. D. Honnoll
M. J. Thompson: The Swamp Fox
July 24, 2007 - Dr. Thomas A. DeBlack
August 28, 2007 Don Nall
Jo  Shelby
September 24, 2007 - Nancy Dane
Conflict Along the Arkansas River Valley
October 23, 2007 - Mike Polston
General Allison Nelson
November 27, 2007
We Who Study
      Must Also Strive To Save!
On August 18, 2007, the Old State House Museum in Little Rock  Watch for announcements and program notes. All are welcome to attend for a minimal fee, which usually includes lunch. will host its annual Arkansas Civil War History Seminar.


I have already recommended it to a friend who has been laid up for a few weeks.  Chas. Durnett


The Civil War Memoir of Joseph M. Bailey
Edited by T. Lindsay Baker

Reminiscences of a Confederate soldier and guerrilla

Confederate Guerilla Joseph M. Bailey’s memoir, Confederate Guerrilla, provides a unique perspective on the fighting that took place behind Union lines in Federal-occupied northwest Arkansas during and after the Civil War. This story—now published for the first time—will appeal to modern readers interested in the grassroots history of the Trans-Mississippi war. Bailey participated in the Battle of Pea Ridge and the siege of Port Hudson, eventually escaping to northwest Arkansas where he fought as a guerrilla against Federal troops and civilian unionists. After Federal forces gained control of the area, Bailey rejoined the Confederate army and continued in regular service in northeast Texas until the end of the war.

Historians will find the descriptions of military campaigns and the observations on guerrilla war especially valuable. According to Bailey, Southern guerrillas were motivated less by a sense of loyalty to either the Confederate or the Union side than by a determination to protect their families and neighbors from the “Mountain Federals”. This partisan war waged between the rebel guerrillas and Southern Unionists was essentially a “struggle for supremacy and revenge”.


Comprehensive annotations are provided by editor T. Lindsay BakerBailey’s late-life memoir.
T. Lindsay Baker is the W. K. Gordon Endowed Chair in Texas Industrial History and the director of the W. K. Gordon Center for Industrial History of Texas, Tarleton State University. He is the author and editor of numerous books, including the award-winning Lighthouses of Texas and the forthcoming American Windmills: An Album of Historic Photographs.
University of Arkansas Press
Available May 2007
$29.95 (s) cloth

Little to Eat and Thin Mud to Drink

Letters, Diaries, and Memoirs from the Red River Campaigns, 1863–1864

Little to Eat and Thin Mud to Drink does more than just document the history of the Trans-Mississippi conflict of the Civil War. It goes much deeper, offering a profound, extended look into the innermost thoughts of the soldiers and civilians who experienced the events that took place in Louisiana, Texas, and Arkansas. Gleaning from a rich body of rare journals, diaries, and letters, this groundbreaking book demonstrates the significant impact that military operations in this 
region had on the local population in years between 1863 and 1865.
Readers will be introduced to the many different individuals who were touched by the campaign, both Confederate and Union. Ably edited by Joiner, a leading expert on the Trans-Mississippi conflict, and others, some of these manuscripts are witty, others somber, some written by Harvard- and Yale-educated aristocrats, others by barely literate farmers. All profoundly reflect their feelings regarding the extraordinary circumstances and events they witnessed.
In Little to Eat and Thin Mud to Drink, readers will have access to the diary of James A. Jarratt, a Confederate sergeant whose cogent narratives dispute commonly held views of the Battle of Mansfield. Representing a much different point of view is the diary of Private Julius Knapp, whose lengthy diary sheds light on the life of a Northern soldier fighting in the ill-fated Union march through Louisiana in 1864. A rare glimpse into the diary of a Southern woman is offered through the fascinating and melancholy musings of plantation belle Sidney Harding. Readers will also encounter the private letters of a French prince turned Confederate officer; of Elizabeth Jane Samford Fullilove, the angst-ridden wife of a Confederate soldier; and many others.
These first-person narratives vividly bring to life the individuals who lived through this important, but often neglected, period in Civil War history. Little to Eat and Thin Mud to Drink will engross anyone interested in exploring the human side of the Civil War.
Gary Joiner is an assistant professor of history at Louisiana StateUniversity in Shreveport and the director of the Red River Regional Studies Center at LSUS. His books include One Damn Blunder from Beginning to End: The Red River Campaign of 1864 and Union Failure in the West and Through the Howling Wilderness: The 1864 Red River Campaign and Union Failure in the West. He is also the coeditor, with Marilyn S. Joiner and Clifton D. Cardin, of another volume in the Voices of the Civil War series, No Pardons to Ask, nor Apologies to Make: The Journal of William Henry King, Gray's 28th Louisiana Infantry Battalion.

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