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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 43nd Year 
FOR THE MEETING TUESDAY,  October 23, 2007
Meets Fourth Tuesday, January-November

Founded March 1964 
Second Presbyterian Church
600 Pleasant Valley Drive

Little Rock 

Program at 7 p.m. 
VOL. XLIII, No. 10,

Ron Kelly, President/ Charles O. Durnett, Sec-Editor,  / 
Dues $15 Per Year


The Story of 

General Allison Nelson


Mike Polston

Allison Nelson (March 11, 1822 – October 7, 1862) was the ninth mayor of Atlanta, Georgia, as well as a brigadier general in the Confederate army during the American Civil War.

His father, John B. Nelson, who ran Nelson's Ferry across the Chattahoochee River, was an early DeKalb County settler who was murdered in 1825, when Allison was three years old, by John W. Davis.

Allison Nelson left for Kansas during the border disputes, then moved to Meridian, Texas, where he was involved with Indian affairs, serving under Lawrence Ross and in 1860 was elected to the state legislature. During the Civil War, he served as a brigadier general in the Confederate army until he took sick in September 1862 and died a month later. He was buried in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Our speaker was born in Alabama, but raised in Northeast Arkansas. As a graduate of Arkansas State University, he studied under one of our annual speakers Dr. Michael Dougan. Polston has taught at Cabot High since 1978 and is Director of the School museum.

He is presently the Staff Historian at the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture. He has always been interested in the Civil War and became interested in Allison Nelson when he moved to Cabot in 1978. Mike Polston was one of a team who helped restore Camp Nelson Confederate Cemetery graveyard in the 1980s.

Camp Nelson Confederate Cemetery is a historic cemetery located near Cabot in northern Lonoke County Arkansas and is the site of Confederate military camp where 1,500 Confederate soldiers died during an epidemic during the fall of 1862.

Camp Nelson is located on Rye Drive, just off Cherry Road, just off Mt. Carmel Road in north Lonoke County about 2 miles east of Cabot.

Camp Nelson was a central staging point in central Arkansas for Confederate troops gathering from Texas and Arkansas. The camp is named for Brigadier General Allison Nelson who was in command of the 10th Texas Infantry Regiment.

During the fall of 1862, an epidemic of measles and typhoid fever ran rampant through the troops congregated there. Approximately 1,500 Arkansas and Texas soldiers died of disease during a two-month period including Brigadier General Nelson himself.

Approximately 1,500 of these soldiers were buried in unmarked graves in the surrounding hills.

During the early years of the 20th century, Confederate veterans placed markers in honor of the unknown soldiers and erected a 12-foot obelisk to their memory at the site. The cemetery was not properly maintained and was soon overtaken by the forest undergrowth and became just a local curiosity out in the forest.

In the 1980s local residents, including members of the ROTC and local high school students, began a restoration project on their own and returned the cemetery to its original condition. It is the only All-Confederate Cemetery in the State of Arkansas.

 of Arkansas

I am writing from Lion Television, an independent production company in New York.  We are currently researching stories for the Sixth Season of PBS’s History Detectives.

History Detectives is a prime-time series about the discovery, documentation, and preservation of historic American buildings and artifacts.  Our program revolves around the investigation of questions posed by individuals interested in learning the background of artifacts or locations and their possible historical implications.

We are seeking story submissions from all over the country regarding historically or culturally significant American relics.  If you, or someone you know, have an object or building that may have played a key part in American history, tell us about your mystery.

The most promising ideas are historically significant and still unsolved.  If you have an ongoing investigation at this time, we would love to be a part of it.  Our research will continue through June of 2008, so if anything comes up in the future please let us know.

Questions and story ideas can be submitted to and I am happy to pass along a flyer for use in your facility if you’d like.   Thank you for your time.  I look forward to hearing from you!

Best Regards,
Kyle Silveri
History Detectives

Lion Television
304 Hudson St., Suite 505
New York, NY 10013
(ph) 212.206.8633 x 3878
(fax) 212.206-8636


The Jacksonville Museum of Military History presents War Stories Lecture Series

The Sinking of the Sultana!

They just wanted to GO HOME!  It had been four years of bloody hell.  The men that gathered by the thousands at the river’s edge were gaunt, half starved and their faded blue uniforms were threadbare.  Many were recently released from the notorious prisoner of war camp, Andersonville.  These men were no better than invalids were.  However, it was ok, because they were Going Home…or so they thought.  Little did they know there was one more hellish battle that had to be won.

As a continuing part of the War Stories Lecture Series, The Jacksonville Museum of Military History welcomes Jerry Potter of Memphis to speak on the most horrific steamboat disaster in history, The Sinking of the Sultana.  An attorney by trade, Mr. Potter is also the published author of “The Sultana Tragedy”, and has done extensive research from newspaper accounts, previously unused military, and government documents. 

Whether you’re a Civil War Buff, a History Lover or just Love to Learn this is a can’t miss presentation! 

When:  Thursday October 25th

Museum opens at 6:00 pm
  for touring.

Lecture starts at 6:30 pm. Where: Jacksonville Museum of Military History More info:
Call (501) 241-1943
or e-mail



Earthen Walls, Iron Men

Fort DeRussy,
Louisiana, and the Defense of Red River

by Mayeux, Steven M.

“ This book will be of great use to historians of the western theatre of the Civil War, to the reader of nineteenth-century history, and to students of the undergraduate and graduate levels. -Gary D. Joiner, author of Through the Howling Wilderness: The 1864 Red River Campaign and Union Failure in the West

Earthen Walls, Iron Men tells the story of Fort DeRussy, Louisiana, a major Confederate fortification that defended the lower Red River in 1863-64 during the last stages of the Civil War. Long regarded as little more than a footnote by historians, the fort in fact played a critical role in the defense of the Red River region. The Red River Campaign was one of the Confederacy's last great triumphs of the war, and only the end of the conflict saved the reputations of Union leaders who had recently been so successful at Vicksburg. Fort DeRussy was the linchpin of the Confederates' tactical and strategic victory.
Steven M. Mayeux does more than just tell the story of the fort from the military perspective; it goes deeper to closely examine the lives of the people that served in-and lived around-Fort DeRussy. Through a thorough examination of local

documents, Mayeux has uncovered the fascinating stories that reveal for the first time what wartime life was like for those living in central Louisiana.

In this book, the reader will meet soldiers and slaves, plantation owners and Jayhawkers, elderly women and newborn babies, all of whom played important roles in making the history of Fort DeRussy. Mayeux presents an unvarnished portrait of the life at the fort, devoid of any romanticized notions, but more accurately capturing the utter humanity of those who built it, defended it, attacked it, and lived around it.

Earthen Walls, Iron Men intertwines the stories of naval battles and military actions with those human elements such as greed, theft, murder, and courage to create a vibrant, relevant history that will appeal to all who seek to know what real life was like during the Civil War.

Steve Mayeux is a graduate of LSU and a former Marine officer. His work as an agricultural consultant in the central Louisiana area for the past thirty years has given him a great appreciation for the history and geography of the lower Red River.


October 23, 2007 - Mike Polston
General Allison Nelson
November 27, 2007 - Clem Papineau
Battle of Brownsville

We have some programs pending for 2008, if you have any suggestions please let Rick Meadows know.

We Who Study

      Must Also Strive To Save!





  For Mike Polston and

General Allison Nelson


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Civil War Round Table of Arkansas