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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 45th Year 

Meets Fourth Tuesday; January-November
Founded March 1964

Second Presbyterian Church

600 Pleasant Valley Drive

Little Rock 
Program at 7 p.m. 
Rick Meadows, President /  
Dues $20 Per Year


Infrastructure of Arkansas in the Civil War 


Tom Dillard 

Tom Dillard, Head of the Special Collections Department of the University of Arkansas Libraries will be the guest speaker of the monthly meeting of the Civil War Roundtable of Arkansas on Tuesday, October 28.  

Active in Arkansas history circles, Dillard is a past president of both the Arkansas Museums Association and the Arkansas Historical Association. He was named Humanist of the Year by the Arkansas Humanities Council in 1984. In 2001 he was presented a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Arkansas Historical Association.  

His works include Researching Arkansas History: a Beginner’s Guide in 1979 and Arkansas History: An Annotated Bibliography with Michael Dougan and Timothy Nutt in 1995.

He currently writes a weekly Arkansas history column for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He is also the founding editor-in-chief of the on-line Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture. He and his wife, Mary Frost Dillard, are the parents of an adult son, Neil Q. Dillard, a Little Rock firefighter.

Dillard will bring a program about the infrastructure of Arkansas in the Civil War.  

The meeting will be held ad 7:00 at the Second Presbyterian Church at 600 Pleasant Valley Drive in Little Rock.   

Hope to see you Tuesday night! 

Rick Meadows


Early Roads in Arkansas 

The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture, a project of Tom Dillard, states that early travelers in Arkansas used rivers and creeks for transportation.

Military roads were constructed in Arkansas from the 1820s to the mid-1840s and used for troop movement. Some of the early trails in Arkansas were converted into military roads in the early 1820s. Two examples of these trails are the Southwest Trail, first used in the 1760s, and John Pyeatt’s Road, which Pyeatt built in 1807 from the Crystal Hill area to an Indian trail leading to Arkansas Post.

One of the most important military roads in Arkansas was the Memphis to Little Rock Road. Crossing the swamps of eastern Arkansas had always been a hurdle to population growth in the state. The construction of a road from Memphis to Little Rock opened a conduit that would allow settlement in western parts of the state. By 1827, sixty miles of the road had been constructed from Memphis west toward Little Rock, with the rest completed by the mid-1830s.

As Arkansas became a state, two things happened concerning roads; the first was Act 167 of 1836, which stated that all public roads laid out in pursuance of the laws of the territory or state of Arkansas were declared public highways. This act codified the existing territorial laws and placed the responsibilities of construction and maintenance of the public highways in the hands of the county courts. Secondly, the U.S. government, in an effort to improve federal mail service, began a new wave of road construction and reconstruction of the existing military roads. These post roads were constructed from 1836 to the late 1860s under local contract at federal expense. The cost of this work was split by the U.S. Post Office and the Department of Agriculture. These roads provided a network for communication and commerce in areas with no steamboat. Along with the construction of new roads, the old military roads were reconstructed as part of this system. The first of these roads, called “post roads” because they were built to facilitate the delivery of mail, in Arkansas was built very soon after statehood between Batesville and Lewisburg in Conway County. It utilized parts of the old Fort Smith to Little Rock military road, as well as new construction.

From 1836 to 1871, road construction in Arkansas did not change. Post roads continued to be constructed and improved, while public highway construction began to center on connecting the “roads to nowhere” to the post road system.

Old Wire Road

Railroads in the Civil War

By the time Arkansas seceded from the Union on May 6, 1861, only the Memphis and Little Rock Railroad’s thirty-eight miles of track from Hopefield (later West Memphis) to Madison were complete and operational. By 1862, the section of the Memphis and Little Rock Railroad from the bank of the Arkansas River opposite Little Rock to De Valls Bluff in Prairie County on the White River was completed. This was the only significant railroad construction to take place during the war. By 1865, the war had officially ended in the region, although major military operations in the state had ceased some time before.

Steamboats in the Civil

Steamboats at Vicksburg

During the Civil War both Union and Confederate forces exploited steamboats for rapid communication and transport of troops, horses, and supplies on Arkansas waters. Little Rock, Pine Bluff, DeValls Bluff, and Helena became major re-supply centers and shipping points, first by the Confederacy, then by the Union. Civilian vessels were chartered; in the case of the Homer, the Confederacy made use of it until its capture by the Union and scuttling in the Ouachita River in April 1864 at Camden. Bombardment of Confederate positions on land by Union gunboats was an important factor in the capture of St. Charles in Arkansas County on the White River in June 1862, the destruction of Arkansas Post in January 1863, and the defense of Helena July 1863. The Engagement at St. Charles included the scuttling of three steamboats by Confederates in a vain attempt to block the upstream advance of the Union fleet. The capture of Little Rock in September 1863 saw the sinking of more Confederate vessels, including the gunboat Pontchartrain. Throughout the war, Union-chartered steamers and specially built tin-clad nd iron-clad warships were fired on regularly from the shore, and Confederates even managed to capture and burn the tin-clad Queen City at Clarendon in June 1864. For additional information go to


Saved By the Bible

Soon after the Battle of Manassas, Stonewall Jackson wrote an amazing account of a Confederate soldier whose life was saved by a Bible. 

Mr. James Davidson’s son, Frederick, and William Page (son of my dear friend) were killed. Young Riley’s life was saved by his Bible which was in the breast-pocket of his coat… 

How ironic that a soldier’s life was literally saved by carrying his Bible into battle. Notice that he carried it in a pocket which covered his heart. Little did this soldier know that his habit of keeping the Word of God near his heart would one day save his life. 

We need more than just head knowledge of Scripture. It needs to rest deeply in our hearts.  When that happens, the Bible becomes a shield of truth protecting us from the enemy’s fiery arrows. It brings salvation, protection, comfort, and a shield against temptation. (PG 214) 

Stories of Faith and Courage from The Civil War: Battlefields & Blessings. Written by Terry Tuley, Chattanooga, Tennessee. 2006 

Article furnished by Steve Chamness of Cabot 


In Case You Missed It

Tom Ezell, member of The Civil War Roundtable of Arkansas took not only one tumble off his bicycle, but two on the third annual Big Dam Bridge 100 held on Saturday, October 4th.  Celia Storey, who writes for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, reported that volunteer, Tom Ezell had a “rocky morning”. He wheeled into the Mayflower rest stop with a bandage on his face, a battered knee and a sore rump. “I’ve kissed the pavement twice this morning.” He said.  His first tumble was caused by answering his cell phone while riding. He landed on the grass. 

His second fall occurred at Chester and La Harpe Boulevard in Little Rock. A rider ahead of him braked suddenly; he veered to avoid a collision, but his front wheel lodge in cracked pavement. “Flipped me right over my handlebars. I went scooting along about four feet of pavement,” he said.

He still had a long day with 75 more miles to go. On the way back he got a flat tire about 15 miles from the finish. He finished the 100-miler in eight hours and 40 minutes.

Ezell is a resident of Scott, Arkansas. He is a regular speaker to our Roundtable and is a Civil War re-enactor on the weekends when he’s not biking. Just think, Brig. General Marmaduke would have appreciated his cavalry covering 100 miles in eight hours!    Sore rump and all!

Reprint of article Arkansas Demcrat-Gazette, Monday, October 6, 2008 (PG 6E).



Preservations Efforts at Reed’s Bridge


David O. Dodd Marker 


Reed’s Bridge Battlefield

Your financial assistance is being called for 2 worthwhile projects in Central Arkansas.   

First, the Reed’s Bridge Battlefield Preservation Society and the City of Jacksonville are working together to preserve the site of the battle that occurred on August 27, 1863. Two key parcels of land are under consideration to purchase. One is across Hwy 161 from the present park. The amount for this part of the battlefield is approximately $55,000.  

The other parcel is south of the Bayou where Confederate artillery was stationed. This amount is approximately $70,000.  

Donations to preserve these core pieces of the battlefield can be mailed to:  

Reed’s Bridge Battlefield Preservation Society

100 Veterans Circle

Jacksonville, AR 72076  

Second, The David O. Dodd memorial marker will be relocated to a spot immediately behind the McArthur Museum of Military History in the coming months. The Arkansas Military Heritage Foundation is trying to raise $1500 for a new “Wayside Sign” to be placed at the Museum. This new sign will better explain the Dodd story.  

The goal is to have the signage in place by January to commemorate the 145th anniversary of Dodd's execution as a Confederate spy. Contributions are tax-deductible and should be sent to the Arkansas Military Heritage Foundation at the museum or to:

David Gruenewald 
63 Robinwood Drive 
Little Rock, AR 72227

Be sure to write “David O. Dodd Marker” in the memo section of your check. 

Thank you for your financial consideration in support of these efforts. 

Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission is your link to the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War in Arkansas. This new web site has news releases, research & education information, and detailed information to many of the Civil War sites in Arkansas. As a reminder, please contact your state legislators and ask for their support of the General Improvement Fund grant of $716,630 over 2 years. Monies will be used for markers, preservation efforts, publications, and grants for local observances.

November 30, 2008


An invitation has been sent to the public by the Save The Franklin Battlefield, Inc, to attend the 2008 Battle of Franklin Commemorative Illumination Ceremony. The ceremony will be held on Sunday, November 30th in front of the Carter House on Columbia Avenue in Franklin, Tennessee. Approximately 10,000 luminaries will be displayed to represent the total battle causalities: killed, wounded, and missing. The ceremony will begin at 4:45 P.M. and will include comments by author Erick Jacobson and period music performed by Olde Town Brass.   

For additional information, contact Save The Franklin Battlefield, Inc at:

P.O. Box 851

Franklin, TN 37065-0851



Prairie Grove – Here We Come!

December 5-6 

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Borden House 

At the last meeting of The Civil War Roundtable of Arkansas, we had 5-6 persons who expressed interest in a Civil War Battlefield Tour of Prairie Grove. With the 100th anniversary of the Battlefield Park, (1908-2008), we are planning on invading Prairie Grove on Friday, December 5.  

A representative from the Park may join us for dinner on Friday to add to the experience. In addition, we may have 1 or 2 noted historians join our group!  

The Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park will commemorate the 146th anniversary of the Battle of Prairie Grove with the presentation of a new original oil painting by Andy Thomas. In addition, historian and author, Dale Cox, is scheduled for a book signing of his new book, The Battle of Massard Prairie. We will participate in guided tours through Union, Confederate, and civilian camps and view various military drills. We will take part in an 1862 political rally, arguing for/against martial law and conscription. Some of you may even be removed to jail! Infantry and cavalry attacks will take place near the historic Borden House.  

Prairie Grove is recognized nationally as one of America’s most intact Civil War battlefields. On December 7, 1862 the Confederate Army of the Trans-Mississippi clashed with the Union Army of the Frontier resulting in about 2,700 causalities in a day of fierce fighting. This marked the last major Civil War engagement in northwest Arkansas. The United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) bought the original 9 acres in 1908. The State of Arkansas now owns 838 acres, including the low ridge that was the center of the Confederate line.  

Friday, Dec 5  3:00 P.M.  Depart Little Rock –Second Pres Church

            6:30    Arrive Fayetteville - Best Western

            6:45   Dinner in Fayetteville (Herman’s ) 

Saturday, Dec 6 6:-9 A.M.  Complimentary Continental Breakfast

                  9:00 A.M.   Visit Hindman Hall Museum

                  10:00 A.M.   Guided Tour

                                    Camp Life, Political Rally

                  12:00 P.M.  Lunch with Boy Scouts

                  1:00 P.M.  Battle Re-enactment

                  3:30 P.M.   Depart Prarie Grove

                  5:00 P.M.  Dinner – Russellville (Holiday Inn)     7:45 P.M.   Arrive Little Rock 

We will carpool up to Prairie Grove, 4 per car. If we have more than 8 persons on the tour, we will rent a large passenger van. Spouses are invited!   


Best Western, Fayetteville (2 people per room, 2 queen beds, non smoking) 

Room Rate $86.62 with AAA Discount

Room Rate $96.25 without AAA Discount

Museum Tour - free

Tour Guide – free

Parking at Park - $4 per car

Meals – not included

Gas and van rental not included 

Due to cold December weather, please bring warm clothes and hiking boots.  

For additional information and to register contact:

Rick Meadows (501-843-9090) 


Annual Conference 2009

Civil War Preservation Trust

The Fields of Gettysburg 
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania 
Thursday, June 4 - Sunday, June 7, 2009

What is Included

Conference Registration Fee Includes:

  • Tours
  • Tour guides
  • Coaches
  • Conference program
  • Name tags
  • breakfast, lunch, a reception, and a Saturday banquet
  • And more!

Fee does not include hotel registration; attendees must make their own reservations.


Early Bird Rate: $535 – before January 15, 2009

Regular Rate: $585 – after January 15, 2009

For additional information, please contact Melissa Sadler at 800-298-7878, ext. 208 or

Schedule and other information: 
Tours will include in depth tours of each day of the battle, Retreat from Gettysburg, Devil’s Den Then and Now, The Battles of Harrisburg and Carlisle and more.

Invited Speakers and Scholars Include: 
Garry Adelman, Ted Alexander, Ed Bearss, Kent Masterson Brown, Eric Campbell, Scott Hartwig, James McPherson, Wayne Motts, Richard Sommers, Jeff Wert, and Eric J. Wittenberg.

Tours will include:

  • Battles of Carlisle and Harrisburg
  • Battle of Gettysburg, part 1
  • Battle of Gettysburg, part 2
  • Devil's Den: Photos, Fighting and Folklore
  • Gettysburg Battlefield hike
  • Gettysburg Cavalry Tour
  • Retreat from Gettysburg
  • Roads to Gettysburg
  • Historic Homes (Friday only)
  • Pennsylvania Today (Saturday only)

The Wyndham Gettysburg, 95 Presidential Circle, Gettysburg, PA 17325. 
The group room rate is $135/night. Please call 866-845-8885 and ask for the "Civil War Preservation Trust" group rate. Reservations must be made by May 11, 2009. 


Jim Campi, Media Director for the Civil War Preservation Trusts, announces: 


(Washington, D.C.) - The Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT), the nation’s largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization, is accepting nominations for its annual report on endangered Civil War battlefields. The report, entitled History Under Siege, identifies the most threatened Civil War sites in the United States and what can be done to rescue them. 
“Too often the threats to our priceless historical treasures go unnoticed,” noted CWPT President James Lighthizer. “This report is a rallying cry to the nation, a powerful reminder that our hallowed battlefields are in imminent danger.” 
History Under Siege is part of CWPT’s ongoing effort to protect America’s remaining Civil War battlefields. Every day 30 acres of hallowed ground associated with Civil War battlefields fall victim to development, succumbing to the backhoe and the bulldozer. Once lost, these historic treasures can never be replaced. 
The 2009 endangered battlefields report will be released next Spring in Washington, D.C. Any Civil War battlefield is eligible to for nomination and consideration. The ten chosen sites will be selected based on geographic location, military significance and the immediacy of current threats. 
“From Pennsylvania to New Mexico, the battlefields where the Civil War was fought are under siege,” Lighthizer remarked. “Nominations from concerned citizens, history buffs and preservation activists help us stay aware of the most current threats to a wide variety of battlefields.” 
Among the ten sites identified in the 2008 report were Antietam, Maryland; Cedar Creek, Virginia; Perryville, Kentucky; and Spring Hill, Tennessee. The report also mentioned ten “at risk” battlefields that, although seriously threatened, did not make the final ten. Each year, the report raises public awareness of the threats to historic sites, leading to victories for preservationists. “Thanks in part to the publicity generated by the report, we expect continued successes in the remainder of the year and in the future,” Lighthizer predicted. 
Individuals and groups are encouraged to fill out the nomination form available online at Applications should include photographs of the site and a detailed description of recent threats. Nominations must be postmarked no later than October 10, 2008. 
With 65,000 members, CWPT is the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United States. Its mission is to preserve our country’s remaining Civil War battlefields. Since 1987, the organization has saved more than 25,000 acres of hallowed ground nationwide. CWPT’s website is located at

Scheduled Speakers in 2008 - 2009 

November Connie Langum - Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield 




January - Tom Wing  The Arkansas Experiences of Private Henry                            Strong, 12th Kansas Inf. 1863-65 

February - Mark Kalkbrenner General William J. Hardee 

March  - Don Nall  Nathan Bedford Forrest 

April -  Terry Winschel Vicksburg 

May  - Brian Brown  Fort Hudson 

June  - Drew Hodges TBA 

July  -TBA 

August -TBA 

September - C. Fred Williams TBA 

October - Mark Christ  TBA 

November - Bill Shea  TBA 

December  No Meeting  Merry Christmas

Planting the Union Flag in Texas

The Campaigns of Major General Nathaniel P. Banks in the West

Stephen A. Dupree

Appointed by President Lincoln to command the Gulf Department in November 1862, Nathaniel Prentice Banks was given three assignments, one of which was to occupy some point in Texas. He was told that when he united his army with Grant's, he would assume command of both. Banks, then, had the opportunity to become the leading general in the West—perhaps the most important general in the war. But he squandered what successes he had, never

rendezvoused with Grant's army, and ultimately orchestrated some of the greatest military blunders of the war. "Banks's faults as a general," writes author Stephen A. Dupree, "were legion." 

Readers will have a holistic understanding of Banks’”appalling” failure to win Texas and may even be led to ask how the post-Civil War era might have been different had he been successful. This fine study will appeal to Civil War buffs and fans of military and Texas history. 

Stephen A. Dupree is retired from Sandia National Laboratories, where he served as an expert in nuclear nonproliferation, international safeguards, and the detection and analysis of nuclear radiation. A lifelong interest in the Civil War, Dupree holds a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from Purdue University. He lives in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. 

Texas A & M University Press $40 cloth




Hope to see you October 28, 2008 at the Civil War Roundtable Meeting!


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