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Civil War Round Table of Arkansas

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Our 46th Year 

Meets Fourth Tuesday; January-November
Founded March 1964

Second Presbyterian Church

600 Pleasant Valley Drive

Little Rock 
Program at 7 p.m. 
Jan Sarna, President 

Rick Meadows, Editor / 
Dues $20 Per Year


Forrest’s West Tennessee Raid

And The Battle of Parkers’ Crossroads


Evans Benton 

Long time member of our Civil War Roundtable, Evans Benton, will bring our program Tuesday about the exciting Nathan Bedford Forrest and the Battle of Parker’s Crossroads.  Benton grew up in Fordyce where in high school his interest in the Civil War was born when he wrote a paper on the Battle of Marks Mills in the context of the Red River Campaign. After graduating from the University of Colorado at Boulder, Benton received his law degree from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. Benton spent most of his business career in commercial litigation with an emphasis in agriculturally related cases. Working with Cal Collier, Jerry Russell, Charles B Trussell, Don Hamilton and other members of the Civil War Roundtable of Arkansas, Benton assisted in the publication of The Little Rock Campaign Tour driving brochure in the late 1990’s.

The Battle of Parker’s Crossroads

December 31, 1862

 Jack Hurst writes in his biography on Forrest that he “received orders from Bragg on December 10 to begin a march into West Tennessee. It was an important assignment designed to relieve Federal pressure on Confederate forces in Mississippi.” Without receiving requested supplies, Forrest “was forced to leave Columbia for West Tennessee without firing caps for the shotguns and pistols borne by his approximately 2,000 troopers.  Lacking even tents for shelter, he and his men crossed the wide and icy Tennessee River at Clifton December 13-15 in a hard rain.”

After crossing the river, an unnamed citizen was somehow able to procure 50,000 firing caps for his weapons. Forest approached Lexington and on December 18 attacked and routed an artillery unit and some 1,000 Federal cavalry and infantry there.  “From Lexington, he moved quickly westward to Jackson, where he drove in Federal pickets on all roads leading into the city and then destroyed railroad tracks coming in from the north and others leading out southward toward Grant’s Mississippi bases.” This was the main railroad to Corinth.

He hit Union City December 21, having captured on the way two U.S. companies at Rutherford Station. “After a short pause to rest his men, Forrest celebrated Christmas Day by disrupting the railroad from Union City southeastward to McKenzie.  Large numbers of Federal troops began gathering around him at Trenton, Humboldt, Huntingdon, and Lexington, and he left McKenzie moving southward away from the railroad December 28, hoping to evade action until he could strike the Federals and the railroad another blow south of Jackson at Bethel Station. He had trouble getting his artillery and wagons across a rickety and collapsing bridge over the Obion River.” Using sacks of flour and coffee to give him traction, his men worked all night in the drizzling sleet to cross the river. “It crawled along thoroughfares of mud until December 30, when scouts under Captain William Forrest (older brother) discovered a large enemy force some six miles away moving in their direction from Huntington.

 Forrest was moving southeastward from the village of McLemoresville when he struck a Union force of about the same size coming south along the Huntingdon Road; their routes intersected twelve miles north of Lexington at Parker’s Crossroad.” (PG 108-111) Federal forces were led by Brig. Gen. Jeremiah C. Sullivan and the brigades led by Col. Cyrus L. Dunham and Col. John W. Fuller. This area is near present Interstate 40 and State Highway 22.

Sullivan was from Indiana and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1848. He served 6 years at sea and saw action during the Mexican-American War. He resigned in 1854. During the Civil War Sullivan was appointed Colonel of the 13th Indiana by the Governor. He was commissioned Brig. Gen. on April 28, 1862 and was transferred to the Western Theater where he saw action at Iuka and Corinth. After he was given command of the District of Jackson, Tennessee, he tangled with Forrest.  

It was here that Sullivan had marched from Huntington and had gotten among the Confederates tending the horses of Forrest’s dismounted cavalry. Forrest was faced with a two-front problem with the Federals. When one of his subordinates asked Forrest how to solve this, Forrest responded: “Charge them both ways.” 

Join us Tuesday as Evans tells us about the Battle of Parker’s Crossroads

Parker's Crossroads Visitor’s Center


 Historical Marker Dedicated at DeValls Bluff

The third Sesquicentennial Marker in the state was dedicated in DeValls Bluff on Saturday, May 29th. The marker program is funded in part through the Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial  Commission. Local support from the Bill and Sharon Arnold Family Foundation and the City of DeValls Bluff made this marker possible. Other supporters were Judge and Mrs. Jim Rhodes, Mayor Brooks Castleberry, Bill Sayger of the Delta Depot Museum in Brinkley, and Robin Cohen.  

The marker is located at Rhodes Park on Highway 70 in downtown DeValls Bluff.  

Other markers are located at the McArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History and in the Lunenburg community in Izard County.


Civil War Bullets from Rick

  • Brian Brown, our Secretary/Treasurer, spoke earlier this month to the newly formed Grand Prairie Civil War Roundtable that is meeting in Lonoke. His topic was on the Battles at Fort Henry and Fort Donelson. He will bring this power point program to us next month.
  • Work is underway for a marker program and driving brochure that covers the Ashley’s Station and Jones’ Station Battlefield. The tour will run from near DeValls Bluff to Lonoke.
  • A task force to enhance Camp Nelson Confederate Cemetery and adjoining Schmidt Park in Cabot will soon meet.


 Virginia’s Governor Signs Preservation Legislation 

In the August 2010 issue of the Civil War Times, (which I receive in June?), we read that Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell joined legislators and officials on April 21 to celebrate the Commonwealth’s role in historic land conservation at the Wagner Farm at Chancellorsville. He signed legislation establishing the Virginia Civil War Sites Preservation Fund, a matching grants program to protect battlefield land, which has already saved nearly 2,000 acres at 24 battlefields.  McDonnell also announced $300,000 in grants for seven properties, five to be preserved by the Civil War Preservation Trust and two by the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation and Department of Historic Resources. (PG 14) Could Governor Beebe of Arkansas consider a similar fund?

Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission

Calendar of Upcoming Events

Bullets, Bandages and Ballads, June 26, 2010
Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park
506 E. Douglas
Prairie Grove, AR 72756
Ph: 479-846-2990

Heritage Trail Partners, Inc. will sponsor an event at Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park on June 26, 2010. At noon local historian Steve Burgess will give a talk on the Battle of Cane Hill. The Back Porch Players will perform at the Dogtrot House from 1:15-2:15 followed by a program on the Life of a Civil War Surgeon by Doug Kidd at 2:30.

 Legacies at Lunch, July 7, 2010
Butler Center for Arkansas Studies
Darragh Center, Main Library 100 Rock St.
Little Rock, AR 72201
Ph: (501) 320-5717

Mark Christ of the Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission will present "Civil War Arkansas: The REST of the Story," an overview of events in Arkansas between 1861 and 1865, from noon to 1 p.m.

Skirmish at Hurricane Creek, July 19, 2010
Bob Herzfeld Memorial Library
1800 Smithers
Benton, AR 72015
Ph: (501) 778-4766

Civil War historian Anthony Rushing will present a program on the skirmish at Hurricane Creek from 6:30 to 7:30 July 19 at the Bob Herzfeld Memorial Library in Benton. The public is welcome to attend.

Events are listed on the Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial commission web site. 

For additional information visit: 

Reed’s Bridge Update 

Work continues at the core 7 acre site along the Bayou Meto in Jacksonville. Recent additions are the placement of another cannon near where Confederate Lt. Charlie O. Bell was killed during the August 27, 1863, battle. Jimmy Oakley has graded a new circular road to the Federal and Confederate camps. Steve Shore & company have spent countless hours constructing a new log kitchen and have installed an information kiosk.

 Cannon facing north across the Bayou Meto                                 Informational Kiosk


We want to thank Mark Christ for his outstanding program last month on the Battle of Arkansas Post!  Check out his book about the Civil War in Arkansas in 1863. It is available at the Old Statehouse Museum bookstore.

Mark’s new book

Hope to see you Tuesday night with Evans Benton and General Forrest.

Civil War Roundtable Speakers 2010

Tell and invite a friend to join us! 

  • June –  Evans Benton – “Forrest’s West Tennessee Raid & The Battle of Parkers’ Crossroads

  • July –  Brian Brown – “Fort Henry and Fort Donelson”

  • Aug – Dr. Bill Gurley - “Confederate Grizzlies: Mosby M. Parsons and his Confederate Missouri Division”

  • Sept – Greg Biggs – “How Johnny Got His Gun”

  • Oct – Dr. William Shea – Trans Mississippi Army

  • Nov – Drew Hodges – “Confederate General Bushrod Johnson”