Thursday, August 15, 2013

Arkansas in the Civil War

Arkansas in the Civil War

According to the 1860 U.S. census, Arkansas had a free population of 324,335 and an additional slave population of 111,115. Arkansas recruited at least 50,000 men for the Confederate Army, and during the conflict the state suffered at least 7,000 killed and several thousands more wounded.

Arkansas formed some 48 infantry regiments, numerous cavalry regiments and artillery batteries to serve as part of the Confederate Army. A compilation made from the official rosters of the Confederate Armies as they stood at various battles, and at various dates covering the entire period of the war, shows that Arkansas kept the following number of organizations in almost continuous service in the field: 35 infantry regiments, 12 infantry battalions, 6 cavalry regiments, 2 cavalry battalions, and 15 batteries of light artillery.
While overshadowed by the larger and more well-known engagements in the east, Arkansas was the scene of numerous battles and skirmishes during the American Civil War. 

The 1st Arkansas Mounted Rifles, and the 1st, 4th, and 6th Arkansas Infantries would see considerable action as a part of Major General Braxton Bragg's Army of Tennessee. Including those regiments, all but one infantry regiment and all of the cavalry and artillery units served most of the war in what was known as the "Western Theater", where there were few battles that were on the scale of those in "Eastern Theater". That one infantry regiment, the 3rd Arkansas, served in the East where most of the major battles were fought, for the duration of the war, thus making it the state's most celebrated Confederate military unit. Attached to General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, the 3rd Arkansas would take part in almost every major Eastern battle, including the Battle of Seven Pines, Seven Days Battle, Battle of Harper's Ferry, Battle of Antietam, Battle of Fredericksburg, Battle of Gettysburg, Battle of Chickamauga, Battle of the Wilderness, and the Appomattox Campaign.

Arkansans of note during the Civil War include Confederate Maj. Gen. Patrick Cleburne. Considered by many to be one of the most brilliant Confederate division commanders of the war, Cleburne is often referred to as "The Stonewall of the West." Also of note is Maj. Gen. Thomas C. Hindman, a former United States Representative, who commanded Confederate forces at the Battle of Cane Hill and Battle of Prairie Grove. Brigadier General Albert Rust, through his political influence, helped to form the 3rd Arkansas Infantry Regiment, and until his promotion to general commanded that regiment. He later commanded forces at the Battle of Pea Ridge and the Battle of Shiloh, ultimately serving under General Sterling Price. Colonel Van H. Manning took over command of the 3rd Arkansas following Rust's promotion, and was commended for bravery in several engagements, most notably at the Devil's Den during the Battle of Gettysburg. Continue to Arkansas Civil War History

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