Our 46th Year – Founded March 1964


Meets Fourth Tuesday; January-November

Second Presbyterian Church – Program at 7 p.m.

600 Pleasant Valley Drive, Little Rock

Online:  www.civilwarbuff.org

Jan Sarna, President – Rick Meadows, Editor

RMeadows@aaamissouri.com / arcivilwarbuff@gmail.com

Dues $20 Per Year




Bill Shea


“The War That Never Was”

Dr. William Shea, History Professor at The University of Arkansas in Monticello will be our featured speaker on Tuesday night. He talk is titled: “The War That Never Was”.

A native of Louisiana, Shea earned his B.A. from Louisiana State University and a Ph.D. from Rice University.  He has been a Rockefeller Scholar at Colonial Williamsburg, a Fulbright Scholar in China, a consultant for the National Park Service, and a battlefield guide for the Smithsonian Institution.  Shea has authored or co-authored numerous books and articles on American military history, especially the Civil War west of the Mississippi River.

His latest book, Fields of Blood: The Prairie Grove Campaign, was  published last year by the University of North Carolina Press. The Civil War Round Table of New York awarded Shea with the Fletcher Pratt Literary Award for 2009, and Shea received the Arkansas Historical Association’s 2009 J.G. Ragsdale Award for this work.  Shea returns to us this year after he brought us a program on Prairie Grove last November based on his new book.

ISBN 978-0-8078-3315-5

His other works include:

  • Wilson’s Creek, Pea Ridge, and Prairie Grove: A Battlefield Guide (University of Nebraska Press, 2006)
  • Vicksburg Is the Key: The Struggle for the Mississippi River (University of Nebraska Press, 2003)
  • Pea Ridge: Civil War Campaign in the West (University of North Carolina Press, 1992)
  • The Virginia Militia in the Seventeenth Century (Louisiana State University Press, 1983)

Currently Shea is working on a biography of Samuel Ryan Curtis. Curtis was the Union general responsible for the victory at the Battle of Pea Ridge, the capture of Helena, and the repulse of Sterling Price’s 1864 invasion of Missouri and Kansas. Hopefully he will give us an update!

Many folks believe that the only battles ever fought in the Civil War took place in the Eastern Theater. They are surprised to learn of the numerous campaigns, battles, and skirmishes in the Trans-Mississippi. To them the war never was here.

Could part of this be that some have noted the Trans-Mississippi was the recycle center of both discarded Confederate and Federal Generals from the east? Did leadership from Richmond play a role? Did communication among the leaders have an impact? Did the vast geography and lack of newspaper coverage affect this attitude? How would you rate the generalship of Thomas Hindman, Theophilus Holmes, Sterling Price, Richard Taylor, and Kirby Smith? Were Nathanial Banks, Samuel Curtis, Frederick Steele, John McClernand, and A. J. Smith from a different mold? Join us Tuesday as Dr. Shea discusses the war that never was.


Welcome to our new member:

Dr. Phillip Snodgrass

Little Rock, AR

Arkansas Historical Association

ISBN 978-1-57233-700-8

In the recent issue of the Arkansas Historical Quarterly, Autumn 2010, we read about a wonderful new two-volume set, Confederate Generals in the Western Theater: Classic Essays on the Civil War, edited by Lawrence Lee Hewitt and Arthur W. Bergeron Jr.  Arguing that “understanding the outcome of the war can only be gained through greater knowledge of the western campaigns and the generals who waged them,” Hewitt and Bergeron have mined numerous academic journals to assemble a series of 25 articles that examine the successes, failures, and personalities of Confederate leaders.  Of particular interest to Arkansas historians will be an article by Craig L. Symonds on Patrick Cleburne at Chattanooga and Daniel Sutherland’s study of the career of Gen Daniel Chevilette Govan. This work is published by University of Tennessee Press for $45.95 per volume in cloth. Visit www.utpress.org or call 865-974-3321

David C. Hinze

Michael Epstein, editor of the Civil War Round Table of Kansas City, has informed us David Hinze, author, historian, and tour guide died of a heart attack on August 18 at his home in Rolla, MO. Hinze was 58.  “Hinze was best known as a historian and tour leader of Western Theater Civil War battlefields, including the lesser-known actions. He was a partner in Stars & Stripes Events LLC and tour guide for the Civil War Preservation Trust and other tour companies.” Your editor heard Hinze speak at the CWPT’s Annual Conference in Springfield two years ago. He was a co-author of The Battle of Carthage: Border War in Southwest Missouri. Hinze will be missed by all. Well done good and faithful servant.

Nomination of Officers for 2011

Tuesday night we will need to nominate a slate of officers willing to serve for 2011. Since November is election month, we too will vote on our officers. If you would like to serve, contact our President, Jan Sarna. Positions include:

  • President
  • Vice President
  • Secretary/Treasurer
  • Web Master
  • Newsletter Editor
  • At Large Member to the Executive Committee

Civil War Bullets from Rick

  • Visit www.arkansascivilwar150.com for information about the Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission
  • Scott H. Akridge, has announced that the dedication of a sesquicentennial marker will be in Searcy on Sunday, October 24th. Akridge is co-author of “A Severe and Bloody Fight: The Battle of Whitney’s Lane & Military Occupation of White County, Arkansas, May & June, 1862” Dedication will occur at 2:00. Please check our web site for directions.
  • Speakers for our programs in 2011 are being contacted. If you have a suggestion for a speaker or a topic, please contact your editor. We are blessed in Arkansas to have so many excellent speakers! We try to extend our hospitality outside our borders once or twice a year.
  • Thanks to Brian Brown who brings our books to raffle. Monies raised help reimburse our speakers for their traveling expenses. Thanks to all who participate!
  • If you have not mailed your check to support the Civil War Preservation Trust and assist your Roundtable in becoming a Color Bearer, bring your checkbook to the meeting on Tuesday!


  • Thanks to Greg Biggs from Clarksville, TN for his outstanding program last month on how Johnny got his gun!

  • Drew Hodges will be our featured speaker in November. His topic will be “Confederate General Bushrod Johnson”.

Elkhorn Tavern

Courtesy Craig Swain

Civil War blogger, Craig Swain, describes how the National Park Service has improved the historical integrity of Pea Ridge National Military Park.

“When established in 1956, Pea Ridge National Battlefield Park included over 4,000 acres of the core battlefield area.  Unlike many other fields, at Pea Ridge included nearly all the contested ground within the park boundary.  But that area included several dozen structures – homes, barns, cribs – none of which dated to the war.  Farmers cleared much of the wartime forests for fields in the years after the war.”

Visit the Civil War Preservation Trusts web site at www.civilwar.org for photos Swain has taken comparing the battlefield in the 1940’s to today. Swain continues, “So can you “restore” a battlefield? Perhaps.  In the case of Pea Ridge, the National Park Service worked for more than half a century to restore wood lines and clear non-wartime structures. Sure, no shopping complexes or apartments were leveled, but the starting point in 1956 was far from the 1862 appearance.  The change is remarkable, but is not the whole story.  The overhead views do not provide details of fence lines, artillery pieces, and a reconstructed Elkhorn Tavern.  For those touches, organizations outside the park aided the efforts (and rightfully should be covered in another post).

Hope to see you Tuesday night with Dr. William Shea as we discuss “The War That Never Was”

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