Our 48th Year

Meets Fourth Tuesday; January-November
Founded March 1964

Second Presbyterian Church

600 Pleasant Valley Drive

Little Rock
Program at 7 p.m.
Online:  www.civilwarbuff.org
Jan Sarna, President

Rick Meadows, Editor

RMeadows@aaamissouri.com / arcivilwarbuff@gmail.com
Dues $20 Per Year


“Battle of Pine Bluff in 1863”


Mark Christ

Join us Tuesday for Mark Christ’s annual visit to our Roundtable. We are blessed to have his knowledge of the Civil War and his passion for preserving and interpreting the history of Arkansas. Mark is the Community Outreach Director for the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, a member of the Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission, and on the board of the Arkansas Historical Association.

Last year Mark talked to us about the Spence Brothers from Arkadelphia. Tuesday he will bring a stirring program on Confederate General Marmaduke’s failed attack on Pine Bluff on October 25, 1863. Federal forces were commanded by US Colonel Powell Clayton who later became a Brig General and in 1868, elected the first Republican Governor of Arkansas.

Some of Mark’s works include:

  • Civil War Arkansas, 1863: The Battle for a State, 2010
  • The Die is Cast, 2010
  • All Cut to Pieces and Gone to Hell, 2003
  • Getting Used to Being Shot At: The Spence Family Civil War Letters. 2002
  • Rugged and Sublime: The Civil War in Arkansas, 1994


Civil War Bullets from Rick

  • Congratulations are in order to our Roundtable member, Marcia Camp, for her second place award for her poem which was published by the Poets’ Roundtable of Arkansas. This was the 71st Anthology of the group.

  • David Casto won the Charles O. Durnett Award for his article: “We are all right but my need assistance: The 8th Missouri Volunteer Cavalry and a forgotten skirmish near Augusta.” The award is in memory of Chuck who served as our Secretary and Newsletter Editor. He was also a member of the Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission and Chair of the Central Arkansas Civil War Heritage Trails.
  • Congratulations are also in order to Roundtable member Bobby Roberts for receiving the Arkansas Historical Association Lifetime Achievement Award!

Living History Event in Vicksburg

The National Park Service has announced a special event this first week of August at the Vicksburg National Military Park. Each summer rangers and volunteers offer demonstrations and activities.  Visitors are invited to watch artillery and rifle firings performed using the drills taught to the soldiers and sailors of the era. The Park staff and volunteers represent Co A, 1st Mississippi Independent Battery which fought during the Vicksburg Campaign.  During the siege, the company served two Napoleons.

Rick Rides With Stonewall

Earlier in June, your editor explored the Shenandoah Valley with Historian Ed Bearss on a weekend tour. I was able to gain valuable insights into the 1862 Shenandoah Valley Campaign commanded by Stonewall Jackson. Bearss, who is in his late 80’s was able to show us how the geography of the Valley shaped Jackson’s plan. The Blue Ridge Mountains, the Alleghenies, and Massanutten Mountain along with the south and north branches of the Shenandoah River afforded Jackson concealment.

Jackson’s soldiers were nicknamed “Foot Cavalry”. They covered 679 miles in 48 marching days, fought five major battles and defeated three separate Union armies. Our tour included battlefield stops at Kernstown, Front Royal, Winchester, Port Republic, and Cross Keys. The Valley Campaign drew 60,000 Federal troops from General George McClellan’s army near Richmond. Defeated Federal Generals were John C. Fremont, James Shields, and Nathaniel Banks, who later was involved in the Red River Campaign.

Items of interest are the preservation efforts at several locations. At Rose Hill, which is at the western end of the Kernstown Battlefield, the barns and silo are being restored back to the 1860’s. Also, restoration in underway at the stone wall where Confederate Gen. Richard Garnett faced stiff resistance and finally was forced to withdraw from the field causing Jackson’s rebuke. Jackson ordered Garnett  arrested for “neglect of duty.” When Jackson died after Chancellorsville, Garnett served as a pall bearer. Garnett would die during Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg. Only recently, have interested parties been able to walk the battlefield. The Kernstown Battlefield Association and the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley preserve the 1854 Pritchard house, Rose Hill, and the Battlefield.

Rose Hill at Kernstown

Victory at Cross Keys and the Widow Pence Farm

Another local preservation effort has been accomplished at the Cross Keys Battlefield in Virginia. Dr.and Mrs. Irvin Hess placed a bid on the Widow Pence Farm in June 2000 and purchased this property.  With the help of the Civil War Trust, an easement was placed on the farm to prevent any future development.  Our tour stopped at the Hess’ for lunch in their barn which also serves as a museum and teaching lab. Each summer they open the farm to children for a day camp which includes military drill. Nancy Hess has even narrated a video that tells the importance of the Shenandoah Valley and the battle that occurred on their property June 8, 1862. Nancy told us “Along the back boundary of the farm, Confederate General I. Ridgeway Trimble launched a surprise ambush attack against Union General Julius Stahel’s 8th New York.  By the end of the short 10 minute conflict, half of the 8th New York’s 500 soldiers lay as causalities.”

We were permitted to walk on this hallowed ground at their farm. Irvin and Nancy Hess understand the importance of preservation. Their preservation and education plans are a   model for others to consider. They welcome tourists with their southern hospitality!

For more information visit www.WidowPenceFarm.com

Pictured is Dr. Irvin Hess in the barn “pointing out” topographical features of the battlefield at Cross Keys.  Following this battle, Jackson turned his attention the next day on Shields at nearby Port Republic. Jackson was able to keep Fremont and Shields from uniting. He defeated each army on successive days. Following the Valley Campaign, Jackson would join Robert E. Lee in Richmond who had recently been given command of the new confederate army, The Army of Northern Virginia. Until then it was called the Confederate Army of the Potomac, similar to the Federal Army of the Potomac.

Mary Koik of The Trust sent this message: “During the opening luncheon of the Civil War Trust’s 2012 Annual Conference earlier this month in Richmond, VA., Civil War Trust president, James Lighthizer welcomed attendees and honored guests, including representatives of the Commonwealth of Virginia and numerous nonprofit partner groups.  Lighthizer recognized members of the Virginia General Assembly in attendance, as well as representatives of the Department of Historic Resources, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, and Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission.  Each of these entities, he stressed, has played a role in making the Old Dominion the nation’s leader in historic battlefield preservation.”

Perhaps in Arkansas the various groups will soon join together for the common goal of preserving our battlefields, sites, and buildings!

Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Update

Civil War Symposium – August 9-12 – Fayetteville, AR

An Empire in Extent: the Civil War est of the Mississippi

The seminar will be held at the University of Arkansas Global Campus in Fayetteville and is sponsored by the National Park Service and the Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission. Tommy Dupree, chair of the commission stated “Topics will include the vital issues that were at stake and the Civil War experiences of people living west of the Mississippi River, including Arkansas.  National known scholars from across the country will offer presentations on the war, life on the home front, and the experiences of the diverse peoples of the Trans-Mississippi.  In addition, historians will discuss the legacy of the Civil War west of the Mississippi and its meaning today.  The symposium also will include guided tours to Pea Ridge National Military Park and Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park.”

Registration for the conference is $25, and conference registration information and a full agenda are available at http://www.arkansascivilwar150.com/symposium/ .    For more information on sesquicentennial plans, visit  http://www.arkansascivilwar150.com/ or e-mail acwsc@arkansasheritage.org .

Old State House Museum Little Rock

May 4, 2012 to February 1, 2013

The Old State House Museum hosts its second exhibit to commemorate the sesquicentennial of the Civil War

May 4, 2012 to February 1, 2013.

Battle Colors of Arkansas

will show visitors the varied roles Arkansans served in the Civil War.

The Old State House Museum maintains a large collection of Arkansas related Civil War artifacts, Blue and Gray.  The most prominent of these is the museum’s collection of Civil War battle flags, which will be the focus of Battle Colors of Arkansas. Flags are powerful symbols, ones that unite and give meaning to those who would fight under their banner.  Many rare and unique flags are on display.  For Additional information, contact the museum at 501-324-9685.

Butler Center for Arkansas Studies

Opening July 13th from 5:00 to 8:00 P.M.

Invasion or Liberation? The Civil War in Arkansas

A Civil War exhibit built around the theme of “occupied Arkansas” will open in the Butler Center’s Concordia Hall on Friday, July 13, 2012, during 2nd Friday Art Night. Invasion or Liberation? The Civil War in Arkansas will provide a provocative look at the war in Arkansas. Through the use of letters, diaries, photographs, and artifacts, the exhibit will examine the multi-faceted history of Arkansans caught up in the conflict. For example, contrary to popular opinion, not all Arkansans supported the Confederacy. Considerable attention will also be devoted to the perceptions and experiences of outsiders who found themselves in Arkansas during the war. The Butler Center is located at 401 President Clinton Ave in Little Rock. The exhibit will run through October 27th.

Civil War Roundtable Speakers 2012

  • January – Mark Kalkbrenner – Pine Bluff in the Civil War
  • February – Roy Wilson of Sheridan – The Battle of Jenkins’ Ferry
  • March – Dr. Daniel Littlefield – Sequoyah Research Center at UALR, Role of Native American Indians in the Civil War
  • April –  George Lankford of Batesville Army of the Southwest in Batesville
  • May – Dr. Roger Pauly, History Professor at UCA – Armies of the Western and Eastern Theater and Their Differences
  • June – Mark Christ –Community Outreach Director, Department of Arkansas Heritage – The Battle of Pine Bluff
  • July – Alan Thompson – General Dandridge McRae
  • August Jerry Potter Attorney from Memphis, The Sultana
  • September – Dr. Bill Shea -History Professor at the University of Arkansas at Monticello –  Samuel Curtis: The Man Who Conquered Arkansas
  • October – Dave Bastain from Maryland – Grant’s Canal: the Unions’ Attempt to  Bypass Vicksburg
  • November – Dr. Bill Gurley – Professor at UAMS – Arkansas at Shiloh

Thanks go out to Dr. Pauly and his program last month. We hope to see you Tuesday night with Mark Christ!

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