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


“General Dandridge McRae”

With Alan Thompson

of Prairie Grove

Join us Tuesday with Alan Thompson and his program on Confederate General   Dandridge McRae. A native of Searcy, Thompson studied history at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. As a freshman in 1991, he began volunteering at Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park. He became a seasonal interpreter and eventually full time. Thompson is currently the registrar at the park and his primary responsibility is maintaining the artifact collection and exhibits at the park. He also performs research for visitors who seek information on soldiers who participated in the December 7th battle just west of Fayetteville in 1862. He also gives guided tours of the battlefield.

Thompson also is the Chairman of the Northwest Civil War Heritage Trails. He has developed a driving tour of the Cane Hill Battlefield which was part of the Prairie Grove Campaign as well as other skirmishes.  Last year Thompson received a Director’s Special Commendation for his efforts on the renovation of the museum at Prairie Grove.

Dandridge McRae was a native of Searcy in White County. During the Civil War he saw action at Wilson’s Creek, served as a Regimental Commander at Pea Ridge, Brigade Commander at Prairie Grove and at Helena on July 4, 1963.

In addition to his military involvement, Alan Thompson will discuss Dandridge McRae after the war during reconstruction in Searcy. Arkansas Governor Powell Clayton, who Mark Christ discussed at last month’s meeting, sent an agent to Searcy for a special assignment. Join Alan as he brings this story or corruption and mystery to life. McRae, Arkansas is named in his memory

Civil War Travels with Rick

In last month’s newsletter I detailed my summer trip with noted historian Ed Bearss and our tour to the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. This month, just before the 4th of July, I met my daughter and son-in-law in Atlanta for 2 baseball games. The Braves and Cubs split the two games we saw. Chipper Jones even had 5 hits one night! Back to the 1860’s.

I have been to Atlanta several times in the past and have visited several Civil War sites including Kennesaw National Battlefield Park, the Atlanta History Center, the Cyclorama of the Battle of Atlanta, and Pickett’s Mill Historic Site. I have never been to Jonesboro, GA.

Late August 1864, Sherman sent six of his seven corps around the left flank of the Confederate Army with the intent of tearing up the railroads leading into Atlanta from the south. The last major engagement in the Campaign for Atlanta occurred August 31 -September 1, 1864 at Jonesboro. Patrick Cleburne had taken over command of the Corps while General William Hardee was in Atlanta in conference with General John Bell Hood. Following the Confederate defeat and his supply lines destroyed, Hood is forced to abandon Atlanta.

Patrick Cleburne Cemetery, Jonesboro, GA

There are no preserved battlefields in modern Jonesboro, a suburb of Atlanta. However, as you drive through the town, one can at least gain a sense of the geography.
At the rebuilt Railroad Depot, which has been converted into a museum and gift shop, there is a section of the museum that depicts the battle. Most travelers to Jonesboro today enjoy the Road to Tara Museum that maintains an exhibit of “Gone With the Wind” which is part of the Railroad Depot. In addition, there is the Patrick Cleburne Cemetery at the north end of town which was near the battle.

In addition to Patrick Cleburne, Arkansans have another connection to the Battle of Jonesboro. The apex of the salient was held by Daniel Govan’s Brigade made of Arkansas boys. Govan and approximately 600 of his troops were captured, including their regimental colors!

What brings my trip to Jonesboro full circle is the Exhibit at our own State House Museum in Little Rock. The exhibit is called Battle Colors of Arkansas.

Last Saturday I spent part of the morning examining the 18 flags on display. Included are at least 4 flags that were captured at Jonesboro!

  • Key’s Battery Artillery Volunteer Light Artillery
  • Combined 1st and 15th Regiments Arkansas Volunteers
  • Combined 8th and 19th Arkansas Volunteer Infantry
  • 3rd Confederate Infantry Regiment

1st and 15th Regiments Arkansas Volunteers

Captured at Jonesboro, GA

Combined 8th and 19th ArkansasVolunteer Infantry

Captured at Jonesboro, GA

Hart’s Battery

There are other flags on display. The Old State House Museum also acquired a Confederate First National pattern flag attributed to “Hart’s Battery,” otherwise known as the “Dallas Artillery” as it was organized at Dallas, Arkansas (Polk County) in August 1861. Apart from Hart’s and Key’s (already in the Museum’s collection) flags, no other flags of Arkansas artillery units are know to exist. Thanks to the Old State House for the photos and description.

In the mid 1870’s there was a proposal to return the captured Confederate Flags to their respective states. There was such uproar from northern citizens that this idea was quickly scrapped. According to Gregg Biggs, who narrated the video portion at the museum, when southern boys volunteered to serve in the Spanish-American War in 1898, healing began. The boys of gray now put on the blue uniforms and fought side with their northern comrades at San Juan Hill while others served in the Navy at Santiago Harbor and in the Atlantic.

In 1905 many of the captured Confederate Flags were returned to the Southern States by the US War Department. The 3rd Confederate Infantry Regiment flag was captured by the 113th Ohio Volunteer Infantry and returned to Arkansas in 2001. Several other flags were returned recently by Missouri. Our Roundtable made a small contribution to help in the cost of restoration.

Contributors to the exhibit include: Gregg Biggs, Bill Gurley, Bobby Roberts, Carl Moneyhon, Mark Christ, Tom DeBlack, and William Shea. Thanks!!!

Part of what we lost in 1864 has been found and has come home.

Civil War Event, August 25

“A Divided Arkansas”
9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Dr. Carl Moneyhon – Political situation in Arkansas
Dr. William Shea – Overview of what happened in a year bookended by the battles at Pea Ridge and Prairie Grove
Dr. Daniel Sutherland – the rise of guerrilla warfare in 1862 and the formation of the Union counter-guerrilla outfits.

This event is free but reservations are required. Call 501-324-8641 or

E-mail Georganne@arkansasheritage.org to make your reservation.

Visit Battle Colors or Arkansas while at the Old State House Museum in Little Rock.

Civil War Bullets from Rick

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

“An Empire in Extent: the Civil War west of the Mississippi.”

Visit www.arkansascivilwar150.com for details

  • Invasion or Liberation? Thru October 27 Butler Center, Little Rock

“The Civil 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.

  • Great News for the Friends of Jenkins’ Ferry Battlefield

Mark Christ has announced: The American Battlefield Protection Program

has awarded this organization a $40,000 grant to finance preservation

plan. This is the first step in this worthwhile project.

Help save 14 key acres at Chancellorsville,

Jim Lighthizer, President has announced a fund raising effort to purchase land which Jackson made his famous Flank Attack. Together with Central Virginia Battlefield Trust, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and a grant from the Federal government, only $95,000 is needed to complete this land acquisition.

Send your donation to The Civil War Trust, PO Box 17686, Baltimore, MD 21298

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 – David Casto, Charles O. Durnett Award winner –The 8th Missouri Volunteer Cavalry and a forgotten skirmish near Augusta.”

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

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