Our 49th 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



 “Big Divide”

With Aaron Barnhart and Diane Eichkhoff


Join us Tuesday when Diane and Aaron join us to discuss their new book: The Big Divide: A Travel Guide to Historic and Civil War Sites in the Missouri-Kansas Border Region. Diane Eickhoff is a textbook editor turned historian. Her first book was Revolutionary Heart: The Life of Clarina Nichols and the Pioneering Crusade for Women’s Rights. She lectures for the Kansas Humanities Council.

Aaron Barnhart is the former TV and media critic for the Kansas City Star. He has contributed to the New York Times, Village Voice, CNN’s Reliable Sources, MSNBC’s Hardball, and Macworld. They have also co-authored stories for the New York Times’ “Disunion” project. They are currently collaborating on a nonfiction narrative set in 1850s Kansas. Sixteen years ago they moved from Chicago. Today they live in Kansas City, Missouri — two blocks east of the Missouri-Kansas state line.



Diane Eickhoff states that “the Missouri-Kansas border became the defining line for both Native American policy and for determining the future of slavery in this country. Who would own the land? Who would work it? I can’t imagine anything more consequential.”

In an interview with the Civil War Trust:

Civil War Trust: Exactly how important was this region to the Civil War and why? 

Diane Eickhoff: “Out here we say that this region — not South Carolina — is where the Civil War really began. The seven-year Bleeding Kansas-era was a testing ground for the larger conflict and the bloody prelude to four hard years of all-out war. The Missouri-Kansas border was the place where compromise ended and both sides took their stand. When the larger war erupted it was unclear whether Missouri would stay with the Union. Her governor-turned-general might have succeeded in winning Missouri for the Confederacy had the leadership in Richmond supported his gains and held fast. For the Union, control of Missouri was imperative. With its large population, enormous natural resources, and — especially — access to and control of the Mississippi River, Missouri was critical to Union control of the region.”

Civil War Trust:

Which sites would you suggest a Civil War enthusiast visit first and why?


Cannons at Wilson’s Creek (Rob Shenk)

Aaron Barnhart: I’d recommend making a beeline to southwest Missouri, around Springfield. Two of the nation’s 45 “Class A” battlefields are there, including Pea Ridge, just across the state line in Arkansas, where the Union Army wrested control of Missouri essentially for the rest of the war in 1862.

Wilson’s Creek, where the only major battle of 1861 besides First Manassas was fought, is a beautifully restored battlefield. And then just a short drive away is a terrific site that’s just emerging thanks to preservation efforts, at Newtonia, Mo. Ed Bearss has been a champion of Newtonia for years. It’s one of the few battles where opposing Indian regiments fought each other.

Civil War Trust: As interpretation of these sites continues, are there any new discoveries that have been revealed?

Diane Eickhoff: Significant sites are being uncovered on both sides of the state line, including Island Mound and Newtonia in Missouri. Over in Kansas, the Black Jack Battlefield near BaldwinCity is now acknowledged as the place where the first pitched battle of the Civil War occurred, five years before the guns began pounding FortSumter. This was where the abolitionist John Brown led a ragtag “army” of free-staters against a federal brigade, which was then supportive of the pro-slavery territorial legislature.

Ten years ago the land was put up for sale and a group of local preservationists quickly raised the money to buy it and then painstakingly restored it to its natural state as prairie. It was named a National Historic Landmark in 2012. The Friends of Black Jack have been absolutely heroic in developing this site and telling its story.

For more information visit (http://thebigdivide.com):




September,150 years ago, a Confederate force under General Bushrod Johnson and General Nathan Bedford Forrest engaged Union cavalrymen at Reed’s Bridge. In the ensuing fight, Forrest’s men eventually got the better of their Federal counterparts, but the Yankees had delayed the Confederate advance long enough for the Union Army of the Cumberland to concentrate along Chickamauga Creek. The bloodiest battle of the Civil War in the West had begun.


Last month, the Civil War Trust announced its effort to save 109 acres at Reed’s Bridge – the site of the opening action of the Battle of Chickamauga. September 18, on the 150th anniversary of this iconic battle, we are pleased to report that we have raised more than 75% of the funds needed to preserve this important piece of the Chickamauga battlefield. With just one more push, we can raise the last 25% we need to save what Ed Bearss called “one of the most significant tracts of ground that the Civil War Trust has saved in a long time.”

Ten Facts About the Battle of Chickamauga  September 18-20, 1863

The Civil War Trust is working to save 109 acres at Chickamauga.  To expand your appreciation for this preservation opportunity, please consider these ten facts about the Battle of Chickamauga.

Fact # 1: Chickamauga was the largest Confederate victory in the Western theater.

At the end of a summer that had seen the disastrous Confederate loss at Gettysburg and Vicksburg, the triumph of the Army of Tennessee at Chickamauga was a well-timed turn around for the Confederates.  Bragg’s forces at Chickamauga secured a decisive victory, breaking through Federal lines after two days of fierce fighting and the Yankee army into a siege at Chattanooga.  Bragg, however, could not afford another victory like the one at Chickamauga; he lost nearly twenty percent of his effective fighting force.  With 16,170 Union and 18,454 Confederate casualties, the Battle of Chickamauga was the second costliest battle of the Civil War, ranking only behind Gettysburg, and was by far the deadliest battle.

Fact # 2: The Confederate forces outnumbered the Federals at Chickamauga.

Hoping to bolster the Army of Tennessee, Mississippi divisions under Gen. Bushrod Johnson and troops from the Army of Northern Virginia under Gen. James Longstreet were sent to Georgia—the  Confederates’ attempt to transfer troops from one theater to another to achieve numerical superiority.  Longstreet had long advocated a concentration of troops in the West, and despite the resistance of Robert E. Lee, who believed the war would be decided in Virginia, in August Longstreet headed south with two divisions from the First Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia. This move paid off.  Bragg, once reinforced by Johnson and Longstreet, had 65,000 men at his command, compared to the 60,000 men of the Union Army of the Cumberland.

Fact # 3: The Union army did not expect to encounter the Confederates at Chickamauga.

After pushing the Confederates out of Chattanooga early in September, Union Gen. William S. Rosecrans assumed that Bragg’s demoralized army would continue retreating further south into Rome, Georgia.  He divided his army into three corps and scattered them throughout Tennessee and Georgia, with Gen. Thomas Crittenden remaining in Chattanooga, and Generals Alexander McCook and George H. Thomas positioned further to the South. When Thomas’s men encountered a large Confederate force at Davis’ Cross Roads, however, Rosecrans realized his mistake – Bragg had in fact concentrated his men at LaFayette, Georgia, where he was expecting reinforcements and was in close proximity to a vulnerable corps of Rosecrans’ army.  Rosecrans immediately ordered his forces to concentrate near Thomas at Stevens’ Gap.  When Bragg’s army crossed West Chickamauga Creek, the Federals had a fight on their hands.

Fact # 4: A fierce skirmish between Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest and Union troops at Reed’s Bridge marked the opening of the battle.


The Battle of Chickamauga (Library of Congress)

Early on September 18, Gen. Bushrod Johnson approached Reed’s Bridge with five infantry brigades, supported by Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest’s cavalry.  Union Col. Robert Minty, who was charged with guarding Reed’s Bridge, was positioned about a mile east with three infantry regiments supported only by a battalion of cavalry. At 7:30 a.m., Forrest began to skirmish with Minty, who could see long lines of Confederate infantry headed his way. Receiving well-armed reinforcements from Col. John T. Wilder’s Lightning Brigade, the Union troops resisted until noon, when, in one quick onrush, Minty was rapidly pushed across the bridge. He continued to delay Forrest’s cavalry until 3:30, when the Confederates began to ford the river just downstream.

Fact # 5: State-of-the-art repeating rifles played a decisive role in the battle.

Repeating rifles demonstrated their fatal efficiency at the Battle of Chickamauga. Col. John T. Wilder’s famous “Lightning Brigade” of mounted infantry was the first brigade in the Federal army to be armed with Spencer rifles, which enabled the shooter to get off 14 rounds per minute, as opposed to the 2-3 shots per minute of an average Civil War rifle.  Their superior guns enabled the Lightning Brigade to hold Alexander’s Bridge on September 18th in the face of two charges from Gen. St. John Liddell’s Confederates, delaying the Southerners from crossing the creek. The superiority of the repeating rifle would again be demonstrated by the Lightning Brigade on September 20th when, during Longstreet’s breakthrough of the Union line, a division under Gen. Thomas Hindman reached the Widow Glen’s House and were pushed back by unexpected fire from the Spencers of Wilder’s Brigade.  The fire was so heavy that Longstreet momentarily thought a new Federal corps had arrived on the battlefield.

Another unit, the  21st Ohio also demonstrated the usefulness of repeating rifles at Horseshoe Ridge.  These men were armed with Colt repeaters and were vital to holding the last Union stronghold on the field.   The carnage caused by the rifles shocked even the Union men wielding them.  After the battle, Wilder wrote “It actually seemed a pity to kill men so.  They fell in heaps; and I had it in my heart to order the firing to cease, to end the awful sight.”

Fact # 6: Thick woods and swampy terrain made Chickamauga Creek a particularly deadly place to fight.


Confederate troops advance through the woods (Library of Congress)

Chickamauga Creek, which has been roughly translated from Cherokee to mean “River of Death,” was deep, tree-lined, and bordered by rocky banks.  Most of the areas in which the armies fought were in thickets that presented, as one historian has called it, a “bristling, sticky, irritating obstacle.”

Throughout September 18 and 19, the terrain made clearly drawn battle lines impossible: commanding officers on both sides had little-to-no view of the field, and the armies constantly shifted positions as they unexpectedly ran into each other.  The fluid battle lines in dense woods led to vicious, close quarters combat. Throughout the 19th, as Gen. John Bell Hood moved against the Federal right and Gen. Patrick Cleburne led a sunset assault on the left, units could not easily see or cooperate with each other, leading to extraordinarily high casualties.

Fact # 7: Command confusion and luck enabled the Confederate victory.

On the morning of September 20th, in the face of repeated Confederate assaults, Rosecrans was furiously working to shift men to his hard-pressed left. Once again, the terrain at Chickamauga proved disastrous when the heavy woods concealed a Federal division, causing one of Rosecrans’ staff officers to report that there was a gap in the Union line. Without verifying for himself, Rosecrans ordered Gen. Thomas Wood to shift his division, an order which Wood knew to be a mistake yet followed to avoid reprimand. In a stroke of luck for the Confederates, Gen. James Longstreet had amassed eight brigades ready to charge at the Union line.  At 11:30 a.m., Longstreet ordered the charge forward, unwittingly aiming his striking force in the breach Wood had just created. The Confederates slammed through the line, routing the panicked Union soldiers who promptly scattered in retreat.

Fact # 8: Gen. George H. Thomas earned the name “The Rock of Chickamauga” for his steadfast defense of Horseshoe Ridge.

After Longstreet’s breakthrough, Union resistance crumbled as unit after unit fell back in disorder. With Rosecrans himself retreating back to Chattanooga, Gen. George H. Thomas took control of what was left of the army. His own troops held their ground at Horseshoe Ridge, a strong defensive position. Thomas rallied retreating men from other commands, encouraging them to halt on Snodgrass Hill and begin building breastworks. Longstreet, meanwhile, asked Bragg to reinforce his battle-weary troops, yet Bragg refused.  Throughout the afternoon, Longstreet’s assaults on Horseshoe Ridge were repeatedly repulsed.  Thomas soon received orders from Rosecrans to take command of the army and order a general retreat, which he did soon after nightfall.  For his determination to hold the Union position, even after his commanding officer had left the field, Thomas was later called “the Rock of Chickamauga,” and was considered by Ulysses S. Grant to be one of the finest generals in the Federal army.

Fact # 9: Bragg’s failure to pursue Rosecrans turned the Southern victory into a strategic defeat.

After the Confederate victory on the 20th, Generals Longstreet and Forrest wanted to push on the next morning to destroy Rosecrans’ army before it had a chance to reorganize. Although Bragg’s original plan was the destruction of the Army of the Cumberland and the recapture of Chattanooga, the results of two days of bitter fighting now stalled him. In the Battle of Chickamauga, Bragg had lost 20,000 men – more than twenty percent of his force.  Ten Confederate generals had been killed or wounded, and the losses among his junior officers had been severe. With an eye on his losses, Bragg refused to pursue the fleeing Federals, a move which turned the decisive Southern victory at Chickamauga into a strategic defeat.  Instead, Bragg planned to occupy the heights surrounding Chattanooga and lay siege to the city.  Just two month later, the reinforced Federals drove the Army of Tennessee from their positions around Chattanooga, permanently securing Northern control of the city.  Chickamauga—a battle which cost a Bragg fifth of his army—was turned into a hollow victory.

Fact # 10: The Chickamauga Battlefield was a part of the very first National Military Park

Toward the end of the 19th century, Civil War veterans including the Society of the Army of the Cumberland and the Chickamauga Memorial Association rallied support for creating a national park to preserve the battlefield at Chickamauga as well as nearby sites at Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge.  Congressman Charles H. Grosvenor (who commanded the 18th Ohio at Chickamauga) introduced the bill in Congress in 1890; it was signed by President (and fellow Civil War veteran) Benjamin Harrison in August of that year.  Dedicated on the Battle of Chickamauga’s 32nd anniversary in 1895, the Chickamauga and ChattanoogaNationalMilitaryPark became the first such park established by the Federal government, followed by Shiloh, Gettysburg, Vicksburg, and Antietam.

Though it was already the largest NationalMilitaryPark, Chickamauga and Chattanooga was not complete.  Even at the time of the park’s dedication, a key portion of the battlefield—the site of the opening action at Reed’s Bridge—could not be included in the park due to budgetary constraints.  Today, the Civil War Trust has the opportunity to continue a legacy that began over 100 years ago by acquiring 109 acres at Reed’s Bridge.  This ground, which the veterans themselves wished to preserve is, in the words of historian emeritus of the National Park Service Ed Bearss is “one of the most significant tracts of ground that the Civil War Trust has saved in a long time.”

Courtesy The Civil War Trust

Visit www.civilwar.org how to donate to save Reed’s Bridge.


Prairie County Historical Marker Dedication, October 5, 2013

Dedication Ceremony of the New Marker Commemorating DeValls Bluff in the Civil War.

The event will take place at RhodesPark on Highway 70 in DeValls Bluff at 2:00 P.M.

For additional information contact: :
Arnold Family Foundation, Highway 70, DeValls Bluff, AR 72041
Ph: 870-998-2012

MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History presents: 3rd Iowa Cavalry Flag Returns to Little Rock, September 11, 2013 – October 19, 2013

“The Colors That Bind:  Regimental Flags of the 3rd Iowa Cavalry and the 37th Arkansas Infantry”

On September 10, 1863, Confederate forces under the command of General Sterling Price evacuated Little Rock in advance of Federal forces, thus ending the Little Rock Campaign.  By 7:00 p.m., civil authorities formally surrendered the capital of Arkansas, making it the fourth Southern capital to come under Federal control.   The Little Rock Campaign was significant for several reasons. It effectively restricted Confederate Arkansas to the southern half of the state, ending plans to use the state as a staging ground for efforts against Missouri. Politically, it started the process of establishing a loyal state government under Lincoln’s Presidential Reconstruction.

To commemorate the 150thanniversary of the Little Rock Campaign,
the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History will host a temporary exhibit of two Civil War regimental flags  – the 3rd Iowa Cavalry and the 37thArkansas Infantry.  Troops from the 3rd Iowa Cavalry were among the first Federal troops to enter Little Rock and capture the Arsenal on September 10, 1863.  The framed flag from that regiment also contains ribbons from the unit’s various campaigns, including Pea Ridge, Vicksburg and Little Rock.  The flag from the 37th
Arkansas Infantry was captured by Iowa forces at the Battle of Helena on July 4, 1863.  Survivors of the 37thArkansas Infantry were among
those defending Little Rock in September 1863.

Both flags are on loan from the State Historical Museum, Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs and have never been exhibited in Arkansas before.  The exhibit is free to the public and can be seen from September 11 – October 19 during the museum’s normal hours.

For additional information contact:
MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History,503 E. 9th Street, Little Rock, AR 72202 Ph: 501-376-4602  www.arkmilitaryheritage.com/

Camp Nelson Confederate Cemetery: Saturday, October 12

Grand Prairie Civil War Roundtable with R.D. Keever


Local historian and CampNelson researcher, R.D. Keever will share a display and history of Confederate Camp Nelson on Saturday, October 12. The event will be from 1:00 P.M. to 4:00 P.M. Keever will set up his period tent and will bring his horse that will have period tack. On display will be artifacts from CampNelson. During the fall of 1862, 1500 Texas and Arkansas Confederate troops died of disease while at the camp. Keever will answer any questions concerning the history of the camp. CampNelson is located at the corner of Cherry Road and Rye Drive, south of Campground Road east of Cabot. For additional information contact the Rick Meadows with the Grand Prairie Civil War Roundtable at 501-327-9222 or rmeadows@aaamissouri.com



Civil War Roundtable Speakers 2013


Mark and Joe are participating in a prisoner exchange.

Joe will be our speaker in June, Mark in July!


  • January – William Shea – History Professor at the University of Arkansas at Monticello – Samuel Curtis: The Man Who Conquered Arkansas
  • February – StuartTowns – Retired professor and author from ForrestCity – Enduring Legacy: Rhetoric and Ritual of the Lost Cause
  • March – Lorien Foote – History Professor at the University of Central Arkansas – Trails of Blood: Escaping the Confederacy
  • April – Dr. Paul Haynie – History Professor at HardingUniversity – 7 Most Important Shots fired in the Civil War.
  • May – Brian Brown – Local historian – The Saps at the Battle of Vicksburg
  • June – Mark Christ – Community Outreach Director, Arkansas Historic Preservation Program –        Skirmish at Paroquet Bluff
  • July – Joseph Herron – Parker Ranger – The Battle of Arkansas Post
  • August – Conway Women’s Choir – Period Music
  • September – Aaron Barnhart- Author from Kansas City – The Big Divide: A Travel Guide to Historic and Civil War Sites in the Missouri-Kansas Border Region
  • October – Josh Williams , Curator at OldWashingtonState Park – Old Washington in the War
  • November – Rev. David Dyer, Pastor – Robert Lewis Dabney, Chief of Staff for Stonewall Jackson 

Thank you to the Conway Women’s Chorus who brought our program thru music last month!  We hope to see you Tuesday with Aaron Barnhart and Diane Eichkhoff.


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