Monday, February 22, 2010

The War of Northern Aggression-Part 1

A commemoration of the War of Northern Aggression, or commonly known as the Civil War, will commence next year. In honor of this event, the Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission is looking to recognize all 75 counties for their special contribution, battle, and sacrifice in this historical era of our nation.

Baxter County has a special conundrum in this affair. First, Baxter County, Arkansas, did not exist until March 24th, 1873, which is clearly after the war. Therefore, I needed to scratch through the records of Fulton, Izard, and Marion County, Arkansas, from which Baxter County was drawn from. I also decided to pilfer through other surrounding county histories for the mention of any person, landmark, or reference to this area. What happened here was nothing short of heart-breaking and gut-wrenching meanness. The loyalties and lines between the North & South, immediate family & kindred, and friends & neighbors were so blurred with the passing of every regiment and skirmish. Some citizens of this area were traumatized at the sound of every beating of a hoof on the rocky soil and each snap of the primer that discharged releasing its’ conical slug.

All this leads me to the next problem. Due to the terrain and logistics, according to historians, there were no major battles in this area. I’m trying to figure out how many deaths and skirmishes constitute their definition of peace and sobriety. This area was fraught with the scourge of starvation and the depravity that truly makes my heart ache. I honestly swing in opinion on who was right and who was wrong and find myself in the strait betwixt which side to choose. I look at that time as a time of survival to live from day to day. Looking back, this area was so remote, its’ economy devastated, and society was consequently in desperate upheaval in with little or no chances for even the depraved carpetbaggers see the profit in coming to this area. That is why I love studying the history of the 1890-1910. I believe that is when this area really started to come back from the depravity of the Civil War. Nevertheless, it was not due to any government program. It was and faith in God and sheer determination. People struggled to put bread in their children’s mouths from legitimate revenue of farming, logging, and mining to the unsavory of path of moonshiners being chased by revenuers.

In the process to discover and trace the events of the Civil War in this area, I have been going through the book entitled: The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies or known as the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (OR). As I go through these reports over the next year or so, I will transcribe as many as possible that pertain to Baxter County area and the surrounding counties. These will include Boone, Fulton, Izard, Marion counties in Arkansas and Howell, Ozark, and Taney counties in Missouri.

Here is such one report. Enjoy.

Expedition into Marion County, ARK. 159 December 9-15, 1862. Expedition from Ozark, Mo., into Marion County, Ark.

Report of Brig. Gen. Egbert B. Brown, U. S. Army.

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., December 18, 1862.
I have the honor to report a successful scout of Captain Burch, Fourteenth Missouri State Militia, with 40 men of his regiment and company enrolled Missouri Militia, into Arkansas, burning and destroying the saltpeter works of the Confederate Government, including 5 buildings, 1 engine, 26 large kettles, 6 tanks, blacksmiths and carpenters shops and tools; $6,000 worth of saltpeter, packed, which was to have been moved in two days; capturing 500 barrels of jerked beef, together with a full supply of other provisions for the winter, and returning, without a casualty, with 42 prisoners, their arms, horses, and equipments. The affair is the more creditable, as a large force of the enemy was encamped within a few miles of the works; but so rapid and secret were the movements of Captain Burch that they were unapprised of them until he had accomplished the duty assigned him, and returned in safety. This is the fourth equally important and successful scout of Captain Burch in the past few months, besides numbers of smaller affairs. These are the same works reported to have been destroyed by Colonel Wickersham about a month since. The destruction was not complete, as they were again in full operation. The works cost the Confederate Government $30,000. They are now destroyed. The engine, tanks, and kettles were broken with sledges, and buildings burned. The cave is sufficiently roomy to work 100 men.



Works Cited:
Brown, Egbert B. “Expedition from Ozark, Mo., into Marion County, Ark..” The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies 34.46 (30 June 1864): 159. Making of America. Cornell University Library, Ithaca, NY. 30 Nov. 2010

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