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Our Civil War History: Pocahontas’ Strategic Location

When Arkansas voted to secede from the United States in 1861, Arkansas’ Governor Rector ordered every available soldier in the state (members of the State Voluntary Militia like the Hempstead Rifles militia pictured above) to report to Pocahontas.  The reason was that this was the logical invasion route into Arkansas by Union forces in Missouri.  To our west was the virtually roadless and rough terrain of the Ozarks.  To the east were the vast, swampy and also roadless wetlands of eastern Arkansas.

Henry Massie Rector (1816–1899), Sixth Governor of Arkansas

Henry Massie Rector (1816–1899), Sixth Governor of Arkansas

Here in Randolph County there was a road—the federally maintained “Old Military Road”, as well as river transportation and supply from here into central Arkansas.  Pocahontas was the focus of the defense of Arkansas in the early years of the war.  The Port of Pocahontas was the main Confederate supply depot in those early years.  Pocahontas was also the location of the first Confederate military hospital in the state.

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Bill Carroll

Bill Carroll

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1 Comment

  1. THOMAS SCHMIDTTHOMAS SCHMIDT08-20-2013

    BACK WHEN I WAS YOUNG ,WE WOULD PICK UP LEAD BULLETS ALL THE TIME AT THE CORNER PYBURN AND DALTON STREET-WE HAD SHOE BOX FULL-NEVER THOUGH ANY THING ABOUT THE CIVIL WAR-MUST HAVE BEEN A LARGE ENCAMPMENT THERE AT ONE TIME .I BET IF YOU WENT AND DUG AROUND THERE YOU COULD STILL FINE MANY,ALSO ARROWHEADS. I LIVED AT THE CORRNER OF PARK AND PYBURN. MY UNCLE JOE SCHMIDT OWNED THE LAND THEN

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