Camp Shaver was established in 1861 in two locations. Located along Mill Creek in south Pocahontas, the Army of Northern Arkansas was commanded by General William Hardee (the force was later moved to Pitman’s Ferry in NE Randolph County). The men there prepared fortifications along the creek. Some 800 are said to be buried there (we don’t know exactly where), victims of a measles epidemic. The other part of Camp Shaver was Arkansas’s first and primary basic training camp. That was located in the area behind radio station KPOC in north Pocahontas.
When the Confederate Army of Missouri under General Sterling Price was run out of that state by Union forces, they relocated here. Constant disputes between Price and the Confederate generals here led the Confederate government in Richmond to create the Army of the West under Major General Earl Van Dorn early in 1862, headquartered here in the old St. Charles Hotel on the court square in downtown Pocahontas. Our City became headquarters for all Confederate forces west of the Mississippi.
All together, between 30,000 and 35,000 Confederate forces were stationed here at various times. All these forces were moved east of the Mississippi in 1862 to face Grant at the Battle of Shiloh.
Later in the war, thousands of Union troops were stationed here, at various times.