Friday, January 6, 2012

January 7, 1862 - An Early Account of Arkansas Feds

Boston Mountains of Arkansas
The story of the Arkansas or "Mountain Feds" is an important part of the Civil War history of Arkansas.

These men and their families opposed secession and took up arms to support the Union in increasing numbers throughout the war. Many enlisted in regular Federal regiments, while others fought on their own, forming guerrilla bands that came down from the mountains to raid and create havoc.

The following account appeared in the San Francisco Bulletin on January 7, 1862, 150 years ago today:

Col. John S. Phelps
Phelps' Regiment, Missouri Infantry
The State of Arkansas is not as far gone in Secession as has been supposed. The papers say there are 1,700 secretly organized, armed and equipped Union menin the state. A few days ago, a member of her Legislature and 40 citizens made their appearance at Rollo. The member and 35 of his companions immediately enlisted in Col. John S. Phelps' Missouri Regiment, which is in camp at that palce. They brought with them a pamphlet copy of Gov. Hector's message, which was forwarded to Gen. Halleck, at headquarters in this city [i.e. St. Louis]. The Governor says there is more treason to the South lurking in Arkansas than one can well conceive, gives the people a lambasting for their want of zeal and patriotism, and charges that many of the newspapers covertly favor Union and reconstruction. The whole number of Arkansians in the military service, of the oligarchy, is 16,800; and about 6,000 more are enlisted, but are not yet furnished with equipments and arms. The State has expended over $1,000,000 for war purposes since the war began. The State war bonds have sadly depreciated, and the financial condition of the State is admitted by the Governor to be gloomy indeed. He also complains that the Generals commanding the State forces are refractory and are often at cross purposes to himself and the Military Board.

The report was filed by the Bulletin's correspondent in St. Louis, Missouri, on December 10, 1861.

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