Friday, January 6, 2012

January 8, 1862 - A regiment of Fort Smith apple peddlers?

Casper Reutzel House (1850)
Fort Smith, Arkansas
The following report appeared in the Dallas Weekly Herald in Dallas, Texas, on January 8, 1862, 150 years ago today.
While its primary purpose was to tweak Arkansans a little about the supposed slowness of men around Fort Smith to enlist in the Confederate army, it is also an interesting reference to the Civil War era apple industry:

John Rogers House (1840s)
Fort Smith, Arkansas
We hear a great deal said about the indifference manifested by Arkansians, around Fort Smith, in the little matter of enlisting in the service of the Confederate States. Fort Smith has long been a favored locality and we fear that the "lust of lucre" has spoiled the people and made them look to much to other people for the protection of their homes and property. If the Northern counties of Arkansas would recall a few hundred of their valiant sons engaged in peddling apples in Texas her ranks in the Confederate army would be considerably swelled and perhaps be rendered more effective. Texans don't object to the apples, - only it don't look so very becoming to see strong, able-bodied and brave men peddling apples when there is so great a need for men in the army. A regiment of apple-peddlers would be a formidable arm of the service.

Fort Smith was, of course, a city of divided loyalties throughout the war. Many Sebastian County residents enlisted, fought and died in the Confederate service, but many others did the same in the Union army.

If you would like to learn more about the city's Civil War history, be sure to consider my book:
The Battle of Massard Prairie: The 1864 Confederate Attacks on Fort Smith, Arkansas.

It is also available for instant download for Amazon's Kindle devices or their free software for your PC, iPad, etc.

You can also read more about Fort Smith at

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