In 1861 Arkansas joined an attempt by eleven Southern states to establish an independent republic called the Confederate States of America. For four trying years many of the people of Arkansas worked, fought, suffered and died for the cause of Southern independence. Southerners believed that they were fighting for their homes, their property and their way of life.
Arkansas itself became a battleground in the great Civil War. Armies marched and campaigned in the northwest, along the rivers, in the south and in other areas. Bandits took advantage of wartime conditions to loot and ravish. Arkansans suffered as never before or since.
In the end the Confederacy lost the struggle because of internal disunity as well as superior Northern military strength. The war left a heritage of destruction and bitterness, and all its effects have not yet disappeared.
From Historic Arkansas by John L. Ferguson and J.H. Atkinson
(Little Rock: Arkansas History Commission, 1965)