Saturday, March 29, 2014

Baxter County Confederate Cemetery

The opportunity to visit an old & abandoned cemetery that holds up to confederate 14 soldiers took place today. This cemetery is referenced in Mary Ann Messick’s book, History of Baxter County: Centennial Edition.  I recently spoke with Capt. Jeff Lewis of the Baxter County Sheriff’s Department, and he gave me the name of the family, Eugene & Theresa Reed, who owns the farm and the plot of ground the fallen soldiers are buried. I have had the pleasure to get to know Eugene & Theresa. A few weeks ago, I visited with Eugene, and he graciously took me to place referenced.
In Mary Ann Messick’s book, she says there were 14 Union soldiers that were buried here in 1864.  I began looking though all the records available, and I didn’t come up with a thing. Next, I went back to the year of 1862 and found something that worked as a springboard into what really happened. It is referenced in the Official Reports as the “Skirmish at Mountain Home.”

Wiggins Battery, Arkansas Horse Artillery
standing at the head of the Confederate Cemetery.
On October the 16, 1862, the Union Cavalry of 250 men came through Mountain Home and raided the surrounding prairie farms & families of Rapp’s Barrens or Tolbot’s (Talbert’s) Barrens. They stole at least 50 horses, 5 wagons, and plenty of provender. They also captured Major John Woodward Methvin, C.S.A., of the Arkansas 27th, Company A, at Col. Casey’s house. Later that evening, they evacuated the area at 8 p.m. and moved out of town. They traveled a few miles out of town on Old Military Road and on to the prairie of Tucker Flats or Tucker Barrens. Today, we would call this section of road “Tucker Cemetery Road.” About 2 o’clock a.m. on the 17th, at least 40 men of the Arkansas 27th approached the rear guard in an attack. In the melee, the Confederate lost 10-14 men in the battle and 25 were captured and take to Missouri.

I am currently working on the full story and timeline, and it will be published on this blog soon.

Today, along with the men from the Wiggins Battery, ArkansasHorse Artillery, and members of the Baxter County Historical and GenealogicalSociety, we went for a group visit where the slain had fallen.

John Crane dressed in Union Blues keeps guard over a few good Rebels.             

It also should be noted, he was not too happy to don his Blues, but he graciously obliged. 

 Kevin Bodenhamer approaching at rear guard of an unsuspecting soldier.

A few people showed up with metal detectors & spades. Even though it has been more than 152 years since this skirmish, we did have a hope of finding some metal fragments. For the hour or two we spent, we only found remnants of wire, tin, and nails. Nevertheless, it was good to see the sight again. When looking over this rolling prairie, it is hard not to look back with admiration to the time when men would dedicate their lives for the values they held dear…even unto death.

I would still love to think those values are still lodged in the hills and prairies of our Ozark’s History.

Group picture with Eugene Reed (center), the Wiggins Battery, and myself (left).

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Rebel Arrests

It was been a couple of months since I’ve posted. I’ve been doing research on the Civil War in the Ozarks, and I have a large series of stories beginning in the next week or two. So far, I have 11 short stories that I have gleaned from 13 sources. It is my goal to pull together all these separate stories & sources into a smoothly flowing story.

In the meantime, I have come across a few humorous & interesting tidbits on the Rebels arrested in Arkansas and taken to the Gratiot Street Military Prison, operating in St. Louis, Missouri, by the Union Army.

I took these comments from the Union P.O.W. Rolls for the reasons for making an arrest & placing someone in prison.Though some of these remarks may look humorous, it is a sad commentary of a society under the state of Martial Law. 

Enjoy your Ozarks’ History.

 Rebel Citizens

Singing Secesh Songs etc.


Refusing to take the Oath of Allegiance


 Recruiting for Rebel Army

Unreasonable Language

Hurrahing for Jeff Davis

Hurrahing for Jeff Davis and the Southern Confederacy

 Insulting an Enrolling Officer

Carrying a man across the river in a skiff

Insane soldiers

Shouting for Jeff Davis

 Selling liquor to slaves

Violating Oath of Allegiance

Disloyalty & Cheering for Jeff Davis

Spy from the Rebel Army

Charge not known

Provost Marshall Prison Rolls. Prisoners: St. Louis, MO, Gratiot Street Prison, January 1862-October 1863. NARA# M416-090; MSA# F1099. Missouri State Archives