CONFEDERATE WOMEN OF ARKANSAS IN THE CIVIL WAR 1861 - '65 MEMORIAL REMINISCENCES - Published by The United Confederate Veterans of Arkansas November 1907 Copyright 1907 by J. Kellogg, Secretary Memorial Committee, U.C.V. This book is 221 pages and contains at least 55 personal remembrances of Arkansas Women who lived through the Civil War. I found this book in the personal effects of my grandmother. One entry was written by her brother in law's grandmother.

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Location: Arkansas, United States

Sunday, July 12, 2009


By her daughter, Mrs. Sallie E. Jordan, of Clarksville.

It is with the greatest reluctance that I write this sketch of my mother's experience during the Civil war. If those who have urged me so much and so often to write, knew what I have suffered in putting those sad particulars on paper, they would have said, "let them alone." Those who have undertaken to gather reminiscences of this kind have a hard task on their hands as one-thousandth part of what the women of the South suffered during the war can never be told. it is a duty, however, that the authors of these reminiscences should be aided in every possible way, so that valuable materials of history may not be lost. This is why I send my crude statements, though it is breaking my heart to do so.

At the time of the burning of my mother and aunt, my father, S. J. Howell, had gone to Texas with our servants. My brother, Captain J. B. Howell, was ordinance officer of General James F. Fagan. Our home was in a little town on the Arkansas river, called Pittsburg, about nine miles from Clarksville. The Federal officer in command of Clarksville at the time was Col. Waugh. He had never been known to do a kind act for any citizen until my mother's awful treatment happened, when he began to act as a human being. One Federal officer called and said to me: "If my wife or mother had been treated as yours, I would live only to kill Federals and when I came to die, I would regret that I could not live longer to kill more."

The following are the main particulars: On the night of the 20th of February, 1864, five or six Federal soldiers came and demanded money of mother, saying, "I know you have it, every one knows that your husband has plenty of money." When she refused to give them money, they stripped the right foot and leg and thrust it into a bed of red hot coals lying in a large open fireplace. When they took it out they asked her if she would tell them where the money was, and when she said no, they put it back and told her they would burn her to death if she did not tell. The flesh was cooked until it fell off from the knee to the toe. They then brought in my widowed aunt, Mrs. John W. Willis, who was living with my mother. They had been keeping her outside on the lawn, and had previously told her that my mother had sent her word to tell them where the money was, as they were burning her to death. She said she did not believe them and refused. They then took my mother from the fire and put my aunt in, and burned her in the same way, but not quite so severely. At last when they found they were of the material from which heroines are made and Spartan mothers reared, they released them and going to the servants quarters, they locked them in and told them if they came out before sun up, their heads would be shot off. My poor mother in some way found the linseed oil and together she and my aunt dressed their burns. Next morning the three negro women in great fear came to them and did what they could for them. Later on these women took the week's laundry and went across the hill, a quarter of a mile from the house, where there was a fine spring to do the washing; the hill hid this house from their view. Later on one of the women started back to see if there was anything needed. When she reached the top of the hill, she saw the flames bursting out from the roof. When mother and aunt learned that the house was on fire, they in some mysterious way with those terribly burned limbs, crawled to the wood pile, where they lay and watched the destruction of a fine old Southern home (the home where brother John and I were reared). When the building was falling into ashes some Federal officers came with ambulances to fill them with furnishings from this house. When they saw the sad plight of my loved ones, they were compelled to take them to Clarksville, where they could received medical attention. I must say Drs. Root and Adams of Kansas, in whose charge they were placed, were exceedingly kind to them. A week after this terrible affair Capt. Abbot, commanding a U. S. transport, (but a Southern sympathizer), came down from Clarksville and sent me word, saying, that he had not the courage to bring the message in person. Capt. Abbot held the transport until I could get ready to return with him. I left my four fatherless children, (baby being quite ill), with my dear friend, Mrs. Adams, widow of ex-Governor Samuel Adams, step-mother of Capt. John D. Adams, and mother of Gen. Jas. F. Fagan. Mrs. Adams was afterwards with me in Little Rock, having been turned out of her home by Federal officers. It took the transport three days to reach Spadra Bluff, the nearest point by river to Clarksville. I was told here that mother was dying and her limb had been amputated, all of which as almost unbearable for me, and the suffering so changed me that some of my loved ones did not recognize me. I must pass over the meeting with my mother; I can not even at this late day write of it. I staid until my mother could be moved to Spadra Bluff by ambulane, and by transport to my home in Little Rock. The news soon spread that we had arrived. The first to reach the boat was out old friend, Dr. R. L. Dodge. He dropped on his knees beside mother's bed and wept aloud. Mother did not die just at this time, but lingered two years. Poor, dear mother, how she suffered! "I forgive them for the pain and poverty they have caused me," were her words. They destroyed what they could not carry away, shooting large numbers of cattle, hogs, etc.

Maj. Newsome (a Federal), told me at Spadra, that when mother's house was on fire, he counted fourteen others burning at the same time, and he knew that orders for the fires had been sent out from headquarters.

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Friday, January 28, 2005


A Texas soldier, trudging along one day all alone, met a Methodist circuit rider and at once recognized him as such, but affected ignorance of it. "What army do you belong to?" asked the preacher. "I belong to the - th Texas regiment, Van Dorn's army," replied the soldier.

"What army do you belong to?"

"I belong to the army of the Lord," was the solemn reply.

"Well, then my friend," said the soldier, "you are a long way from headqauarters."

page 61



Before the Federals occupied this country, I had accumulated a large amount of corn and wheat. To show the condition the country was in, I can truthfully say that for over two years I never saw a man come to the mill except armed squads of scouts, and not customers. Our customers were women altogether. I have seen as many as forty-six women at the mill at one time waiting their turns. Some came as far as thirty-five and forty miles. Two women would get two wagon wheels, sometimes one would belong to the front and the other to the hind part of the wagon. Then they would yoke up two yearling steers, and put a line on each one. One woman on the right side and the other on the left to hold the cattle in the road, and drive to mill and back again with their load. Often they came without any grain but none ever went away without breadstuff. Again some would bring two or maybe three yards of home made cotton cloth to pay for their meal or flour. The price was a dollar a yard. Those who came a long distance and had to stay all night were always taken to our house. Women came in bunches from Dover in Pope county and crossed the Arkansas River; from Lanes Bottom; from Johnson county and from Scott county. A party of thirteen women came once from Scott county, some fifty miles or more on foot and each one got all she could carry on her back. Many women once in good circumstances were reduced to this extremity.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Son of Mrs. Anna Mitchell

R. D. Mitchell Posted by Hello


By Mrs. Anna Mitchell, of Havana
My husband and oldest brother joined the Tenth Arkansas Regiment near Quitman. C. R. Merrick was colonel and Witt (afterward colonel) and W.W. Martin of Conway were captains. The regiment camped near home two or three weeks and we felt so proud of them. We made our men red shirts, trimmed with black and with white thread worked in "Quitman Rifles." We covered their canteens the same way. I remembered covering one for Bob Bertrand of Little Rock.

Our boys promised us that they would whip the Yankees right away and then come home and we would all have a fine time. We believed every word they said, and, loath as we were to give them up, we spoke our farewells bravely and waved in joy our little flags. We waited many a long day for their return!
My father had a large family, and the only one able to work, my oldest brother, had joined the army. We had a hard time to keep body and soul together. The women plowed the field and planted and cultivated the corn. Some women had to walk five miles to a mill to get meal for their sack of corn, and frequently there was no meal, nothing but bran, which they cooked and ate.
It was a common sight on the road to the mill to see two women on either side of a yearling calf that was harnessed to the front or rear part of a wagon, with a small load of corn or wheat. Each woman held a line from the head of the yearling, and the work of the day was to induce the yearling to walk forward and not backward.
Mother and myself never knew one day what we would have to eat or wear the next. Spinning and weaving constantly was one part of our work. When our homes began to look comfortable, the federal raiders would come and take horses, food and clothing. We had then to begin all things over again.
My husband was killed at the battle of Shiloh, and the whole work of rearing the family fell upon me. Many times I grieved that I could not give them something good to eat, but it was only when they began to grow into manhood that their life became what I wished it to be. My three sons are now living, one a doctor, another a lawyer and another a merchant.
The present generation thinks that the old folks are too economical in their ways. If they had gone through the war times they would not be so extravagant. Nor would they be working to place themselves above one another. In the old times all were on an equality. Those that never had to work had to learn very soon or do without much clothing. Then they were glad to get their poor neighbors to show them how to spin thread and weave cloth to make their dresses, and when they were made those fine ladies were just as proud of them as if they had the finest silk.
In war times we were proud of being Southern girls. We gloried in the name and felt greater pride in it than in glittering wealth or fame. Hurrah for the homespun dresses that our Southern women wore! These goods were really nice, so that you could not always tell them from store goods, though we did not havve ribbons and fringes to hide defects. My children, when they see this poor writing, may feel ashamed of their old mother's inability as a writer, but it will be the first time in their lives that they did not love what the old lady did.

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