Return to First Page---ARKANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY, Volume 31, Spring 1972, p. 16

Atter while they got t' killin' old' men even, so Paw he lit a shuck for th' timber, an' bushed up thar till th' war was plumb done. I warn't full growed then, only jest teenage, but me an' Sis made two craps 'ith a loke o' cowcritters. . . .

I mind when ol' Sterlin' Price was a-raidin', th' Choctaw Injuns was with him, an' they et up ever' last stalk of o' sugar-corn even---jest all set down an' peeled it an' clawed it for th' sweet. . . . We did make a leetle crap o' corn that year, but th' dang Yankees come an' tuck most of it. . . .

But two o' my own cousins did git kilt right in front of our house. I was a-feedin' 'em, an' they was shot down as they run for th' houses. Th' Yankees they jest laughed an' left 'em a-layin' thar in th' road, so me an' Sis had t' dig graves an' bury 'em. . . . Hit shore was turrible, them days (2).

Such conditions became more common as the war went on. Soldiers and bushwhackers destroyed the fields, robbed the poor and rich alike, and broke down the social order. Kansas troops, whose hatred of Southerners dated back to before the war, looked upon any property they found as their own, loaded it up, and shipped it back home (3). Federal officers dabbled in cotton speculation. One Kansas chaplain even used torture to get citizens to give him their
money (4). The men in blue held no monopoly on plunder. A resident of Lake Village wrote in 1864: "What the Yankees are unable to get, our own soldiers---or other men in the army---seem to think legitimately belongs to them as spoils of war (5).

The most obvious and pressing need which faced the populace throughout the war was food. The war cut off the traditional supplies of flour and bacon from the North, and inadequate roads and the shortage of wagons limited the ability to obtain these commodities elsewhere.

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2. Vance Randolph, The Ozarks: An American Survival of Primitive Society (New York, 1931),
19-21.
3. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and
Confederate Armies (70 vols. in 128, Washington, 1880-1901), ser. 1, vol. XLVIII, pt. 1, 1120 (Hereafter cited as O. R.)
4. Fort Smith New Era, Mar. 19, 1864.
5. Henry Hayes to D. H. Reynolds, Lake Village, n.d. (1864). Daniel Harris Reynolds Papers, University of Arkansas.

 

 

 

 

 

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