The Civil War, Day by Day

Morgan's Raiders


Arkansas Secedes

The Confederacy gained considerable strength by winning this region of the South, which was richer than the lower “cotton” states in manufacturing, farming and horses…all vital assets for a war.

Like most upper Southern states, Arkansas was initially divided in its loyalties. While its cotton-producing counties favored secession, its northwestern region wanted to remain in the Union - for its citizens feared the loss of Federal control over the local Indian population.

Tensions mounted in February of 1861, as several hundred armed citizens prevented Federal troops from reinforcing the arsenal at Little Rock. When Captain James Totten of the Second U.S. Artillery agreed to surrender the arsenal, the women of Little Rock gratefully gifted him with a sword.

For the next two months, Arkansas favored compromise over secession. Once Fort Sumter was attacked, however, Southern sympathies swelled in Arkansas. On May 6, a secession convention condemned the “inhuman design” of the Lincoln administration, and voted to secede from the Union by a vote of 69 to 1. (The lone dissenter was an Ozark mountaineer who did not own slaves.) No longer divided, Arkansas officially became part of the Confederacy…and Totten went on to brandish his sword against the state as a Brigadier General.

Mort Künstler painted this dramatic scene, a detail from Morgan's Raiders, which typifies the cavalry from Arkansas.





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All illustrations by Mort Künstler. Text by Michael Aubrecht, Dee Brown, Henry Steele Commager, Rod Gragg, Mort Künstler, Edward Lengel, James McPherson, and James I. Robertson, Jr. - Copyright © 2001-2019. All Rights Reserved. No part of the contents of this web site may be reproduced or utilized in any form by any means without written consent of the artist.