There are two purposes for Comments in the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture. Comments can either add information to aid in the understanding of the entry or add information that provides an alternate interpretation of the historical record.


Information included in this section is not fact checked by the Encyclopedia staff. The author of the Comment is entirely responsible for its content.


As the historian for the Fifth Illinois, I find no primary sources that indicate the Fifth Illinois made camp at the Milligan Presbyterian campground. According to Seley's report, and morning reports for Co. F, he made camp in Smithville, not 10 miles southwest at Strawberry.  All orders tell Seley to establish a camp at Smithville, and Co. F's morning reports indicate a march to and from Smithville, not Strawberry.  This would be a 10-mile discrepancy, a very large distance in 1862. Henry C. Brown, 9th IL Cav., also mentioned the Fifth at Smithville in his June 7, 1862, diary entry (IL State Historical Library). There is even an account of the Fifth marching into Smithville (see:  Dula McLeod Baker, “History of Smithville School,” Lawrence County Historical Quarterly 7, no. 3 (Summer 1984): 12).
There was no second camp.  Though the Milligan history named the Fifth Illinois as the Union force that camped at the church, there are no Fifth Illinois documents, including diaries and letters written by Fifth soldiers, that support this assertion. Unless there are additional primary sources supporting Milligan's claim, the location of the Fifth camp remains unidentified. I believe that the Fifth Illinois has been misidentified as the Union force that camped at Milligan, for there were many Union troops in  and out of the county in mid-1862. 


Rhonda M. Kohl
Jeffersonville, IN