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United Confederate Veterans (UCV)

When the Civil War ended in 1865, thousands of Confederate veterans returned home to Arkansas. Many of these veterans remained in the state and slowly rebuilt their lives after four long years of war. A national organization for Confederate veterans was not established until 1889, when some Confederate veterans’ groups met in New Orleans, Louisiana, and organized the United Confederate Veterans (UCV). It was the counterpart to the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), a national organization of Union veterans that had been established in 1866, although the UCV never had the political power or the prestige of the GAR. However, the UCV did have the power to directly affect the lives of its members at a local level.

The primary functions of the organization were to provide for widows and orphans of former Confederate soldiers, preserve relics and mementos, care for disabled former soldiers, preserve a record of the service of its members, and organize reunions and fraternal gatherings. At its highest point, the UCV had about 160,000 members in 1,885 local “camps,” as the local groups were called, across the country. The UCV was active well into the 1940s. Its final reunion was held in Norfolk, Virginia, in 1951.

Many Confederate veterans’ camps were founded in towns and cities throughout Arkansas. One of the first was the Ben T. Embry Camp #977 United Confederate Veterans organized at Russellville (Pope County) in 1892. The camp was named for Confederate colonel Ben T. Embry, an early settler of Galla Rock (Pope County) who died in 1892. The organization sponsored an annual Pope County reunion of Civil War veterans, although the Embry camp became inactive around 1930. Today, the Arkansas State Archives maintains the camp’s records.

Three national reunions of the United Confederate Veterans were held in Little Rock (Pulaski County). The first event, held May 16–18, 1911, drew thousands of Confederate veterans from across the nation to the Arkansas state capital. Veterans returned to Little Rock to be reacquainted with their former comrades in 1928 and for a final time in 1949.

During the reunion in 1911, a monument to the Capital Guards, Sixth Arkansas Infantry, Company A, was dedicated in front of the old Little Rock Arsenal building. The memorial is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Years before the UCV was organized, Arkansas Confederate veterans were already holding reunions. Many of these organized events were held during the 1870s. Several memorials and/or markers were dedicated by the former Confederate veterans living in Arkansas. The rest were dedicated by the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV), the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC), and other ancestral organizations.

As a sign of post-war reconciliation, several joint Blue-Gray reunions were held in the late 1880s and early 1890s. The largest joint reunion, with more than 7,000 Union and Confederate veterans, was held at the Pea Ridge battlefield in Benton County. A monument to all of the survivors was dedicated to “A Reunited Soldiery”; it can be visited inside the confines of the Pea Ridge National Military Park.

The following is a list of the Arkansas UCV camps whose records are held in the Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections of the Special Collections Department of the Hill Memorial Library at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.

 

Camp No.

Camp Name

Camp Location

89

Camp Cabell

Bentonville (Benton County)

192

Haller

Charleston (Franklin County)

194

Ben McCulloch

Greenwood (Sebastian County)

199

Stonewall

Hackett (Sebastian County)

202

Cabell

Alma (Crawford County)

207

Robert W. Harper

Morrilton (Conway County)

209

John Wallace

Van Buren (Crawford County)

325

David O. Dodd

Benton (Saline County)

355

Camp Evans

Booneville (Logan County)

375

Clay Co. Vet. Assn.

Greenway (Clay County)

428

Walter Bragg

Prescott (Nevada County)

431

J. E. Johnston

Wooster (Faulkner County)

447

Eli Hufstedler

Pocahontas (Randolph County)

455

Oxford

Oxford (Izard County)

504

Rector

Rector (Clay County)

505

Confederate Survivors

Walcott (Greene County)

506

Confederate Survivors

Gainesville (Greene County)

507

Joe Johnson

Jonesboro (Craighead County)

532

J. E. B. Stuart

Rocky Comfort (Sevier County)

537

Pat Cleburne

Brinkley (Monroe County)

674

Confederate Veteran

Wilton (Little River County)

686

Bob Jordan

Stephens (Ouachita County)

713

Jos. (Wright) Crump

Harrison (Boone County)

776

Pat Cleburne

Dumas (Desha County)

809

Confederate Veteran

Mabelvale (Pulaski County)

828

J. H. Berry

Amity (Clark County)

843

Jeff Davis

Augusta (Woodruff County)

861

McIntosh

Evansville (Washington County)

865

Joe Johnston

Moorefield (Independence County)

869

Robert Jones

Powhatan (Lawrence County)

870

Confederate Veteran

Black Rock (Lawrence County)

901

Crockett Childers

Walnut Ridge (Lawrence County)

991

Van H. Manning

Malvern (Hot Spring County)

1004

Eagle

England (Lonoke County)

1036

James Adams

Austin (Lonoke County)

1039

John H. Kelly

Melbourne (Izard County)

1047

Hankins

Lockesburg (Sevier County)

1060

R. G. Shaver

Salem (Fulton County)

1147

Confederate Veteran

Raymond (Monroe County)

1153

Jordan E. Cravens

Coal Hill (Johnson County)

1269

Stonewall Jackson

Huntsville (Madison County)

1285

Daniel H. Reynolds

Lake Village (Chicot County)

1297

Shiloh

Mena (Polk County)

1303

Osceola

Osceola (Mississippi County)

1308

James A. Jackson

Monticello (Drew County)

1328

McIntosh

Mulberry (Crawford County)

1407

Robert E. Lee

Mansfield (Sebastian and Scott counties)

1464

Pat Cleburne

Casa (Perry County)

1615

A. R. Witt

Heber Springs (Cleburne County)

1649

Pat Cleburne

Fouke (Miller County)

The UCV never released comprehensive membership statistics, so the actual number of UCV members in Arkansas is difficult to determine. According to an 1890 census, 6.18 percent of all living Confederate veterans resided in Arkansas, which was eighth among former slave states. According to UCV figures in 1890, Arkansas had 6.26 percent of all veterans’ camps, fifth among former slave states. Between 1890 and 1912, the UCV formed at least one camp in four out of five Arkansas counties.

In 1896, the national organization of the Sons of Confederate Veterans was founded as a descendant organization and as the heir to the UCV. The first SCV camp in Arkansas was formed in the inaugural year at Clarksville (Johnson County) and named the Hall S. McConnell Camp #111.

Arkansas was one of the first states in the South to establish a pension for ex-Confederate soldiers and their widows in 1891. Arkansas Confederate veterans, like their counterparts across the country, raised funds for Confederate widows and orphans at reunion events, although no information is available on how the money was distributed. Donations may have been made from the individual UCV camps directly to widows’ and orphans’ homes.

Although the exact date of when the UCV ceased operations in Arkansas is unknown, it is believed to have occurred sometime after the last Little Rock reunion in 1949 and the final national reunion held in Norfolk, Virginia, in 1951. Of the twelve Confederate veterans still living then, only three were able to attend the reunion.

For additional information:
Arkansas Confederate Pension Records. Arkansas State Archives, Little Rock, Arkansas.

Bishop, Albert W. Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Arkansas for the Period of the War of the Late Rebellion, and to November 1, 1866. Washington DC: Government Printing Office, 1867.

Logan, Charles Russell. “Something So Dim It Must Be Holy: Civil War Commemorative Sculpture in Arkansas, 1886–1934.” Little Rock: Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, 1997. Online at http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/News-and-Events/publications (accessed March 1, 2017).

Neagles, James C. Confederate Research Sources: A Guide to Archive Collections. Salt Lake City: Ancestry Publishing, 1986.

Organization of Camps in the United Confederate Veterans. http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/webbin/serial?id=ucvcamps (accessed March 6, 2017).

United Confederate Veterans Association Records. Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections. Special Collections Department. Hill Memorial Library. Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Finding aid online at http://www.lib.lsu.edu/special/findaid/1357.pdf (accessed March 1, 2017).

Steven L. Warren
Overland Park, Kansas

Last Updated 7/10/2017

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