NEAR RICHMOND, Ark.—Little River County marked its role in the Civil War with the dedication of a historical marker Sunday afternoon at Richmond Cemetery.
Seventeen known Confederate soldiers are buried in the historical cemetery outside Ashdown, two miles from the community of Richmond.
“We can never forget that they fought for a cause that they believed was righteous and just,” said Jennie Stone, Arkansas division president of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.
The double-sided marker was obtained through a grant from the Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission. The Little River Historical Society applied for a matching grant for the marker months ago.
Commander Phil Maynard of the Sons of Confederate Veterans Red Diamond Camp No. 2193 in Texarkana, Texas, praised the historical society and others for their research and work.
“They’re doing what we need to be doing,” Maynard said. “That’s remembering the past so we don’t make those same mistakes in the future.”
While there were no battles fought in Little River County, the marker commemorates the events of late 1864, after Gen. Sterling Price led an army from Camden on a raid through Missouri, Kansas and Indian Territory before returning to Arkansas at Laynesport. The army had suffered heavy losses, and many of Price’s Missouri trips established a camp at Richmond on Dec. 5 to recover from the campaign while they waited to find out where the winter camp would be. The troops left Richmond on Dec. 24 to join the rest of the army in Washington, Ark.
John C. Finley III, president of Little River County Historical Society, read aloud from a letter from R.M. Scott, a Confederate soldier buried in Richmond Cemetery and one of Finley’s ancestors. Scott was the son of Judge Robert H. Scott, an influential early settler in Richmond who donated the land for Richmond Baptist Church and a cemetery in 1850.
“We had a big eggnog last night, which cost six of us $20,” wrote the younger Scott in a letter dated Dec. 25, 1862. “Six bottles of rum and 20 eggs.”
The letter also notes, “General Lee gave the Yankees the worst kind of whipping not long since. They lost between 15,000 and 20,000.”
Scott survived the war and returned to Arkansas. He died in 1901 and is buried in the northern portion of the cemetery with other members of the Scott family.
Dr. Jamie C. Brandon, vice chairman of the Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission, said the commission is interested in promoting local stories of the war.
“This marker is a great example of that,” Brandon said. “It proves that you do not have to have a military action in your community to commemorate the war.”
Brandon said every community in Arkansas was impacted by the Civil War in some form or fashion.
The Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission was formed to mark the 150th anniversary of the war. Through the historical marker program and other ventures, the commission supports a statewide observance of the anniversary “that tells the story of the Civil War in Arkansas without making judgments about the actions and motivations of the people who took part in the war, and that stresses the relevance to Arkansawyers today by promoting local observances and acknowledging the impact the Civil War had on modern Arkansas,” according to the commission’s Website.