Civil War in Newton County, Arkansas
From Remnants, Plenty And Lean...
Official records indicate that no major battles of the Civil War took place in Newton County.
Nonetheless, the impact of the war was hard felt to both resident and landscape of the county.
Accounts of skirmishes which took place in the county appear in reports of the Adjutant General
of the State of Arkansas. Oral descriptions and recollections of such skirmishes and related
events of the time, have been handed down to families, friends, and neighbors through the years. No doubt,
the tales have altered a bit from the version of the original story teller. But one can clearly
look beyond those details and realize that the War of the Rebellion brought hardship
to the body and soul of all who lived in the county. Regardless of age or gender, all were soldiers.
Men who were too old and boys who were too young did what they could to protect their homes and food
supplies. As did the elderly and young females; all were soldiers fighting to protect and survive. And
as with the soldier on the battlefield or in prison, those left at home also suffered from hunger
and sickness...it can be assumed that all felt a great sadness. A helpless feeling must have been a
daily state of mind. The lives of our people were marked by those times, as were the mountain sides
and valleys of the county. The many caves and caverns were used as shelter by military units and bands of
guerrillas reportedly used the caves as their hideouts and as places to store stolen goods. The large number
of bushwhackers in the county prompted the escort of several
families into nearby Missouri counties as well as relocation into other parts of Arkansas. The bluffs
also offered protection to local refugees from the roving bands of robbing and murdering bushwhackers.
Walls and other surfaces of caverns were blackened by smoke from fires built for warmth, cooking, and the
distilling of saltpeter. A kettle used for the boiling of the saltpeter was in the cave below Boxley, Union
men destroyed those that were found outside the cave...the kettle inside the cave was not harmed. That kettle
and a half dozen more are still in the Boxley area. Cannon balls topped several trees and tore through
their branches. Well into the 1960's, some one hundred years after the Civil War, oak trees near the mill at
Boxley showed evidence of the damage caused by cannon balls. In the early 1900's, there were trees still standing which
showed the mark of ropes used for hanging helpless civilians as well as men from both Confederate and Union sides.
One such tree was in the Limestone Valley area. Wind, decay and timber men have cleared the scarred trees. Tears,
prayer, and time have allowed the grieving of families to heal. The rains, morning dew, and fog have washed the
blood from the rocks and soil. The creeks have further diluted the stain and the mighty Buffalo River has carried it away.
Skirmish at Whiteley's Mill at Boxley, April 10, 1864
Order To Observe Decoration Day, 1868
Civil War Lyrics and Tunes
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