Fire and Sword
The Civil War and Reconstruction in Arkansas and the role of the state in the larger conflicts
When Arkansas seceded from the Union in 1861, it was a thriving state. But the Civil War and Reconstruction left it reeling, impoverished, and so deeply divided that it never regained the level of prosperity it had previously enjoyed. Although most of the major battles of the war occurred elsewhere, Arkansas was critical to the Confederate war effort in the vast Trans-Mississippi region, and Arkansas soldiers servedsome for the Union and more for the Confederacyin every major theater of the war. And the war within the state was devastating. Union troops occupied various areas, citizens suffered greatly from the war's economic disruption, and guerilla conflict and factional tensions left a bitter legacy. Reconstruction was in many ways a continuation of the war as the prewar elite fought to regain economic and political power.
In this, the fourth volume in the Histories of Arkansas series, Thomas DeBlack not only describes the major players and events in this dramatic and painful story, but also explores the experiences of ordinary people. Although the historical evidence is complexand much of the secondary literature is extraordinarily partisanDeBlack offers a balanced, vivid overview of the state's most tumultuous period.
"DeBlack offers the first serious synthesis and overview of a field that has seen significant innovative and revisionist work over the last two decades. He has produced a book that will prove fascinating both to historians and to general readers."
Carl Moneyhon, author of The Impact of the Civil War and Reconstruction on Arkansas: Persistence in the Midst of Ruin (Arkansas, 2002)
"A readable, engaging survey of this critical period in our state's history."
Elliott West, Arkansas Histories series editor
and author of
Thomas A. DeBlack is an associate professor of history at Arkansas Tech University. He is co-author of Arkansas: A Narrative History (Arkansas, 2002) and the co-editor of The Southern Elite and Social Change: Essays in Honor of Willard B. Gatewood (Arkansas, 2002).