Five writers examine the political and social forces in Arkansas that led to secession and transformed farmers, clerks, and shopkeepers into soldiers. Retired longtime Arkansas State University professor Michael Dougan delves into the 1861 Arkansas Secession Convention and the delegates’ internal divisions on whether to leave the Union. Lisa Tendrich Frank, who teaches at Florida Atlantic University, discusses the role Southern women played in moving the state toward secession. Carl Moneyhon of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock looks at the factors that led peaceful civilians to join the army. Thomas A. DeBlack of Arkansas Tech University tells of the thousands of Arkansans who chose not to follow the Confederate banner in 1861, and William Garret Piston of Missouri State University chronicles the first combat experience of the green Arkansas troops at Wilson’s Creek.