Arkansas in the American Civil War
The state of Arkansas was a part of the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War, and provided a source of troops, supplies, and military and political leaders. Arkansas had become the 25th state of the United States, on June 15, 1836, entering as a slave state. Antebellum Arkansas was still a wilderness in most areas, rural and sparsely populated. As a result, it did not have early military significance when states began seceding from the Union. State Militia forces seized the Federal Arsenal in Little Rock before Arkansas actually voted to secede. The small Federal garrison was forced to evacuate after a demand by Arkansas Governor Rector that the arsenal be turned over to state authority. At the beginning of 1861, the population of Arkansas, like several states of the Upper South, was not keen to secede on average, but it was also opposed to Federal coercion of seceding states. This was shown by the results of state convention referendum in February 1861. The referendum passed, but the majority of the delegates elected were conditional unionist in sympathy, rather than outright secessionist. This changed after the Confederacy attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina, and President Abraham Lincoln called for troops to put down the rebellion. The move toward open war shifted public opinion into the secessionist camp, and Arkansas declared its secession from the Union on May 6, 1861.