Arkansas


Regnat populus
Arkansas declared its succession from the Union on May 6, 1861. Arkansas formed some 48 infantry regiments for the Confederate Army in addition to numerous cavalry and artillery battery units. A conservative estimate is that one eighth of the male population of Arkansas died and another eighth were permanently disabled during the Civil War. The four year Civil War comprised the greatest human and economic disaster in Arkansas history.

Thomas Brewer

By Tom Todd

William Thomas Brewer was the son of Penelope “Penny” Brewer. His father was Ruffin Lanier who was half native American. Penny’s father refused to allow her to marry Ruffin. William “Billy” Brewer adopted William Thomas and gave him the Brewer name.

In 1862, William joined the Confederate States Navy (CNV) and served on the Ironclad CSS North Carolina. On April 6, 1865, he was taken as a prisoner of war (POW) and was taken to Point Lookout, Maryland. Point Lookout was deemed the largest and worst Northern POW camp. Approximately 50,000 Confederate enlisted men were contained within the walls of Point Lookout Prison Camp during its operation 1863-1865. Prison capacity was 10,000 but at any given time, there would be between 12,000 and 20,000 soldiers incarcerated there.

There was a breakout of smallpox and because he was immune to it, he helped treat the other prisoners. On June 23, 1865, he took the Oath of Allegiance and was honorably discharged.

About 19 months after returning home from the war he married Nancy Lewis Nunn Nash, a widow. They had six children; Benjamin Edco Ellis Brewer (my grandfather), J.R. Brewer, Doctor Franklin Brewer, George Thomas Brewer, Nannie Grace Brewer, and Sidney Albert Brewer.

After Nancy died in 1879, he married Mary Biout Swanson who bore him three children; J.C. (died before he was a month old), Lougenia “Lula”, and J. Kenneth. Strangely, in 1891 he gathered up the children from the first wife and Lula from the second wife and headed for Arkansas. The mother and son were left behind because she was still nursing, so the story goes. Lula never saw her mother again and Kenneth visited Arkansas only one time. Mary died many years later and never recovered from the loss of her child. William never married again. In his later years he was often seen walking the yard and heard asking for Gold’s forgiveness and pleading for God to come back to him.

Private George Worley

By Kent Worley

Private George Worley, like many men of his age, quickly volunteered into the service of the Confederacy as soon as the War of Northern Aggression began. He joined the 7th Arkansas Volunteer Infantry.

The 7th Arkansas Volunteer Infantry was on infantry regiment during the Civil War from 1861-1865 composed of troops from northeast Arkansas. Organized mainly from companies, including several prewar volunteer militia companies, raised in northeaster Arkansas, the regiment was among the first transferred to Confederate Service and spent virtually the entire war serving in Confederate forces east of the Mississippi River.

After the unit sustained heavy casualties during the Battle of Shiloh and Bragg’s Kentucky Campaign, the unit spent most of the rest of the war field consolidated with the 6th Arkansas Infantry Regiment, to from the 6th/7th Arkansas infantry regiment.

The regiment was surrendered with the rest of the Army of Tennessee on April 26, 1865, in Durham Station, North Carolina. Pvt. George Worley was paroled and went back to his family in Arkansas.