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A Soldier’s Perspective : The Civil War Through the Eyes of Private William E. Bevens


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1st Captian of Company G - A. C. Pickett
1st Captian of Company G - A. C. Pickett
    Dedication of the Jackson Guards Monument
Dedication of the Jackson Guards Monument
       
 
General Jeff Thompson
General Jeff Thompson
    Jacksonport State Park
Jacksonport State Park
       
 
Jacksonport State Park
Jacksonport State Park
    Original Jackson Guards Flag
Original Jackson Guards Flag
   
Jacksonport State Park Unveils New Bevens Exhibit on March 5
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Kimberly J. Williams, travel writer
Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism
 
“At four o’clock in the morning we began the march on the enemy. Each man had forty cartridges, all moving accoutrements and three days’ rations. General Johnston was cheered as he rode by our command and I remember his words as well as if they had been today, “Shoot low, boys; it takes two to carry one off the field.“ Private William E. Bevens, First Arkansas Infantry, C.S.A.

What a cruel thing is war: to separate and destroy families and friends, and mar the purest joys and happiness God has granted us in this world; to fill our hearts with hatred instead of love for our neighbors, and to devastate the fair face of this beautiful world.” Robert E. Lee

The Civil War is undoubtedly one of the darkest periods in the history of the United States. With over 600,000 men losing their lives, April 1861 to April 1865 marks the deadliest period in the history of our country. These four years would also shape the history of Arkansas.

William E. Bevens of Jacksonport, like many young men of his age and background, chose to fight. Joining the First Arkansas Infantry of the Confederate States of America, Bevens and his group would be involved in battles at Shiloh, Chickamauga, Atlanta, and Nashville before the end of the four-year, deadly conflict.

Jacksonport State Park in Newport unveils a new exhibit focusing on Bevens on March 5. Entitled “We Knew Nothing of War: Questions of a Civil War Soldier,” the exhibit follows Bevens as he experiences the tedium and horrors of war. Visitors will learn more about the life of an Arkansan during the Civil War. In addition, the exhibit also gives insight to the life of those who remained in Arkansas and the impact the war had on those remaining at home.

A special exhibit opening begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 5, at Jacksonport State Park in Jacksonport. The morning begins with a presentation by Mark K. Christ. Christ serves as Community Outreach Director for the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program and a member of the Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission. He is the author or editor of several books on Arkansas history, including Rugged and Sublime: The Civil War in Arkansas,Getting Used to Being Shot At: The Spence Family Civil War Letters, and the award-winning Civil War Arkansas, 1863: The Battle for a State.

Following Christ is George Lankford, president of the Independence County Historical Society and a member of the Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission. Dr. Lankford authored and edited numerous books, including Surprised by Death: A Novel of Arkansas in the 1840s; Reachable Stars: Patterns in the Ethnoastronomy of Eastern North America; and Bearing Witness: Memories of Arkansas Slavery. Lankford is professor emeritus at Lyon College in Batesville and a recipient of the Arkansas Historical Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Beginning at noon, the park hosts an open house of the new exhibit. In honor of the exhibit opening, guests will receive free admission to the historic courthouse on March 5.

Jacksonport State Park is situated on the banks of White River, in the location that was a thriving riverport during the 1800s. Both Confederate and Union forces occupied the town during the Civil War. The centerpiece of the park is the striking 1872 courthouse, which houses exhibits that tell the story of the historic river town. The park also includes a courtyard, a campground, a pavilion, a playground, a picnic area, a swimming beach, a wildflower conservation area, a trail and boat ramp with access to the White River.

For questions or to learn more about the exhibit opening for “We Knew Nothing of War: Questions of a Civil War Soldier,” contact the park at 870-523-2143. Jacksonport State Park is located at 205 Avenue St. in Newport.

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Submitted by the Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism
One Capitol Mall, Little Rock, AR 72201, 501-682-7606
E-mail: info@arkansas.com

May be used without permission. Credit line is appreciated:
"Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism"



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