What does it take for a brand new military regiment to become a reliable veteran unit?
Good leadership, pride of unit (esprit de corps), patriotism, dedication to mission are just a few of the reasons for the evolution of a green outfit to a veteran unit.
Dedication and patriotism were two key ingredients that the 3rd Arkansas Voluntary Infantry, CSA, possessed that allowed them to evolve as a premier military unit in the Civil War.
The dedication and patriotism stemmed first from their desire to be a part of the Confederate Army. Their initial representatives, two companies from South Arkansas, journeyed to Vicksburg,Mississippi, and by telegraph to the Secretary of War, Leroy P. Walker, offered their services to the Confederacy. They were initially turned down since they represented just two companies and needed a full regiment to be assigned to a particular commander. However, they didn’t give up. The leaders of the two companies, Vannoy Hartrog Manning and Dr. W. H. Tebbs, journeyed toMontgomery,Alabama, the Capitol of the Confederacy at that time and enlisted the help of the Arkansas Confederate Senator Albert Rust. Rust help them get acceptance with the condition they return to Arkansas and raise the additional 8 companies needed to form a regiment. Senator Rust returned to Arkansas and raise 9 companies, while Manning and Tebbs took their regiments to Lynchburg,Virginia, and mustered in for the full length of the war. Thus the regiment had 11 companies instead of the standard 10.
The regiment was comprised of 4 companies from Ashley County, which was located in the southeastern part of the State with the county’s southern border on the State of Louisiana. Two companies were from Union County, which was directly west of and adjacent to Ashley County, and its’ southern border also resting on the State of Louisiana. Drew County produces 2 companies also. This county’s southern border rested on the northern part of Ashley County. One company was enlisted inHotSpringCounty, which was located about 40 miles Southwest of the State Capitol of Little Rock. An additional company was to come from Dallas County, which was in the south central part of the State. And the last company was an amalgam of enlistees from Ashley County and some Kentucky Volunteers that happened to encounter the 9 regiments that were traveling to Virginia. TheArkansasandKentuckymen must have had an immediate rapport because they Kentucky men decided to join the Arkansas Boys rather than be assigned to a group they didn’t know.
So all the companies met in Lynchburg, Virginiaand were mustered into service as the 3rd Arkansas by July, 1961.