Very few regiments were raised directly by the Confederate States government. Most were raised by individual states, then mustered into the service of the Provisional Army of the Confederate States.
In Arkansas, the State Military Board was responsible for authorizing and designating regiments of volunteers. The board did a reasonably good job of sequencing the unit designations through much of the war. Trouble was, the Confederate War Department at Richmond tended to designate new regiments based upon when the muster rolls were received. For example, Cleburne's regiment was mustered into State service about a month before Fagan's regiment. But Fagan's regiment was mustered into Confederate service about two months before Cleburne's regiment was transferred from State service to Confederate service. As a result, the War Department considered Fagan's as the "First" Arkansas Regiment. By the time the muster rolls for Cleburne's (State-designated) 1st Arkansas Regiment arrived at Richmond, fourteen Arkansas regiments had been mustered into Confederate service, so Cleburne's was designated as the 15th Arkansas Regiment. Further problem -- the State Military Board had already given the 15th Arkansas designation to Gee's regiment.
Another reason for dual designations was administrative. When the Trans-Mississippi army was reorganized after the battle of Prairie Grove, new muster rolls were sent to Richmond, which assumed that the rolls were for new regiments. So, for example, the 29th Arkansas was reorganized as the 37th Arkansas; the 28th Arkansas as the 36th Arkansas; etc., etc.
In the case of the 35th Arkansas, it's a little more convoluted. Earlier, Col. George W. King's south Arkansas regiment had been designated by the State Military Board as the 22nd Arkansas. Since the rolls for the 20th Arkansas had not yet arrived at Richmond, the War Department assumed that Arkansas had skipped that number, so G. W. King's 22nd Arkansas was designated as the 20th Arkansas. By the time the reorganized muster rolls of Col. James P. King's 35th Arkansas hit town, the War Department noticed that the 22nd designation wasn't being used (due to their previous error), so J. P. King's regiment was redesignated at the 22nd Arkansas.
Now, to confuse things even more -- some division and brigade commanders took it upon themselves to make up their own designations. When the Arkansas State Troops were organized in April and May of 1861, the division commander in northwest Arkansas designated the regiments based upon when they reported to his headquarters. Thus, the 3rd Regiment State Troops became the 1st State Cavalry; the 2nd Regiment State Troops became the 3rd State Infantry; etc.
During the summer of 1862, a brigade commander in northwest Arkansas redesignated his regiments (the 34th, 35th and 36th Arkansas) as the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Arkansas Infantry.
Another division commander redesignated his regiments (28th, 29th, 30th, 32nd, etc., Arkansas Regiments) as the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th Trans-Mississippi Rifle Regiments. The soldiers began referring to their regiments as the 1st, 2nd, etc., Arkansas Infantry -- causing confusion with previously designated units.
- Preceding by Bryan Howerton on the Civil War Message Board, 8 March 2005
Our research has identified 255 Confederate Units and 10 Union Units formed in Arkansas. Only two of these units, the 6th Infantry and the 16th Infantry have full regimental histories available. For most of these units our Historical Sketch and Roster books are all that are available.
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