"The governor has no authority to summon you to take possession of a Federal post, whether threatened to be reinforced or not. Should the people assemble in their defense, the governor will interpose his official position in their behalf."
In response to the Governor’s message, Militia companies began assembling in Little Rock by February 5, 1861, and they made their intention to seize the Arsenal known to its commander, Captain Totten. The Yell Rifles, commanded by Captain Patrick Cleburne, and the Phillips County Guards (both of Phillips County), were the first companies to reach Little Rock and report to Governor Rector. Governor Rector denied having called the militia forces, and sent the newly arriving companies in to camp near the present state capitol building. In addition to the two Phillips County Companies, the Jefferson Guards of Pine Bluff, the Southwestern Guards, and the LaGrange Cavalry, all responded to the call to seize the Arsenal. Eventually more than a thousand men would assemble, representing Phillips, Jefferson, Prairie, White, Saline, Hot Spring, Montgomery, Monroe, and St. Francis counties. Many citizens of Little Rock opposed the occupation of the Arsenal, fearing a loss of life and property. The Little Rock City Council reacted with alarm at this sudden invasion of the capitol by the newly formed volunteer companies and called out its own militia unit, the Capitol Guards and ordered them to patrol the streets and stand guard over the newly arrived volunteer companies. Although generally opposed to secession, the Little Rock City Council fear that a battle might ensure within the city itself and passed an ordinance requesting the Governor to assume control of the quickly assembling volunteer forces and to seize the Arsenal "to prevent the effusion of blood".
Governor Rector, now armed with the city council's request, took control of the military situation. The 13th Militia Regiment of Pulaski county was activated and Brigadier General Holt, the local militia brigade commander, was placed in command of the quickly massing forces. With militia forces now surrounding the arsenal grounds, Governor Rector dispatched General Thomas. D. Merrick, commander of the First Division, Arkansas Militia, with a formal demand for the Arsenal’s surrender. Captain James Totten, Arsenal commander, agreed to evacuate the Arsenal in return for safe passage out of the state. Governor Rector agreed and the Militia took control of the Arsenal on February 8, 1861. Totten and his men were escorted from the city by the Capitol Guards. Grateful citizens of Little Rock presented him a sword, which some later came to regret as Totten would eventually meet Arkansas troops on the field of battle. Later, artillery batteries were set up at Helena on the Mississippi River and Pine Bluff on the Arkansas to prevent reinforcement of Federal military posts.
The Yell Rifles returned to Helena and then moved to Mound City, where they mustered in to state service as Company A, 1st Arkansas Infantry, State Troops. Patrick Cleburne was elected to command the new regiment. The Phillips County Guards remained in Little Rock to provide a garrison for the newly seized Arsenal.
^ Arkansas Civil War Chronicles – 1861, Accessed 11 January 2011, http://www.arkansasties.com/Military/CivilWar1861.htm
^ The War Almost Started in Little Rock, Seizing the U.S. Arsenal at Little Rock, The Capitol Guard, Company A, 6th Arkansas Volunteer Infantry, Accessed, 31 October 2010, http://web.archive.org/web/20091029033543/http://geocities.com/capitalguards/arsenal.html
^ The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. ; Series 1 – Volume 1, Page 642, accessed 14 December 2010. http://dlxs2.library.cornell.edu/cgi/t/text/pageviewer-idx?c=moawar;cc=moawar;idno=waro0001;node=waro0001%3A3;frm=frameset;view=image;seq=658;page=root;size=s
^ The War of the Rebellion, a Compulation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Ser. I, Vol. 1, Ch. VIII–Reports, page 642, accessed 24 January 2010, http://www.simmonsgames.com/research/authors/USWarDept/ORA/OR-S1-V01-C008R.html
^ The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. ; Series 1 - Volume 1, Page 640, Accessed 27 January 2011, http://dlxs2.library.cornell.edu/cgi/t/text/pageviewer-idx?c=moawar&cc=moawar&idno=waro0001&q1=Merrick&frm=frameset&view=image&seq=656
^ The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. ; Series 1 – Volume 1, Page 644, Accessed 14 December 2010, http://dlxs2.library.cornell.edu/cgi/t/text/pageviewer-idx?c=moawar;cc=moawar;idno=waro0001;node=waro0001%3A3;frm=frameset;view=image;seq=660;page=root;size=s
^ Dougan, Confederate Arkansas, p. 42; Margaret Ross, “Chronicles of Arkansas, the Years of the Civil War, Arkansas Gazette, Feb. 5 and Apr. 23, 1961; Bearss and Gibson, Little Gibraltar, pp. 242–243.
^ The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. ; Series 1 – Volume 1, page 686, accessed 19 January 2010, http://dlxs2.library.cornell.edu/cgi/t/text/pageviewer-idx?c=moawar;cc=moawar;q1=Rector;rgn=full%20text;idno=waro0001;didno=waro0001;view=image;seq=702;page=root;size=s;frm=frameset;