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Winter Quarters

Also posted on the Arkansas Message Board. This message sound familiar?

"It was not now probable that the enemy would make any further advance before spring, and the campaign of 1861 might be considered at an end, and the troops were ordered into winter quarters.

Winter quarters had been prepared at places suitable for obtaining forage, and supplies easily, having regard to other advantages which might be of importance for health, position, or convenience of having them called speedily together in case of emergency.

Price's army was stationed in the neighbourhood of Springfield and other stations in the south of Missouri according to the means of obtaining supplies. McCulloch's army was similarly placed in the north-west part of Arkansas. Our regiment was stationed at a place called "Cross Hollow," about 18 miles from Fayetteville, a range of wooden houses having been put up for their accommodations. Our company and the Iberville Greys were specially stationed at the town of Fayetteville as a guard for that place, it being now a depot of supplies.

Our quarters here was a large school or educational institute, which made one imagine that such buildings were favorite places for quartering troops.

The facts regarding these buildings I found to be pretty much as described to me by an old farmer. The sale of public lands held by the State for educational purposes produced a large revenue. Hence the money was expended for educational purposes, though perhaps not in the most honourable or judicious manner. Large schools were built without regard to the requirements or desires of the population, who seldom sent their children to the public schools; and it might be as the old farmer said, that teachers were appointed with large salaries and nothing to do, as a reward for electioneering and getting the party into power, while the war-cry of education was sufficient to stifle any attempt at remonstrance, and no one might dare to utter a word of criticism on anything pertaining to the system or the means of carrying it out, be it ever so pregnant with jobbery and corruption. 'Tis true that this was in an outlying district and in a country thinly settled."

William Watson, Life in the Confederate Army, Being the Observations and Experiences of an Alien in the South During the American Civil War, LSU Press, 1995, pp. 267/8

Scottman William Watson served as 1st/Orderly Sergeant with 3rd Louisiana Infantry. Was a part owner of a "sawmilling and wood factory" and a coal and stemboat business in Baton Rouge.

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Winter Quarters
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