The Civil War Letters

 of brothers William H. H. and John S. Shibley

written to their


Originally Compiled and Edited
Van Buren, Arkansas

       LETTERS  1  THROUGH   15       LETTERS   16  THROUGH  36    LETTERS  37  THROUGH  46

 This is how the Civil War ended for the Shibley brothers.  The 22nd Regiment, of which Company G was a unit, was at Marshall, Texas, at the time of Lee’s surrender.  Capt. Robert Miles was absent on leave, so 1st Lieutenant W. H. H. Shibley was in command of the Company.  The troops stationed at Marshall were expected to surrender at Shreveport, La.  Officers of the 22nd Regiment and another Northwest Arkansas regiment, the 34th Arkansas, commanded by Col. W. H. Brooks of Fayetteville, held a consultation, as most of the men lived in the same general part of the state.  The 22nd’s men were mostly from Crawford County–from Van Buren and the numerous other villages, as well as a goodly number from the valleys and ridges of the Boston range of the Ozarks to the north.  The men of the 34th Arkansas were from across the Boston range but distinctly of the Arkansas Ozarks–they were from Prairie Grove, Cane Hill, Fayetteville, farms on Cove Creek, Richland, from near Rhea’s Mill and other environs.  The 35th’s men and the 22nd’s men had gotten pretty well acquainted, for their paths had been crossing often.  The 34th had drilled, before the battle of Prairie Grove in December, 1862, down along the Arkansas River near Van Buren.

 To go to Shreveport would require many miles of unnecessary travel, as they would have to go down the Red River to the Mississippi, up that river to the mouth of the Arkansas, and up that river to Little Rock.  If the water was low, they would have to march overland to Van Buren.

 When the proposition was made to the commanding officer that these two regiments be allowed to go to the Post at Fort Smith to surrender, he readily agreed, as that would relieve him of two regiments.  The regiments left Marshall together and marched as a little army.  The roads were rough and it took between 16 and 18 days to make the trip.  Strict discipline was observed and nothing was molested enroute, this speaking well of the men and their officers.

 When the two regiments were within a short distance of Fort Smith, they halted and pitched camp.  They put out guards, as they felt that although they were at home, yet they were in the country of the enemy, and they wished to be prepared for any emergency.  Several of the officers went into Fort Smith with a flag of truce, not knowing whether the commanding officer at the Post knew they were to report to him.  Company G was represented by its First Lieutenant, W. H. H. Shibley.  When all necessary arrangements for their surrender had been made, those with the flag of truce returned to camp and made their report.  The regiments then broke camp and marched into Fort Smith, with their bands playing “Dixie” and their flags flying.

 The men marched up, stacked their guns, and stepped back.  Lieutenant Shibley was one of those selected to go to the headquarters of General Bussey, at what is now known as the “Old Commissary Building” at Fort Smith.  They were received kindly.  Lieutenant Shibley told the General that his men lived just across the Arkansas River in Crawford County, several of them in Van Buren, and that he would like to have a day’s rations and ferriage for the men, as they had no money with which to pay their passage across on the ferry.

 Soon the men were drawn up in line in front of their guns, each one being searched for ammunition.  The swords of the officers were taken but the sidearms buckled around their waists on the outside of their uniforms were allowed to be kept by the men.  The soldiers were then paroled and told to return later and take the oath of allegiance.

 W. H. H. Shibley brought Company G home, across the river, to Van Buren and took them to the Commissary department located at the foot of Main Street.  Each man received one day’s rations.  Those living in town were asked to give their portions over to those living out in the county so they would have sufficient to last until they reached their own firesides.  Some dwelt on Lee’s Creek, some down at Dyer, some on Big Mulberry, some at Cedarville, some out in the Stevenson settlement, some at Figure Five, and others out in other neighborhoods.

 The soldiers were not taken up Main Street, as the feeling at Van Buren was not as friendly as had been that at Fort Smith.  Rather, they were taken up Webster Street, the one just south of Main, to a vacant lot at Webster and South Sixth streets.  The Company was disbanded.  The soldiers went home.

 Years later, the Shibley brothers and A. J. Lockhart wrote down the names, from memory, of 138 of the original Company G of 150 boys.  Many muster rolls had been lost and the years had a way of dimming their recollection, but here are the ones they remembered:


 Abbott, ---                      Bushong, Alex                      Davis, E. P.
 Alvison, William         Bushong, Will                      Dyer, Steven
 Alvison, Joe                  Campbell, Tom                     Dugan, David
 Bates, Peter                  Carson, Kitt                         Edwards, James
 Bailey, Doc                   Chambers, Hall                    Estes, John
 Bailey, Quint                Chilton, A.                            Fullerton, obert
 Baxter, James M.         Clark, G. K.                         Gee, James
 Baxter, F.                       Clegg, Joe                            Glass, Henry
 Baxter, Poley                 Coleman, Jack                    Glass, John
 Barker, James              Coleman, Louis                   Harrison, John
 Benoit, Ernest               Coleman, Will                     Hartgraves, ohn
 Benton, Jim                   Collins, Ben                         Hawkins, J. D.
 Best, ---                           Couts, Will                          Heard, John
 Bostick, Alfred             Covey, John                          Hill, James
 Brodie, John                  Curry, Lige                          Hiner, Isaac
 Brodie, J. S.                   Day, David                            Hines, Jack
 Brodie, D. W.                 Daniels, John                      Hinkle, James
 Burrow, John                 Davis, John                          Hinkle, John

 Hodges, John                McGee, Thomas                Simon, Martin
 Houck, Joseph              McIntyre, ---                      Smith, Alvis
 Howell, A. B.                 Meggins, W. E.                 Smith, Americus
 Irvin, ---                          Merrill, W. T.                   Smith, Rem
 Jackson, B.                   Miles, Robert                     Spivey, U.
 Jackson, F.                    Moore, D. W.                     Spoon, Abe
 Jackson, John              Moss, Joe                           Stevenson, Cam
 Jackson, Tom               Moss, Sam                          Stevenson, R. W.
 Jackson, Will               Mullen, George                 Talley, Barton
 Jones, James                Mullen, John                      Thomas, Whit
 King, James P.             Murton, Edward                 Turner, Thornton
 Kinton, Wash               Neal, F. M.                           Turman, Carroll
 Kuykendall, ---             Norwood, George               Vines, Jim
 Lacy, Alex H.                Palmore, S.                         Vinsant, I. B.
 Langford, Lewis           Peveyhouse, Jasper           Wallace, John
 Lige, ---                          Pounds, Isaac                      Warden, Marion
 Lockhart, A. J.             Pounds, Newman                Wells, Jake
 Luntsford, ---                Proffet, James                     Wells, Tom
 Lynch, Pat                     Pugh, Wm.                           West, John
 Maples, Joe                   Rucker, Nute                       West, Marion
 Matlock, David             Sagely, Joe                           West, M. T
 Matlock, John              Salyons, Arch                      White, Hadly
 Manis, James               Savage, Joe                           Whitehead, James
 Martin, Dick                Shibley, John S.                   Whitely, ---
 McCafferty,                  Mike  Shibley, W. H. H.      Williams. ---
 McCurdy, John            Shields, John                        Winkler, Henry
 McGee, Ben                  Shields, Will                         Woods, Jim

 In August, 1866, William Henry Harrison Shibley and his mother drove back to their former home at Shibley’s Point, Missouri, and he was married to his childhood sweetheart, Esther Cook, on the 16th of that month.  The bride’s father, Rev. Thomas Bishop Cook, performed the marriage ceremony.   The bride and bridegroom and his  mother  came back  to  the  log cabin home in Arkansas,  returning  in a surrey drawn  by  two mules  which W. H. H. had rented.  Years later, he told his children and grandchildren how, on long weary nights during the Civil War, he received comfort from looking at the stars, a particularly bright one which he had named “Esther.”

 After living a year with the Shibley family, W. H. H. and his wife moved to Van Buren, where they rented a small log house that stood on the northeast corner of what is now South Sixth and Webster streets.  Here their oldest son Harry was born.

 John Samuel Shibley took up the study of medicine.  He had been handy at waiting on the sick and wounded in the war.  He was graduated with high honors from  medical college at Nashville, Tennessee, and returned to Arkansas to practice.  At Roseville, located on the south bank of the Arkansas River below Fort Smith (the town has now almost disappeared) and at Ozark, he followed his profession and also taught in those towns.  At Roseville, a baby was born to him and his first wife, and here both his wife and baby died.  It is believed they are buried at Roseville.

 Dr. J. S. Shibley moved to Paris, Arkansas, and became one of the leading physicians of the state.  He was known and loved by all for many miles around.  He was particularly known for his high Christian character, his many charitable acts, and his help in building the Christian Church at Paris.  He became known as the leading authority on tuberculosis in Arkansas, and at the completion of the Arkansas Tuberculosis Sanitorium at Booneville, which he had worked hard to establish, he was appointed by Governor George Donaghey as its first superintendent.  This was in the summer of 1910.


As mentioned in several of these letters, the brothers had written other letters during the period covered herein.  It is not known whether the missing letters were lost in transit and never received, or  simply lost over the ensuing years.

Although this is the last letter in the collection, there surely were more letters written to “Dear Parents” during the twenty-two months that followed before Lieutenant W. H. H. Shibley surrendered Company G at Fort Smith on June 9, 1865, three years after the brothers enlisted in the Confederate Army in June of 1862.  A thoughtful reader can only regret the loss of the Shibley brothers’ accounts and commentaries of their  trials and battles during the last twenty-two months of their service and of the events leading to the surrender of the  army of the Confederate States of America, and the end of the Civil War.

It is with deep appreciation to others, such as Harry Shibley, Sr. and Ruie Ann Smith Park, as well as the Washington County Historical Society, that these letters were published and therefore became available to me.  My interest in reprinting them is not purely historical, because the  “Dear Parents” of these brave and loyal soldier boys were my great-grandparents, and I am extremely proud to have come from such sturdy stock.

       Dell L. Nelson
         Copyright is totally owned by Dell L. Nelson and reproduction by any means must have permission of
         Dell L. Nelson

         Fort Smith, Arkansas
         August, 1994

1999-copyright -The above information may be used for non-commercial historical and genealogical purposes
only and with the consent of the page owner may be copied for the same purposes so long as this notice
remains a part of the copied material. EDWARD G. GERDES

If you have any questions or comments or if you would like to have more information about the Civil War and
Pension Records of the men who served in these Companies, contact  Jeri Helms Fultz or Bryan Howerton

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