The American Revolution in Arkansas

Because Arkansas was part of the Louisiana Territory, and under the Spanish flag, one does not think about there being any Revolutionary War battles being fought on Arkansas soil.

But on April 17, 1783, the British and Spanish skirmished at Arkansas Post.  Sometimes known as Colbert’s Raid, this was part of a four year campaign of intermittent efforts by the British to stop the Spaniards from funneling money and supplies to the colonists via the Mississippi River.

James Colbert, a former British Army captain, led a loose group of British mercenaries as well as anti-Spanish members of the Chickasaw tribe on a series of raids in Louisiana and the lower Mississippi area.  He targeted Fort Carlos at Arkansas Post because of its proximity to the Arkansas and Mississippi Rivers.

The Fort had 33 Spanish soldiers and four members of the Quapaw tribe.  Colbert had over 80 men with him.  After an initial attack on the Post, several residents made it to the Fort which was then attacked.  Expecting surrender (and indeed there had been a brief truce), instead a Spanish sortie of 14 faced the 82. Shouting Quapaw war cries and firing their muskets, under the cover of darkness, this sortie surprised and confused the Colbert party.  Convinced that a large collection of Quapaw was attacking them, they scattered and retreated.

Today, the National Park Service at Arkansas Post offers information on this battle, one of the last of the Revolutionary War (and a full 18 months after Cornwallis surrendered to Washington at Yorktown).

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Little Rock Look Back: Birth of Count Pulaski

On March 6, 1745, Casimir Pulaski was born in Poland. A Polish nobleman and military commander he has been called a “father of the American cavalry.”

Born in Warsaw, he followed in his father’s footsteps he became involved in the military and the revolutionary affairs in Poland. Pulaski was one of the leading military commanders for the Bar Confederation and fought against Russian domination of Poland. When this uprising failed, he was driven into exile.

Following a recommendation by Benjamin Franklin, Pulaski emigrated to North America to help in the cause of the American Revolutionary War. He distinguished himself throughout the revolution, most notably when he saved the life of George Washington.

Pulaski became a general in the Continental Army, created the Pulaski Cavalry Legion and reformed the American cavalry as a whole. At the Battle of Savannah, while leading a daring charge against British forces, he was gravely wounded, and died shortly thereafter.

Pulaski is one of only eight people to be awarded honorary United States citizenship. He never married and had no descendants.

Arkansas is one of several states to have a county named in honor of Count Pulaski.  Pulaski County was Arkansas’s fifth county, formed on December 15, 1818.

The bust above was one of several created by Pulaski Federal Savings & Loan to be placed at their locations.  While no one knows what Count Pulaski looked like, it was probably not like that.  This rendering is a purely fictional representation.  This bust is now in Riverfront Park.

Little Rock Look Back: Count Casimir Pulaski

On March 6, 1745, Casimir Pulaski was born in Poland. A Polish nobleman and military commander he has been called a “father of the American cavalry.”

Born in Warsaw, he followed in his father’s footsteps he became involved in the military and the revolutionary affairs in Poland. Pulaski was one of the leading military commanders for the Bar Confederation and fought against Russian domination of Poland. When this uprising failed, he was driven into exile.

Following a recommendation by Benjamin Franklin, Pulaski emigrated to North America to help in the cause of the American Revolutionary War. He distinguished himself throughout the revolution, most notably when he saved the life of George Washington.

Pulaski became a general in the Continental Army, created the Pulaski Cavalry Legion and reformed the American cavalry as a whole. At the Battle of Savannah, while leading a daring charge against British forces, he was gravely wounded, and died shortly thereafter.

Pulaski is one of only eight people to be awarded honorary United States citizenship. He never married and had no descendants.

Arkansas is one of several states to have a county named in honor of Count Pulaski.  Pulaski County was Arkansas’s fifth county, formed on December 15, 1818.

Little Rock Look Back: George Washington

The Washington Inaugural Bible

Washington1George Washington was born on February 22, 1732, in Westmoreland, Virginia. He is one of only two American Presidents to not have any authority over the land now known as Little Rock. Washington never ventured west of the Mississippi River, so never visited Arkansas.

As the first President and Father of his Country, he has many things named after him. In Little Rock, Washington Street is named in his honor.

In 2013, two Little Rock museums highlighted George Washington artifacts. Historic Arkansas Museum displayed the Washington family Bible for several months. At the start of that time, they also showcased the Bible on which Washington swore his first oath as President (the inaugural inaugural?).

A few months later, the Clinton Presidential Center featured Washington’s personal annotated copy of the 1789 “Acts Passed at a Congress of the United States of America.” This artifact had been purchased by the Mount Vernon Ladies Association in 2012.

Free admission at Clinton Center today

Clinton Library 3The Clinton Presidential Center is free today in honor of the George Washington Birthday Federal Holiday.  Also free are audio tours narrated by President Clinton.

This is a wonderful opportunity to see the final day of the temporary Coca-Cola exhibits.

Illustrations of an American Original is located in the Garden View Room and focuses the now-iconic images and advertising campaigns that have helped define the Coca-Cola brand.  An American Original at 100 is housed in the Temporary Gallery, bringing together historic bottle “firsts.” It features a 13-bottle chronology, including an original glass bottle produced in 1902, a replica of the prototype contour bottle created by the Root Glass Company in 1915, and a prototype of the aluminum bottle that debuted in 2008.
In addition to Illustrations of an American Original and An American Original at 100, the Center is also displaying a full-size antique Coca-Cola delivery truck produced in 1949 by the White Motor Company and a spectacular hanging installation comprised of more than 750 3D-printed, ribbon-shaped interpretations of the bottle’s classic shape.

Revolutionary War battle in Arkansas

Colbert's_RaidBecause Arkansas was part of the Louisiana Territory, and under the Spanish flag, one does not think about there being any Revolutionary War battles being fought on Arkansas soil.  But on April 17, 1783, the British and Spanish skirmished at Arkansas Post.  Sometimes known as Colbert’s Raid, this was part of a four year campaign of intermittent efforts by the British to stop the Spaniards from funneling money and supplies to the colonists via the Mississippi River.

James Colbert, a former British Army captain, led a loose group of British mercenaries as well as anti-Spanish members of the Chickasaw tribe on a series of raids in Louisiana and the lower Mississippi area.  He targeted Fort Carlos at Arkansas Post because of its proximity to the Arkansas and Mississippi Rivers.

The Fort had 33 Spanish soldiers and four members of the Quapaw tribe.  Colbert had over 80 men with him.  After an initial attack on the Post, several residents made it to the Fort which was then attacked.  Expecting surrender (and indeed there had been a brief truce), instead a Spanish sortie of 14 faced the 82. Shouting Quapaw war cries and firing their muskets, under the cover of darkness, this sortie surprised and confused the Colbert party.  Convinced that a large collection of Quapaw was attacking them, they scattered and retreated.

Today, the National Park Service at Arkansas Post offers information on this battle, one of the last of the Revolutionary War (and a full 18 months after Cornwallis surrendered to Washington at Yorktown).

Little Rock Look Back: Casimir Pulaski

On March 6, 1745, Casimir Pulaski was born in Poland. A Polish nobleman and military commander he has been called a “father of the American cavalry.”

Born in Warsaw, he followed in his father’s footsteps he became involved in the military and the revolutionary affairs in Poland. Pulaski was one of the leading military commanders for the Bar Confederation and fought against Russian domination of Poland. When this uprising failed, he was driven into exile.

Following a recommendation by Benjamin Franklin, Pulaski emigrated to North America to help in the cause of the American Revolutionary War. He distinguished himself throughout the revolution, most notably when he saved the life of George Washington.

Pulaski became a general in the Continental Army, created the Pulaski Cavalry Legion and reformed the American cavalry as a whole. At the Battle of Savannah, while leading a daring charge against British forces, he was gravely wounded, and died shortly thereafter.

Pulaski is one of only eight people to be awarded honorary United States citizenship. He never married and had no descendants.

Arkansas is one of several states to have a county named in honor of Count Pulaski.  Pulaski County was Arkansas’s fifth county, formed on December 15, 1818.