A few days after the defeat at the Battle of Little Rock, the City of Little Rock ceased operations on September 21, 1863.
Planning for this had started in August, which would suggest that civic leaders were none too confident in the ability of Confederate forces to hold on to the city. At the August 24, 1863, City Council meeting it was reported that the City’s funds (presumably Confederate) had been “placed in the hands of a reliable party who is well known to the Council.” The identity of this “reliable party” has never been disclosed.
On September 21, the Council met and took three votes. The first was to suspend the operation of City police (which at the time was not an official police force, it was a constable and some volunteers). The second was to suspend the collection of City taxes. The final vote was to adjourn.
There is no record of Mayor William Ashley being present at this meeting. Recorder A. J. Smith (the equivalent of City Clerk today) was not present. The minutes were signed by “J. Ash, Deputy.” Records do not indicate if that gentleman was officially Deputy Recorder or if he had simply been deputized to take minutes at the meeting. The five City Council members present were C. P. Bertrand (a former mayor and step-son of Little Rock’s first Mayor, Matthew Cunningham), S. H. Tucker, W. B. Walt, I. A. Henry (would would also serve on the first City Council after the war in 1866), and Lou George.