The Confederate State Capitol, Washington, as it appeared after the war.
(Photo courtesy of Historic Arkansas, by Ferguson & Atkinson)
This Secret was Kept Out of the History Books
The year was 1863, and the federal troops were advancing on Arkansas. The Arkansas history books refer to it as the Summer of Disaster, since many of the confederate troops from Arkansas were out of the state, trying to reinforce southern holdings.
When Grant captured Vicksburg, Mississippi, the Yankees had control of the Mississippi River. With the Mississippi under their control, the federals turned their attention to Arkansas. In August, an army commanded by General Steele set out to take the capital city of Little Rock.
The Union forces occupied Little Rock on September 10th, 1863. But the best kept secret was this….. hearing that the union troops were headed toward Little Rock, Arkansas - Governor Harris Flanagin grabbed up all of the state’s documents and headed to his summer home in Hot Springs. With the documents and the governor in Hot Springs, this town became the temporary capital of the state!
The state government eventually ended up in Washington, Arkansas, where it remained until the end of the civil war. Although Hot Springs is a remote little town of 35,000 people, its history is rich. Hot Springs’ Best Kept Civil War Secret - becoming the capital city because of a summer home!
P.h.D. of Wit
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