After years spent in front of my laptop, searching every website, e-book, blog, to find pieces of my genealogical puzzle, I reached the decision that more effort should be made with my husband's ancestral search. As with most families, the family historian is assumed by default and I have taken the assignment with great passion. But the intensity of passion is fueled by an inner spark and my spark at late has been dim. Not from a lack of interest in genealogy, but more as a result of a feeling of contentedness. A sense of satisfaction with knowledge found, puzzles solved, book written. Or so I thought.

With the undertaking of reviewing my husband's ancestral lineages and genealogical documents, I became reacquainted with his family tree. Focusing on a particular ancestor, I began the familiar search on Ancestry.com. Census records were brought forward and with a question of military service, I began searching the Civil War Pension Index. A match was quickly revealed for my husband's ancestor, shouting out: "Here he is, I found his Civil War Pension file!".

And with that, my spark began to flicker.

Perhaps new files have been added to the Ancestry.com Civil War Pension Index: records seem to be added daily, once again reminding me to keep searching and always go back to look again. So with a feeling of new energy and renewed curiosity, I decided to run all of my own ancestors of Civil War eligibility through the search engine once more. And as I casually added one of my great great grandfather's names to the search, the inner spark not only flickered, it began to flare.
Picture
I discovered that Wesley Lewis, my paternal great great grandfather, was a Farrier with the Union's First Arkansas Calvary during the Civil War. Such information is remarkable, as Arkansas joined the Confederacy in 1861, and Union sympathizers often faced physical harassment from the Confederate armies. The First Arkansas Calvary was a result of a few men from the hills of northwestern Arkansas, crossing the state boarder into Missouri, escaping the Confederates. Noticing the Arkansas refugee's movement into Missouri, Federal officers raised a regiment and the Union's First Arkansas Calvary was formed.

The ragtag group of the newly formed Union troops undertook their first battle at Prairie Grove, Arkansas on the seventh of December 1862. Overwhelmed by a sudden Confederate attack, the soldiers quickly fled and their military performance was considered weak. The First Arkansas was reassigned as garrisons to the town of Fayetteville, where they were relegated to escorting wagon trains and providing neighborhood patrols. But the turning point for the Union First Arkansas 'Mountain Feds', was a result of their overwhelming victory in a bloody battle with the Confederate troops in Fayetteville on the 18th of April 1863.

After three hours of battle, the First Arkansas Calvary held their ground and the Confederates retreated.

A feeling of triumph resulted in a stronger, more cohesive unit and the First Arkansas Calvary proudly served Fayetteville and northwestern Arkansas until they were mustered out of service in August 1865. Becoming the most famous Union regiment raised from the state.

The discovery of my ancestor's Civil War history and the heroic story of his experience, has once again brought spark and passion to my eternal genealogical flame. Providing further inspiration to undertake my husband's ancestral search and a renewed passion to restart mine.

Keep searching for answers,

Cheryl
(Source: The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture)