General

Thomas Hindman

Thomas Hindman

Thomas Hindman was an uncompromising Southern politician who revolutionized Arkansas politics before the Civil War. He opposed anti-Catholic Know-Nothing party supporters and attacked Arkansas’ dominant Democratic faction known as “the Family”.

Hindman took command of the Trans-Mississippi District in 1862 and immediately put it on a total war footing, engaging in guerrilla warfare and imposing martial law with devastating results, creating numerous enemies across his command area.

Early Life and Education

Thomas Hindman showed an aggressive spirit from an early age. At seventeen, he joined the Second Mississippi Volunteer Infantry and participated in the Mexican War; though their unit saw little action. Soon enough however, Thomas rose through the ranks quickly before eventually mustering out at war’s end as lieutenant.

Hindman quickly rose through the legal and political scene in Helena (Phillips County), developing close ties with future Confederate General Patrick Cleburne and speaking out against anti-Catholic Know-Nothings by creating a Democratic association designed to stop them.

Hindman was promoted to brigadier general by late 1862 and sent to Arkansas as commander of the Trans-Mississippi Department. Unfortunately, his attempt at placing Arkansas on a total war footing caused much discontent among citizens who claimed civil liberty violations; eventually Richmond authorities replaced him with Theophilus Holmes who proved more competent but less popular with residents.

Professional Career

Hindman was an Arkansas lawyer and Democratic politician during the years preceding the American Civil War. He played a pivotal role in convincing Arkansas to secede from the Union, later joining its army as a brigadier general.

Hindman was determined and daring from an early age, becoming involved with the 2nd Mississippi Infantry Regiment at 17 for duty during the Mexican War primarily on garrison duty but soon becoming post adjutant.

Following the war, he resumed his law practice in Ripley, Mississippi, quickly becoming involved with politics and eventually being elected to the state legislature. Additionally, he founded a newspaper and formed friendships with Patrick Cleburne who would later go on to emulate his career as a Confederate general.

Achievement and Honors

Thomas Hindman quickly made an impactful political debut as a leader of Arkansas’ Democratic Party, fighting off Know-Nothings and working toward secession from the Union.

As soon as the American Civil War broke out, he joined the Confederate States Army and quickly rose through its ranks to brigadier general status. He led his brigade at Shiloh in April 1862 where they suffered only slight wounds themselves.

After the battle, his efforts in stopping Union forces from reaching Little Rock was widely recognized and later credited with saving Arkansas. Following this event he returned home and served as editor of the States Rights Democrat newspaper before going back into politics as one of Helena’s leading politicians; Patrick Cleburne became close friend and shared similar military experience as Confederate general.

Personal Life

Hindman was a lawyer and Democratic politician who dramatically transformed Arkansas politics during the period leading up to the Civil War. A key force in pushing Arkansas toward secession, he then rose through the Confederate army ranks until becoming brigadier general of Trans-Mississippi Department command. By encouraging guerrilla warfare and applying martial law rule across this entire region, his tactics left many enemies. After being transferred to Army of Tennessee division in 1863 he participated in both Chickamauga battle and Atlanta campaign before eventually serving under General Sherman himself at Chickamauga battle and early stages of Atlanta campaign as well.

Hindman left Mississippi due to its limited opportunities in politics, moving instead to Helena (Phillips County) in 1856 and marrying Mary Watkins Biscoe – a wealthy planter. While here he also formed a strong friendship with future Confederate general Patrick Cleburne.

Net Worth

Hindman began campaigning for Arkansas’s First Congressional District seat, though he later withdrew due to Democratic infighting. His stump speeches emphasized the necessity of secession for protecting property and rights in the South.

Hindman was injured at Shiloh when an enemy shell hit his horse and caused a severe wound, yet still received promotion to major general and sent on his mission to command Trans-Mississippi Department in Little Rock.

Hindman took drastic measures to restore order to his territory, including ordering martial law and conscription of soldiers; deserters would face summary execution; this action caused outrage among many local citizens as well as pressure from political enemies who wanted him out of office and demanded that Richmond authorities replace him with someone more suitable.

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