In mid-May 1861, John G. Gibson was organizing a company of volunteers at Tyro, Arkansas. This area had been a part of Desha county at the time of the 1860 census, but had been ceded to Drew county in 1861, and today constitutes a part of modern Lincoln county, Arkansas. The fledgling company had only gathered 33 volunteers, only a third of that needed to constitute a full company. Two companies of Arkansas volunteers from Ashley county, passing through Nashville, Tennessee, on their way to Virginia to form the Third Arkansas Infantry, met Samuel V. Reid, of Kentucky, who had brought 30 of his fellow Kentuckians down to Tennessee, looking for a regiment to attach themselves to. It was proposed that the two groups of volunteers join forces to fit out a full company for the Third Arkansas. The commissioned and non-commissioned officer appointments would be equally divided among the two groups, with Reid becoming captain and Gibson becoming first lieutenant. Accordingly, the Kentuckians enlisted at Nashville on June 10; the Arkansans enlisted at Tyro on June 15; and the new company traveled to Lynchburg, Virginia, where it was assigned to the Third Regiment, Arkansas Volunteers, as Company H, July 1861. Colonel Albert Rust, regimental commander, referred to the company as “my orphans,” a name which the men adopted as “The Orphan Company.” In keeping with its cosmopolitan nature, Company H recruited a quite a few Virginians during the war. During its four years of service, 116 men served in Company H. Only nine of them remained when the company was surrendered at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865. Their paroles were signed on April 12, 1865, and they were released to go home.
Source: Edward G. Gerdes Arkansas Civil War page by Bryan R. Howerton.
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