Thursday, April 24, 2008

State of Arkansas
Thomas Carmichael Hindman, Jr. (January 28, 1828September 27, 1868) was a lawyer, United States Representative from the 1st Congressional District of Arkansas, and a Major General in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War.

Family background
The elder Hindman frequently made business trips to Alabama, and even moved the family to Jacksonville, Alabama after buying several lots of land there. Hindman took advantage of the many local business opportunities and was able to provide his family with whatever they needed. Hindman Sr. gained a reputation for honesty with his business associates, which included Cherokee Indian tribes in the area.

Thomas C. Hindman Early life
Soon, the United States Army engaged in fighting at the US-Mexico border. After skirmishes along the Rio Grande between Mexican forces and American forces led by General Zachary Taylor, Congress approved a declaration of war and President James K. Polk called upon the states to draw up 50,000 volunteers to be alongside the army. Mississippi newspapers encouraged state residents to join the action. One newspaper, the Holly Springs Guard, proclaimed, "To arms! To arms! Ye brave! Th' avenging sword unsheathe: March on, march on, all hearts resolved, on [to] victory or death."

Participation in the Mexican-American War
After returning back to Ripley, Hindman continued his law studies under Orlando Davis. A year after the war ended Hindman's brother, Robert, engaged in a fight with William Falkner because he had thought Falkner tried to block his membership into the Ripley section of the Sons of Temperance. Robert Hindman tried to defend himself, but his gun failed to fire, and Falkner then fatally stabbed him. Falkner was tried for murder, but was acquitted by the jury ruling that he was acting in self-defense.

Back in Mississippi
By 1854, Hindman realized that he had little room to maneuver in the crowded Mississippi political arena. Looking across the Mississippi River, Hindman observed that the young and turbulent State of Arkansas was wide open for a well educated and ambitious politician. Hindman left Mississippi politics when he moved to Helena, Arkansas on March 18, 1854.

Move to Arkansas
During his term, Hindman tried to bring unity to the state's Democratic Party. He turned on the political hierarchy in the state, and political warfare divided the Democratic Party in Arkansas, with the pro-Hindman forces on one side and the forces of the political "family" that had ruled Arkansas since territorial days on the other. He labeled the actions of the "family" as "the most concentrated wrath of the small managers of the caucus and of certain outside high-priests who manage[d] them."

Bringing down Arkansas's political "family"
As the American Civil War approached, Hindman was an ardent voice for secession and was essentially Arkansas's most prominent Fire-Eater. When Arkansas voted 65-5 to secede from the Union in May of 1861, Hindman was present in the gallery of the convention.

The Civil War
Hindman's edicts, however, raised the ire of the local citizenry and they, and Hindman's political enemies, demanded that the Confederate leaders in Richmond replace him. By August of 1862, the authorities in Richmond decided to replace him with the well-meaning but incompetent Theophilus H. Holmes.

In charge of "Hindman's Legion"
Hindman joined Confederate refugees in the Mexican town of Carolota, where he engaged in coffee planting and attempted to practice law. By April 1867, he was confident enough in the situation at home to return to Arkansas and apply to President Andrew Johnson for a pardon.

See also

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