Date of Award

Spring 5-5-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in History


History & Political Science


College of Arts & Humanities

Committee Chair

Kelly Houston Jones, Ph.D.

Second Committee Member

Gregory Michna, Ph.D.

Third Committee Member

Jeffrey Pearson, Ph.D.

Program Director

Kelly Houston Jones, Ph.D.

Dean of Graduate College

Sarah Gordon, Ph.D.


This thesis examines the administration of Arkansas’s contraband camps. The Union Army originally failed Black refugees in their quest for freedom as it was unprepared for the large number of African Americans seeking protection and guidance from the army. Arkansas historians have analyzed the effect the war had on the state as a whole and the operation of the Freedmen’s Bureau, but none of these works detail the various agencies that worked with federal authorities. This thesis follows the Western Sanitary Commission and the American Missionary Association as they assisted the federal government by providing supplies and forming partnerships with the Union Army. This research provides coverage in the history of Civil War Arkansas by studying the humanitarian crisis during the war years and examining how agencies interacted with U.S. forces on behalf of Black refugees in Arkansas. “Analyzing the Relationship Between Aid Agencies and the Union Army in Civil War Arkansas from 1862 to 1865” employs agency reports, letters, Freedmen’s Bureau communications, and WPA interviews to assess the aid offered in Arkansas’s Civil War contraband camps.