Civil War Arkansas: A Military Atlas is the newest publication by Helena-based Arkansas Toothpick Publishing, LLC. The new publishing company boasts that its first book debuted at No. 1 on the new book releases on Amazon in the genre of historic geography.
The reference book has since sold many copies all over the country and has been getting five-star reviews. Randy Puckett and Ron Kelley both brought their experience together to create the most detailed mapping project of Arkansas during the Civil War.

Civil War Arkansas: A Military Atlas is the newest publication by Helena-based Arkansas Toothpick Publishing, LLC. The new publishing company boasts that its first book debuted at No. 1 on the new book releases on Amazon in the genre of historic geography.

The reference book has since sold many copies all over the country and has been getting five-star reviews. Randy Puckett and Ron Kelley both brought their experience together to create the most detailed mapping project of Arkansas during the Civil War.

Puckett has spent the past 20 years in the spatial disciplines. With a background in land surveying and drafting, he has a degree in Geography from the University of Central Arkansas in Conway. He is currently a geographic information systems (GIS) professional with the state of Arkansas. In July 2010 Puckett was the recipient of the prestigious Special Achievement in GIS Award from the Environmental Systems Research Institute.

His co-author Ron Kelley is a public historian in Helena who holds a BA in History and a MA in Public History from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and has worked in the education field for over 20 years. He works as a public historian and is a nationally certified interpreter through the National Association of Interpretation.

Students of Arkansas History agree that a definitive atlas of Antebellum Arkansas is challenging to find. This authoritative volume includes newly digitized Arkansas historical sites that have come to represent a vivid picture of the state over 150 years ago. This book brings to life the numerous landscapes on which countless human dramas played out during the Civil War in Arkansas. This indispensable aid to the Arkansas historian and genealogist combines colorful, detailed maps of an atlas with accompanying cartographers’ notes to facilitate context of the thousands of historical sites included in this atlas.

The Helena World asked Puckett about what makes this book different from the other hundreds of publications on the Civil War in Arkansas. Puckett replied, “Arkansas was one of the least mapped states during the Civil War, and yet was one of the most active in terms of military actions.” He continued, “The only known resource to address the state of Arkansas, in such detail, was hidden away in the national archives for many years before someone stumbled onto the Confederate engineer map completed under the direction of Richard Venable; the genre of historical geography in Arkansas has always been severely lacking and this book addresses that deficiency.”

To transfer information from an original Confederate engineer map to a digital format took time to complete.

“We employed modern GIS techniques,” commented Puckett. “The original map had to be electronically clipped into the individual townships depicted in the atlas.” He began explaining the process. “From there we used a technique called geo-rectification, which is the process of taking all or part of a scanned map and overlaying it onto another map and once this overlay is complete, roads, rivers, mountains and all other geographic features can be digitized,” he concluded. “Once the digitization process is complete, you have the basic anatomy of an atlas.”

Over 150 years have gone by since the Civil War ended. The Helena World asked Puckett what, if anything, can students of Arkansas history expect to gain from this atlas?

“Aside from the obvious usage by Civil War researchers, this atlas will provide a vital tool for genealogists and amateur historians alike.”

“Arkansas history buffs will find over 130 churches, over 100 businesses, and nearly 100 Confederate encampments scattered across the pages of this atlas.” Puckett noted. “Over 3,000 historical points of interest are carefully indexed, making this atlas the most detailed model of Arkansas before railroads and highways dotted the landscape.”