State commanders often modified this act, the most innovative being the new Confederate commander of the Trans-Mississippi Department. In May 1862, Ma j Gen Thomas C. Hind man arrived in Little Rock, Arkansas, at a threatening moment. Price's defeat at Pea Ridge on March 7 had not only crushed the South's hopes of taking Missouri but left Arkansas open to invasion. The Confederacy needed the state's manpower, agricultural produce, and geographical position to threaten the Union west, but most of its trained men had already been transferred east of the Mississippi. There were many Unionists in the Ozark hill country in the north of the state, and the mainly secessionist population of the Arkansas River valley were obviously vulnerable, Hindman imposed martial law, seized as many supplies as he could, and began conscription. Hoping to delay the Union army long enough to rebuild his conventional forces, Hindman started the only guerrilla insurgency instigated and planned by a Confederate state government. His General Order No, 17 of June 17,1862, called upon all men not subject to conscription (as being too old or young, working in essential labor, or living in Union-occupied areas) to form bands of ten or more men to "cut off Federal pickets, scouts, foraging parties, and trains, and kill pilots and others on gunboats and transports...". They would receive pay and supplies, and would be subject to military law and regulation.

By August 1862, Hindman had raised 18,000 regular and 5,000 irregular troops. When a flotilla of Union gunboats tried to open up the White River in northeast Arkansas to Union shipping they were driven off by constant fire from guerrilla sharpshooters, and the guerrillas swarming through the northern half of the state helped keep the Union forces from taking the Arkansas River valley and Little Rock for another year. However, Arkansas would come to regret Hindman's orders: the government was never able to control the guerrillas, who would become more like outlaws than Confederate irregulars.

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