On Tuesday, January 19, 1864 efforts to create a new Unionist government in Federal occupied Arkansas accelerated. A pro-Union constitutional convention at Little Rock, Arkansas overwhelmingly adopted an anti-slavery measure.
Earlier the convention had selected Isaac Murphy as the provisional governor of Arkansas’ Unionist government; he would be inaugurated on January 22. The delegates also set Monday, March 14, 1864 as the date on which the people of Arkansas would ratify or reject by popular vote the proposed, new state constitution.
President Lincoln would assure a delegation of Arkansas citizens visiting Washington, D.C. that, until the ratification vote, he would not appoint a separate military governor for the state, leaving the administration of Arkansas until that time to General Frederick Steele, chief Union commander within the state.