Milton Dyer Baber (always referred to after his service in the CSA as Colonel Baber) was born on February 3, 1837, at Rumsey. McLean County. Kentucky, the sixth child of the marriage of Charles M. Baber(1800-1868) and Lucy Harwood.
He came to Arkansas in 1858. On May 9. 1859. at Smithville, Arkansas. the then county seat, before the Honorable William C. Bevens, circuit judge. Milton Baber was admitted to practice law. He and Samuel Robinson were elected to represent Lawrence County in the Secession Convention of 1861 which convened March 4, 1861.
On June 16. 1861. Baber enrolled at Camp Shaver in Captain Glenn Shaver's Company I, 7th Regiment, Arkansas Infantry, later converted into Company I, 7th Regiment. Arkansas Infantry, C.S.A. He was chosen as First Lieutenant (at this time troops elected the officers to lead). This regiment drilled at General Hardee's headquarters at Pittman's Ferry in Randolph County until the last of August 1861 when it was ordered to Bowling Green. Kentucky. It protected the rear in the retreat from Bowling Green after the fall of Forts Henry and Donelson. and later participated in the Battle of Shiloh. 6 and 7. 1862.The severe losses suffered at Shiloh required a reorganization of the Confederate forces on May 8, 1862. when both Shaver and Baber were sent back to Arkansas for the purpose of coming home and organizing a new regiment. On July 12.1862. at Smithville. Baber enlisted in and was selected as Captain of Company D. Shaver's Regiment, Arkansas Infantry. subsequently known as Company O, 38th Regiment. Arkansas Infantry. C.S.A. On August 2, 1862. he was promoted to Major and on April 1 1863, to Lieutenant Colonel. The 38th became a part Of Tappan's brigade of Hindman's Army,
In the summer of 1864 he organized and became the colonel of the 45th Regiment Arkansas Cavalry, C.S.A. commonly called Baber’s Regiment. No muster rolls of this regiment are now extant, but J.W. Clark was Lieutenant Colonel and George R. Jones. adjutant. The only active service of this regiment appears to have been in Price's Raid through Missouri. The raid started on October 5, 1864. but Colonel Baber was taken prisoner October 22. 1864. in the fighting at Independence, Jackson County, Missouri. He was received at Gratiot Street Military Prison, St. Louis, Missouri. during the five days ending November 15, 1864 (exact days not known), transferred to Johnson's Island, Sandusky, Ohio. November 12, 1864. transferred to Camp Douglas. Illinois, February 17, 1865, where he was paroled on June 20, 1865. and released on June 20, 1865.
After the war, Baber returned to Smithville where he practiced law and was elected prosecuting attorney until the county seat moved to Clover Bend. In 1886, he was nominated for Secretary of State on the Agricultural Wheel ticket.1
On October 2 1877, at the age of 40, he married Mrs. Margaret Raney Sloan of Powhatan, then aged 33, widow Of James Sloan and mother of Clay Sloan. No children who lived to maturity were born Of his second marriage, After this marriage, Colonel Baber moved to Powhatan. A few years thereafter, he formed a law partnership with George Thornburg, which continued until Mr. Thornburg moved to Walnut Ridge to begin the publication of the Lawrence County Telephone. About 1886 Colonel Baber formed a partnership with R.P. “Frank” Mack, which continued until about 1892. About 1889 Colonel Baber moved from Powhatan to Walnut Ridge, Mack remaining in Powhatan, the firm thereby having a member in each town.
Baber was said to be over 200 pounds and 5’10” with a masterful command of the courtroom, excelling in jury selection and gathering testimony.
1. "Hon George Thornburgh will Decline." Daily Arkansas Gazette. June 12, 1886. p.8.MD Baber Nominated as Ag Wheel Secretary, 6-12-1886.pdf