Celebration Planned February 23 for Prairie D'Ane Battlefield Acquisition

Arkansas Historic Preservation Program - Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The Nevada County Depot and Museum will hold a celebration to accept the deed for an 800-acre tract of the Prairie D’Ane battlefield at Prescott before preparing the site for development as a heritage tourism destination. The celebration will be held at 2 p.m. on Friday, February 23, at First Baptist Church at 201 East Main Street in Prescott.

Dr. Nathan Patrick Hale and his wife, Sue, offered the $1.4 million battlefield site for $900,000, and the Depot and Museum led a fund-raising effort that raised an additional $200,000 to match a $700,000 grant from the American Battlefield Protection Program of the National Park Service. The Civil War Trust, America’s largest non-profit battlefield organization, purchased the property and will deed it to the museum.

“This effort was a tremendous partnership that started with the Hales’ incredibly generous bargain sale of the battle site,” Museum President Paul Ridgell said. “Additional funds from the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, the Friends of Nevada County Battlefields Committee, the Sturgis Trust and other businesses, local governments and above all private contributions made this dream a reality. We especially thank the Civil War Trust for its expertise and guidance throughout this purchase. Our next job is to begin developing the battlefield to bring heritage tourists to southwest Arkansas.”

“The Civil War Trust was very pleased to help save this important Arkansas battlefield, continuing the extraordinary partnership between the Trust, state and local government, and private donors, which came together two years ago to save a significant portion of the nearby Elkins’ Ferry battlefield,” Civil War Trust President James O. Lighthizer said.

“I commend the citizens of Prescott and Nevada County for their vision in making this project happen,” Stacy Hurst, state historic preservation officer and director of the Department of Arkansas Heritage, said. “They are an example to us all for what it takes to see the importance of preserving our past and taking the steps necessary to make it happen.”

The Nevada County Depot Museum has already commissioned an interpretive plan that will help guide development of the site, as well as 412 acres of the nearby Elkins’ Ferry Battlefield that were acquired in 2016 and other Camden Expedition sites in Clark County. Prairie D’Ane and Elkins’ Ferry are both National Historic Landmarks.

The fighting at Prairie D’Ane took place April 10-12, 1864, as Union troops from Little Rock and Fort Smith tried to join a second Federal army in Louisiana and then invade Texas. A lack of food and resistance from Confederate troops led the Union troops to instead march to Camden in search of supplies. They eventually retreated to Little Rock after suffering heavy casualties in several battles.

The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program is the Department of Arkansas Heritage agency responsible for identifying, evaluating, registering and preserving the state’s cultural resources. Other agencies are the Arkansas Arts Council, the Delta Cultural Center in Helena, the Old State House Museum, the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, the Historic Arkansas Museum and the Arkansas State Archives.

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