Arkansas Civil War Sites
Pea Ridge National Military Park, located on Highway 62 east of Pea Ridge, may be the best-preserved Civil War battlefield in Arkansas. The March 7-8, 1862, battle there was one of the largest fought west of the Mississippi. The 4,300-acre park is interpreted at the park visitor center and museum and through a driving tour that encompasses the majority of the battlefield.
The Buffalo National River is crossed by several important historic roads and was the scene of several skirmishes during the Civil War, as well as some of the random guerrilla acts that plagued the area, especially during 1864.
Fort Smith National Cemetery
Fort Smith National Historic Site in Fort Smith, best known for its long-standing, dynamic relationship to the Indian Territory, was seized by Rebel troops on April 23, 1861, and recaptured by Federal forces in 1863. It was a strategic focal point for both sides during the Civil War. It is interpreted and open to the public.
Fort Smith National Cemetery at 522 Garland Avenue in Fort Smith is the burial place of both Union and Confederate soldiers, including three generals and 1,500 unknown soldiers. The site offers a brochure, a mini-museum of local military history, and tours if arranged in advance.
The Headquarters House
The Headquarters House at 118 East Dickson Street, was the home of Judge Jonas M. Tebbetts, a new Hampshire native jailed after the outbreak of the Civil War for his Unionist sympathies. The 1853 structure was Federal Colonel M. LaRue Harrison's headquarters during the April 18, 1863, attack on Fayetteville by Confederates under General W.L. (Old Tige) Cabell.
The Canehill Battlefield encompasses a roughly 12-mile track beginning in the town of Canehill and traversing the mountainous area south to the Cove Creek area. Much of the area is now used for farming and ranching and the overall terrain is similar to how it looked on November 28, 1862, when General James G. Blunt's Union troops pursued General John S. Marmaduke's stubborn Rebels through the rugged Boston Mountains toward Van Buren. There is some interpretation through historic markers in the town of Canehill.
The Canehill Cemetery south of County Highway 13 contains the graves of some of Canehill's Civil War fatalities.
Prarie Grove Battlefield
Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park on Highway 62 at Prairie Grove includes much of the area of heaviest fighting in the December 7, 1862, battle of Prairie Grove that effectively removed northwest Arkansas as a route for Confederate troops to use to invade Missouri. The site is interpreted at a modern museum and visitor center and through a driving tour. Active efforts are underway to protect the Prairie Grove battlefield through acquisition of additional land and conservation easements.
Fayetteville Confederate Cemetery
The Fayetteville Confederate Cemetery on Rock Street atop East Mountain in Fayetteville was started in 1872 by the Southern Memorial Association of Washington County, which paid to have the remains of Confederate casualties at Pea Ridge and Prairie Grove, as well as from less-storied combats, removed and re-interred in what remains a picturesque and moving site.
Fayetteville National Cemetery
Fayetteville National Cemetery at 700 Government Avenue in Fayetteville was established in 1867 and its original interments were remains removed from the battlefields at Pea Ridge, Prairie Grove, Cane Hill and other places in the area.
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Mount Holly Cemetery
Mount Holly Cemetery at 12th Street and Broadway in Little Rock is the final resting place of executed Confederate spy David O. Dodd, as well as five Confederate generals.
Old U.S. Arsenal
The Old U.S. Arsenal in MacArthur Park at Ninth and Commerce Streets in Little Rock, completed in 1840, was surrendered to Arkansas Governor Henry M. Rector on February 8, 1861. From August of 1862, until Little Rock was taken by Union troops in September of 1863, the Arsenal was used to produce gunpowder and repair small arms for Confederate forces. It remained in Union hands until the end of the war.
Old State House
The 1836 Old State House at 300 West Markham in Little Rock was the seat of both the Confederate and Unionist governments in Arkansas during the Civil War.
The Pike-Fletcher-Terry House at 411 East 7th Street in Little Rock, built in 1840, was the home of Albert Pike, the confederate general who led a brigade of Cherokee troops at the Battle of Pea Ridge in 1862. It now houses the Decorative Arts Museum and is open to the public.
The Ten-Mile House
The Ten-Mile House on Highway 5 west of Little Rock, built between 1822-35, served as a stagecoach stop on the old Southwest Trail and as a Union outpost during the civil War. David O. Dodd was held there after his arrest on spying charges December 29, 1864. The building is a private residence.
Little Rock National Cemetery
Little Rock National Cemetery at 2523 Confederate Boulevard in Little Rock was initially used as a campground by U.S. troops. When the Union troops left, Confederates buried their dead on the west side. It was subsequently purchased by the U.S. government for a burial ground for occupation troops. A wall was erected between the Union and Confederate sections, but it was removed in 1913. Of particular note is the sculpture erected by the people of Minnesota to honor their troops who are buried in the cemetery.
Reed's Bridge, located at Jacksonville where Highway 161 crosses Bayou Meto, was the site of an August 27, 1863, battle in which Union troops under Gen. John Wynn Davidson fought Gen. John S. Marmaduke's Confederates during Gen. Frederick Steele's drive to capture Little Rock. The park site features interpretive panels, and an active effort is underway to preserve additional land associated with the battle.
Camp Nelson Confederate Cemetery Camp Nelson Confederate Cemetery
, located off Highway 321 near Cabot, contains the remains of Confederate soldiers who died from a measles epidemic in 1862. Their remains were gathered after the war and they were re-interred in this cemetery.
DeValls Bluff, located on Highway 70, features a series of waysides exhibits that explain the importance of a town that was a major Union base during the Civil War, as well as the railhead for the Memphis and Little Rock Railroad.
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Arkansas Post National Memorial, located eight miles southeast of Gillett in Arkansas, contains the January 11, 1863, Arkansas Post battlefield, where vastly superior numbers of Union troops under Major General John McClernand defeated Confederate defenders under Brigadier General Thomas Churchill. While Fort Hindman now lies beneath the Arkansas River, there are still remnants of Confederate trenches. The battle, as well as the rest of Arkansas Post's rich history, is interpreted at the park museum.
St. Charles Battlefield
The St. Charles Battlefield at St. Charles has changed considerably over the years, with the site of the rebel batteries that fired "the of the Civil War" into the boiler of the U.S. gunboat Mound City now covered by a large grain silo. There is an interpretive marker near the White River and a monument on Main Street to the Union sailors and Southern troops who died in that battle.
Ditch Bayou Battlefield
The Ditch Bayou Battlefield of 1864 has changed greatly in the post-war years, though the ditch where Colonel Greene's Rebels inflicted significant casualties on General Andrew J. Smith's attacking Federals on June 6, 1864, still cuts its path into Lake Chicot. A historic marker on Highway 82 notes the site of the battle and the combat is interpreted in displays at nearby Lake Chicot State Park.
Chalk Bluff Battlefield
The Chalk Bluff Battlefield is represented in Arkansas by a small, county-owned park two miles north of St. Francis on the St. Francis river. The town of Chalk Bluff, now long gone, was the site of several skirmishes during the Civil War, the most significant of which was the May 1-2, 1863, action as General John S. Marmaduke retreated from an unsuccessful raid into Missouri. The battle, and the town's history, is interpreted through plaques placed along a walking trail.
Jacksonport State Park
Jacksonport State Park, located between Dillard Street and the White River at Jacksonport, was the site of several fights during the Civil War and, on June 5, 1865, the surrender of the Confederate Army of Northern Arkansas.The park is interpreted at a museum in a ca. 1870 courthouse located within its boundaries.
Battle of Helena Battlefield
The Battle of Helena Battlefield is represented by the four Union battery sites, which are in various states of preservation and are all on private property. The July 4, 1863, battle was a major defensive victory for the Union and provided a third crushing defeat--along with Lee's retreat from Gettysburg and the fall of Vicksburg--for the South on that day. Battery A is located near Adams and Columbia Streets; Battery B is near Liberty Street and Summit Road; Battery C is near Clark and York Streets; and Battery D is on Military Road. The Battle of Helena is interpreted through historical markers throughout Helena.
Helena Confederate Cemetary
The Confederate Cemetery in Helena contains the graves of many of the southern casualties of the July 4, 1863, Battle of Helena, as well as the final resting place of one of the South's great generals: Helena resident Patrick Cleburne.
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Marks' Mills Battlefield
The Marks' Mills Battlefield, commemorated by a state park at the junction of Highways 8 and 97, was the site of an April 25, 1864, fight in which Confederate cavalry ambushed and captured a Union supply train and the brigade of Federal troops guarding it, forcing General Frederick Steele to abandon Camden for lack of supplies and return to Little Rock. The area, reportedly heavily wooded at the time of the battle, appears much that way today.
Jenkins' Ferry Battlefield
The Jenkins' Ferry Battlefield is located along Highway 46 and interpreted at a state park on the banks of the Saline River, which Steele's Federals were desperately trying to cross at the end of the failed Camden expedition of the Red River Campaign of 1864. The battlefield, now largely in timber production, is still prone to heavy spring flooding, as it was when the two armies met there on April 30, 1864.
Confederate State Capitol
The Confederate State Capitol on the Old Southwest Trail through Washington is the building to which Confederate Governor Harris Flanagin moved his state government when Union forces captured Little Rock in September 1863. The building, erected in 1836, as the Hempstead County Courthouse, is part of Old Washington State Park.
The Grandison D. Royston House on Alexander Street in Washington, a classic ca. 1830 Greek Revival-style structure, was the home of Royston, a Unionist who stayed with his state after secession and served two years in the Confederate Congress in Richmond, Virginia.
Prairie De Ann Battlefield
The Prairie De Ann Battlefield northwest of Interstate 30 at Prescott was the scene of heavy skirmishes April 9-12, 1864, as Southern soldiers sought to blunt the Union drive toward the Red River. Though the Confederates thought the Federal objective was their capital at Washington in Hempstead County, the Northern troops instead headed for Camden. The Prairie DeAnn battlefield is all private property. Most of it is pasture land, looking much as it would have in 1864. It is interpreted at the Depot Museum in Prescott.
Fort Southerland (also known as Fort Diamond) at Fort Southerland Park on Bradley Ferry Road in Camden was part of the formidable fortifications started by Confederate troops and improved by Federal soldiers during their occupation of the city in 1864. Fort Southerland is accessible to the public and interpreted through markers at the site.
Poison Spring Battlefield
The Poison Spring Battlefield on Highway 76 near Chidester was the site of an April 18, 1864, battle in which Confederate troops attacked and decimated a Union supply train bringing badly needed materials to Camden. The battle, in which the First Kansas Colored Regiment suffered disproportionately high casualties, remains one of the most controversial in Arkansas history. A state park interprets the battlefield.
The McCollum-Chidester House at 926 Washington Street in Camden, built in 1847, was home to Union General Frederick Steele during part of the Federal occupation of Camden in 1864. It is now a house museum.
To learn more about the Civil War in Arkansas, go to www.civilwarbuff.org.
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