Civil War in the
Arkansas Post National Monument
Entrance on AR Route 169, 9 miles south of Gillett
Established as a French trading post in 1686, this spot near the confluence of the Mississippi and Arkansas Rivers has been important for the control of both rivers for hundreds of years.
The Confederates built massive Fort Hindman here in 1862 to guard against Union incursions up the Arkansas River into the state’s interior. The fort fell after an overpowering Union Army-Navy attack Jan. 10–11, 1863. The battle not only opened up a river route to Little Rock, but also further eroded Confederate activity on the Mississippi.
The visitor center tells the Civil War story here and offers self-guided tours of the fort.
Grounds open daily 8 am–dark, visitor center open 8 am–5 pm daily. Free.
The Union garrison here (occupied in July 1862) controlled local Mississippi River traffic and served as a base for Northern operations in eastern Arkansas. Strongly fortified and protected by gunboats, the Federals here withstood a Confederate attack July 4, 1863. The bloody battle resulted in more than 1,600 Southern casualties of fewer than 8,000 engaged. Combined with the fall of Confederate Vicksburg the same day, the Union defense of Helena meant Federal control of the Mississippi that Southerners west of the river were cut off.
For a very good tour of Helena including what’s left of the town’s Civil War defenses and the burial spot of Confederate hero Gen. Patrick Cleburne, see www.civilwarbuff.org/helena.html
Delta Cultural Center
141 Cherry St, Helena AR 72342
Good Civil War exhibits here detail the area’s experience and the July 4, 1863, battle. Open Tuesday–Saturday 9 am–5 pm. Free.
Lake Chicot State Park (Ditch Bayou Battlefield)
2542 Highway 257, Lake Village AR 71653 (8 miles northeast of Lake Village)
A handful of Confederates held off a much larger force during a June 6, 1864 battle here. This was the last significant engagement in Arkansas. Interpretive markers in the park describe the action. Civil War driving tour brochure available at the visitor center.
Chalk Bluff Battlefield Park
70 County Road 368, Piggott, AR 72454
Trenches and historical markers commemorate this important Arkansas-Missouri river crossing during the war. Confederate Gen. John Marmaduke fought off Union pursuers the first days of May 1863 after his unsuccessful raid into Missouri. Park open daylight hours. Free.
Jacksonport State Park
205 Avenue St, Jacksonville AR 7275
Important riverboat town on the White River with access to the Mississippi River was occupied by both sides during the war. Five major generals made their headquarters here. Exhibits in the Courthouse Museum include Civil War stories. Seasonal weekend Civil War programs offered.
Museum open Tuesday–Saturday 8 am–5 pm, Sunday 1–5 pm. $3/adult.
Website links for Arkansas places: Arkansas Links