Civil War in
Pea Ridge National Military Park
15930 Highway 62, Garfield AR 72732
Driving and walking tours take visitors through the high points of this important and well-preserved 4,300-acre battlefield. The Union victory here March 7-8, 1862, ended any serious Confederate hopes of holding Missouri. A total of more than 25,000 soldiers fought here including a contingent of American Indians. The Confederate troop concentration at Pea Ridge (about 16,000) was the largest ever west of the Mississippi River. Confederate military strength in the “trans-Mississippi” region would be weakened forever after the battle when troops under Gen. Earl Van Dorn were called east to Corinth, Miss. Open 8 am–5 pm daily. $5/seven-day pass.
Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park
506 E Douglas, Prairie Grove AR 72753
By the winter of 1862 Confederates had managed to regain some strength even though most of their regular soldiers were called east following the Battle of Pea Ridge in March. This new Confederate Army of the Trans-Mississippi, led by Gen. Thomas Hindman, met the main Union army operating in Northwest Arkansas Dec. 7, 1862. The Battle at Prairie Grove was a standoff, but Hindman was forced to withdraw due to lack of supplies and ammunition, giving the Union a strategic victory here. The Confederates never again seriously threatened in the region.
A self-guided driving tour covers most of the important areas of the battlefield. The 750-acre park offers walking trails, a museum/visitor center and several exhibits in historic buildings on the site.
Park visitor center and historic buildings open 8 am–5 pm daily.
Museum and self-guided tour of historic buildings, $3 adults. Guided tour of the buildings $2 extra. Audio guide of the battlefield available for extra fee.
Headquarters House Museum
118 E Dickson St, Fayetteville AR 72701
This 1853 mansion was used as headquarters for both Union and Confederate commanders occupying Fayetteville. The building still bears scars from the April 18, 1863 Battle of Fayetteville. Tours by appointment.
- National Cemetery, 700 Government Ave, was built to hold the remains of Union soldiers killed at the battles of Pea Ridge, Prairie Grove and Fayetteville.
- Confederate Cemetery, 514 Rock St, is the final resting place of more than 600 Confederate soldiers killed in local battles.
Fort Smith National Historic Site
301 Parker Ave, Fort Smith AR 72902
Much American history occurred at this frontier post established in 1817 including the “Taming of the West,” the Trail of Tears and much more. The fort was important for both sides during the Civil War for control of both Arkansas and Indian Territory. The Federals abandoned the fort in April 1861 and it was occupied by the Confederates until a large Union force showed up in August 1863. Northern forces held the place the rest of the war. Civil War exhibits in the visitor center.
The nearby Fort Smith National Cemetery, 522 Garland St, is the burial site for both Union and Confederate soldiers. Visitor center open 9 am–5 pm daily. $4/seven-day pass.
Fort Smith Museum of History
320 Rogers St, Fort Smith AR 72901
Some Civil War material highlighting the occupation of the town by both sides. Open year-round Tuesday–Saturday 10 am–5 pm, Sunday 1–5 pm. $5/adult.
Massard Prairie Battlefield Park
Skimpy interpretation here for this July 27, 1864, battle site (Confederates briefly overran outer defenses of the fort) but a nice history, directions and photographic tour are available at www.exploresouthernhistory.com/ArkansasCW4.html
Website links for Arkansas places: Arkansas Links