Thursday, January 17, 2008
Prairie Grove Battlefield - Borden House
As the Battlefield Trail at Prairie Grove winds through the scene of some of the heaviest action of the battle, it passes the Borden House, a beautiful old historic structure that is now preserved as part of the state park. The current structure was built immediately following the war on the foundations of the original, which was destroyed during the battle.
When Hindman's Confederates formed on the ridge at Prairie Grove on the morning of December 7, 1862, their right flank was anchored on the grounds surrounding the Borden House. An artillery battery was put in position on the crest of the ridge within site of the house and men took up positions stretching along the slope in front of the house.
The Federals charged up the ridge at 1 p.m. and succeeded in capturing the cannon near the Borden House. Surging forward, they poured around the house and into the orchard to its rear. The Confederates responded, however, by ranging the orchard on three sides and pouring fire into the exhausted Union soldiers. Unable to withstand the onslaught, they began to fall back down the ridge, the Confederates storming behind them. The Southern troops made a fatal mistake, however, and pursued the retreating Federals down the ridge only to find their ranks shredded by heavy Union fire.
And so the battle continued for hours. The Union soldiers would storm up the ridge, only to be driven back. The Confederates would storm down after them, only to be driven back themselves. By the end of the day, the Confederates still held the ridge and the Federals were still in position in the prairie below.
Eyewitness accounts estimated that as many as 250 men fell in the yards around the Borden House, making it one of the bloodiest spots of the Civil War. The home was burned to the ground at the end of the battle, but the family rebuilt it after the war, using the same foundations as the original.
Keep checking back for more posts on the Battle of Prairie Grove and the Civil War in Arkansas. In the meantime, you can read more by going to www.exploresouthernhistory.com and scrolling down the page to the Index section. Just look for the Arkansas heading and you'll find links to Prairie Grove, Pea Ridge, Massard Prairie, Devil's Backbone and other Arkansas Civil War sites of interest.