Thursday, January 24, 2008
Prairie Grove Battlefield - West Overlook
We conclude our online tour of Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park in Prairie Grove, Arkansas with the West Overlook. This facility, remote from the main park area, is on the six mile Self-Guided Driving Tour and provides interpretive panels and an excellent view of the west end of the battlefield.
From the overlook, visitors can see the open ground that was the Morton Hayfield at the time of the Battle of Prairie Grove. This was the scene of the heaviest fighting on the west end of the battlefield. When General J.G. Blunt's Union troops arrived on the scene during the afternoon of December 7, 1862, the battle had already been underway for hours. General Herron's command had been fighting the Confederate right flank near the Borden House all afternoon.
Blunt's men, arriving from the west, attacked the Confederate lines several miles west of the Borden House, targeting positions around the Morton House and adjacent sections of the ridge. The Confederates, under General Mosby M. Parsons, stormed down the ridge here during the final fighting of the day. They engaged Blunt's men in and around the Morton Hayfield in a fierce fight before being driven back up the ridge by superior Union musket and artillery fire.
If you would like to read more about the Battle of Prairie Grove, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com. You will find a detailed summary of the battle, numerous modern photographs, photographs of key officers, Union and Confederate reports and links to related events such as the Battles of Cane Hill, Dripping Springs and Van Buren, Arkansas.
You can also visit the state park's official website at http://www.arkansasstateparks.com/prairiegrovebattlefield/ for downloadable brochures, directions and more.