Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Boston Mountains of Arkansas

In our just completed series on the Battle of Dripping Springs, Arkansas, the Boston Mountains were mentioned several times. This range of the Ozark Hills stretches east to west between Van Buren and Fayetteville and was of considerable significance during the Civil War.
The Boston Mountains form a natural barrier between the Ozark Plateau of Northwest Arkansas and the lowlands of the Arkansas River Valley. Rough country, interrupted by deep ravines and valleys, the mountains were a serious factor in the movement of large bodies of troops in western Arkansas.
Prior to the Battle of Pea Ridge, for example, General Sterling Price withdrew into the mountains to shelter his army from the advancing Federal troops until he could be joined by reinforcements.
The Boston Mountains again played a critical factor in the Battle of Cane Hill (Canehill), Arkansas by providing Confederate forces with a route of retreat and suitable terrain to lay an ambush for their Federal pursuers.
The mountains shielded General Thomas C. Hindman's Confederates as they marched north to the Battle of Prairie Grove, allowing him to flank the Union force at Cane Hill before he was detected.
Over the next few days, we will look at some of the Civil War sites in the Boston Mountains and explore more of their rich history. Be sure to check back regularly for the latest!

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