Thursday, April 10, 2008
Arkansas Post, Part Six
This is part six of a series on Arkansas Post National Memorial. To read the previous posts first, please scroll down the page or look under the Archives heading.
This photograph was taken looking straight down the line of Confederate rifle pits at Arkansas Post. They are difficult to see, even in person, but if you look closely you can see the slight rise in the earth running away from the camera in the center of the picture.
As an additional defense, Southern troops had built this line completely across the peninsula formed by the Arkansas River on one side and Post Bayou on the other. It provided protection to Fort Hindman from rear or flank attack and also guarded the town of Arkansas Post itself, which had been converted into a military encampment by 1863.
As the 32,000 Union troops advanced on his defenses, Confederate General Thomas Churchill ordered his 5,000 or so men into the rifle pits and Fort Hindman itself. Many of his troops were dismounted cavalry.
When the Union navy began its bombardment of Fort Hindman on the afternoon of January 10, 1863, the Union army approached but did not attack the rifle pits. Both sides slept on their arms that night and prepared for a much more intense battle the next day.
Our series on Arkansas Post will continue. Until then, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/arkansaspost to read more.