Monday, April 7, 2008
Arkansas Post, Part Two
Today we continue our series on Arkansas Post National Memorial near Gillett.
The barely visible rectangle in the grass in this photograph is what remains of the old State Bank building at Arkansas Post. No longer active as a bank by the time of the Civil War, this substantial brick structure was used by Confederate troops as a hospital. It was destroyed during the Battle of Arkansas Post in 1863.
The old bank was one of a number of structures still standing at Arkansas Post at the time of the war. Most of these were either destroyed by cannon fire during the battle or burned by Union troops after the end of the fighting. It marked the permanent death of a community that dated back to the 1600s.
Founded by French explorers, Arkansas post had served as an important base for the French fur trade during the 17th and 18th centuries, a Spanish outpost during the American Revolution, the first Territorial Capital of Arkansas and eventually an important cotton shipping port. Already declining by the time of the Civil War, it was occupied by Confederate troops who constructed Fort Hindman on the bluff and used Arkansas Post as a base for raids against Union shipping on the Mississippi River.
Our series on Arkansas Post will continue with a look at Fort Hindman, the powerful fortification constructed there by the Confederates. Until then, you can read more by visiting www.exploresouthernhistory.com/arkansaspost.