Saturday, June 14, 2008
The Battle of Van Buren, Arkansas - Part One
Following the massive fight at Prairie Grove on December 7, 1862, Gen. Thomas C. Hindman withdrew his Confederate army back across the Boston Mountains to Van Buren and Fort Smith.
Located on the north shore of the Arkansas River, Van Buren was then an important trading community and river port. Direct roads led over the mountains to connect the town with Washington and Benton Counties in Northwest Arkansas.
Determined to pursue Hindman, despite the cold weather, Generals Blunt and Herron set out across the mountains with thousands of Union soldiers in late December.
Advancing via the Cove Creek and Telegraph (Wire) Roads, they advanced into northern Crawford County, Arkansas on the night of December 27, 1862, and on the next morning struck an advanced camp of Confederate cavalry at Dripping Springs. The Battle of Dripping Springs was an overwhelming victory for the Federals and the Confederate horsemen fell back rapidly toward Van Buren, with Union horsemen hot on their heels. Skirmishing took place at several places along the road, but the advance took place so rapidly that the opposing forces reached the hills overlooking Van Buren before anyone in the town even knew that a battle was underway.
Our series on the Battle of Van Buren will continue. To read more before the next post, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/vanburenbattle1.