Sunday, December 14, 2008
Casualties of Prairie Grove - 1862
The recent anniversary of the Battle of Prairie Grove, Arkansas (December 7, 1862), brought several questions about the locations where casualties from the battle were buried.
The battle was one of the bloodiest ever fought west of the Mississippi. Of the more than 3,000 casualties reported by the two armies, 339 were found dead on the field following the battle. Hundreds of other men died in the following days and weeks from wounds they had received.
The dead of both sides were initially buried on the battlefield and, as is usually the case, some probably remain there to this day.
In later years, however, efforts were made to collect the bodies for reburial in permanent cemeteries. The Union dead that could be located were taken to Fayetteville National Cemetery and the Confederates were reburied at the Confederate Cemetery in Fayetteville. Hundreds of markers, many of them simply denoting the graves of unknown soldiers, can be found in the two cemeteries today.
Other Southern wounded from the Battle of Prairie Grove died after arriving back in Van Buren and many are also buried at Fairview Cemetery in that city.
All of the cemeteries are open to the public on a daily basis, as is Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park. To learn more about the battle, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/ArkansasPG1.