Saturday, January 10, 2009
Battle of Arkansas Post - Part Five
The Battle of Arkansas Post or Fort Hindman began in earnest on the morning of January 10, 1863.
The Union troops, 32,000 in number, completed their landing by around 10 in the morning and began to push forward against Churchill's advanced lines. He pulled the remainder of his force back into the final line of entrenchments, skirmishing with the Federals as they came forward, and by late afternoon were in position in the line of rifle pits running from Fort Hindman west across the peninsula to Post Bayou.
At about 5:30 p.m., late in the day, the Union ironclads and gunboats pushed forward to engage the Confederate gunners in Fort Hindman. The Baron DeKalb, Cincinnati and Louisville led the attack and engaged in an intense duel with the three heavy guns in the fort. The Confederate heavy artillery was heavily damaged and a number of the horses used to move the lighter guns had been killed.
By the time the duel between the fort and the warships ended, it was too late in the day for the Federals to launch their land assault on the main Confederate line. The Southern troops, heavily outnumbered, knew the main assault would come the next day and worked feverishly during the night to strengthen their breastworks.
Our series on the Battle of Arkansas Post will continue. Until the next post, you can read more by visiting www.exploresouthernhistory.com/arkansaspost.
Credit: The Currier and Ives print of the attack on Fort Hindman shown here is from the Library of Congress.