|Poison Spring State Park|
Most of these came from soldiers in Thayer's column, which had marched south from Fort Smith to join in the Camden phase of the Red River Campaign. Since many of these men were from Kansas or associated with regiments from that state, a number of their letters wound up in newspapers there.
The following, for example, was dated from Fort Smith on May 4, 1864, and appeared in the White Cloud Chief newspaper in Kansas on May 26th:
|Interpretive Shelter at Poison Spring|
The writer, who identified himself only by the initials "O.B.G.," appears to have been in Camden during the battle, since he describes such details as the arrival of Union survivors there and being able to hear clearly hear the sound of the guns.
Fought when Confederate forces trapped and overwhelmed a Union foraging force, the Battle of Poison Spring was one of a series of disasters that hit Steele's column as it tried to march to Shreveport to link up with a larger Union army marching up through Louisiana. Federal losses in the fight totaled more than 200 killed and missing and 97 wounded, while Southern forces 13 killed and 81 wounded. The Confederates also captured more than 1,200 mules, 170 wagons, 4 pieces of artillery and all of the corn, furniture and other items seized by the Union forces as they rampaged through the countryside.
To learn more about the battle, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/poisonspring.