Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Battle of Van Buren, Arkansas - Part Five

This is a view of the Arkansas River at Van Buren. When the Union cavalry charged up to the river bank on December 28, 1862, they could see three Southern steamboats trying to make way across and down the river.
Opening fire on the boats with small arms, the Union horsemen began chasing them down the river (to the left).
The first of the boats was forced to return to shore about one mile downstream. The other two were pursued for ten miles in a cavalry vs. steamboat fight and finally forced to shore as well. They were found to be loaded with corn, supplies and men. All three were destroyed.
At about 2:30 p.m. (the battle began around noon), the Confederates advanced a battery of field artillery to the opposite bank seen here and opened fire on the Union troops in Van Buren. General Herron called the action "diabolical" and noted that the community was filled with civilians at the time. One of the Union soldiers were killed and five wounded. A citizen was also hurt as the Confederate gunners fired over 100 shot and shell into the town, damaging a number of buildings.
Our series on the Battle of Van Buren will continue. To read more before the next post, please visit

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