Sunday, June 22, 2008
The Battle of Van Buren, Arkansas - Part Six
When the Confederates opened fire with cannon from the opposite bank of the Arkansas River, the Federals pushed forward rifled cannon to the heights overlooking Van Buren.
The location where they placed the guns is now part of Fairview Cemetery, located just north of the historic downtown area.
General Herron described the scene as the Union artillery began to duel with the Confederates across the river:
General Blunt and myself made a narrow escape. We soon hurried up a long range battery, and drove them off. The transaction was diabolical, to say the least of it, the town being full of women and children. At least 100 shells were fired into the houses, doing great damage, only one citizen being hurt that I know of.
A lull in the fighting followed the artillery exchange and the Federals set about consolidating their position in Van Buren and collecting or destroying all the supplies they could confiscate. Captured Confederate supply wagons were loaded with sugar to be carried back across the Boston Mountains when they withdrew. The men and horses were fed and an estimated 15,000-20,000 bushels of corn were destroyed.
Fighting would resume as darkness fell and I will have more on that in the next post. Until then, you can read more about the Battle of Van Buren by visiting www.exploresouthernhistory.com/vanburenbattle1.