Monday, January 12, 2009

Battle of Arkansas Post - Part Seven

When the smoke cleared, Fort Hindman was wrecked. Union troops spend the next several days demolishing what remained of the fort. The site, shown here, has since been submerged by the waters of Post Bend.

Union losses in the battle were estimated at 134 killed, 898 wounded and 29 missing. Confederate losses were in the range of 60 killed, 80 wounded and 4,791 captured.

In addition, Union artillery fire had set what remained of the town of Arkansas Post aflame. Even the hospital was struck by shells and burned to the ground.

On January 12th, the prisoners were loaded on transports and sent off to Northern prison camps. It was the largest haul of Southern troops captured by U.S. forces west of the Mississippi during the entire Civil War.

McClernand proposed a movement on up the Arkansas River to Little Rock in the days after the victory at Arkansas Post, despite the fact that his campaign was supposed to be moving against Vicksburg and not Arkansas. General Grant, however, quickly brought any such ideas to an end and ordered the troops to return to the Mississippi River in anticipation of his Vicksburg Campaign.

Although Fort Hindman itself has long since disappeared beneath the water of Post Bend, the areas of the heaviest ground fighting can still be seen. The barely visible line of the Confederate breastworks winds through the woods of Arkansas Post National Memorial and can be accessed via a short paved walkway. The site of the old town itself has also been preserved and interpretive signs point out the original locations of buildings, including the old bank building or hospital destroyed in the battle.

The Visitor Center at the park offers outstanding museum displays that include a model of Fort Hindman, details on the history of the site and artifacts from the battle as well as other eras of the post's occupation. Among the more fascinating items on display is the original flag of the Austin Rifles, also known as the Travis Rifles, a Texas unit that fought at the Battle of Arkansas Post as Company C, 6th Texas Infantry. The flag was captured in action by Corporal Ira B. Whitney of the 127th Illinois Volunteer Infantry.

For more information on Arkansas Post National Memorial and its rich history, please visit

1 comment:

Darin said...

What a great series, Dale. Thank you!