Tuesday, March 10, 2009

War Eagle Mill - Northwest Arkansas

As the disorganized survivors of General Earl Van Dorn's Confederate army made their way back south from the Battle of Pea Ridge, a large group camped at the War Eagle Mill.

Still the site of an operating water-powered gristmill and the location of one of the most popular arts and crafts fairs in the nation, War Eagle helped feed both armies at various points of the Civil War. On the night after the battle, the fresh water of War Eagle River was a welcome sight for the exhausted and hungry Confederates.

The mill, however, did not survive the war. It was burned during the dark years between 1862 and the end of the war and, due to the hard and turbulent times of Reconstruction, was not replaced until 1873. The current structure, built in 1973, is a modern reproduction.

Structures like the War Eagle Mill were located along streams, rivers and creeks throughout the Ozarks region, but few survived the Civil War. Vital places where both armies could grind grain, they evolved into military targets as the war continued. Guerrilla bands and regular forces torched many of the mills, depriving not only enemy forces of their use, but also local citizens who depended upon the water-powered mills for survival.

War Eagle Mill is located 12 miles from Rogers, Arkansas, and 25 miles from Eureka Springs. To learn more, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/wareagle.

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