Sunday, December 2, 2012

Civil War Sunday - The Battle of Prairie Grove

As I have blogged before, the Civil War battle action west of the Mississippi tends to be ignored by a lot of people who have recently been attracted to study of the American Civil War on this, the 150th anniversary of the war.   It is too bad, because it is important to remember the scope of the Civil War and how it was fought throughout our country and our territories, not just in a narrow band of land between Pennsylvania and Georgia.  (And, at that, not all the battles were land battles.)

30 some years ago, my spouse and I lived in Northwest Arkansas for about 4 1/2 years.  We purchased some acreage near a small town.  On my commute to work every morning, I passed through two Civil War battlefields, Canehill (then called Cane Hill) and Prairie Grove.  Although I didn't think much of it then, I now wonder if the land I owned was trod upon by Federal or Confederate soldiers moving from one place to another.  I may never be able to find out.

The 150th anniversary of the Battle of Prairie Grove is coming up on December 7, and I am sorry I won't be able to make it to Arkansas to view the reenactment.  (The anniversary of the Battle of Cane Hill passed on November 28 but there is no park - just a historical marker).  I had the pleasure to visit the Prairie Grove battlefield, which is a State Park, on several occasions for an annual Clothesline Fair. In the spring, redbud trees planted along Highway 62 would put on a lovely show.  I still miss seeing those redbuds every spring.  But back to the battle...


The battle resulted in a tactical Union victory (more of a draw) and ended Confederate dreams of controlling Northwest Arkansas.

The battlefield itself is well-preserved and I can only imagine the improvements made in the past 30 years.  I was not that interested in the Civil War 30 years ago (more interested in history in general) and I would love to go back to Arkansas one day.  I have not been back since I left.

There is a blog devoted to Arkansas in the Civil War (although it has not been recently updated) which would interest anyone more interested in learning about a too-forgotten part of the Civil War.

Arkansas is a beautiful, natural state that is well deserving of your visit.

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