Arkansas Post has played a part in Arkansas history since well before statehood.
Located south of Gillett, Arkansas Post was established in 1686 by French explorer Henri de Tonti. The site was the first European colony in the Mississippi River Valley. Arkansas Post is also the location of the only Revolutionary War skirmish to take place in what is now Arkansas. Due to the settlement’s proximity to the Arkansas River, Arkansas Post was a thriving river town by the early 1800s and was selected as the capital of the Arkansas Territory. War would again find its way to the Post. In January 1863, in an effort to stop Confederates disrupting Union shipping on the Mississippi River, the Union Army moved on Arkansas Post. After Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman’s troops overran the Confederate trenches, Arkansas Post was bombarded by Union ironclads. Outnumbered five to one, the Confederates surrendered on January 11.
On Jan. 19 and 20, the Friends of Arkansas Post Museum host a 150th anniversary of the Battle of Arkansas Post, including encampments, battle reenactments, period dance demonstrations and a non-denominational period church service. Visitors will experience an authentic representation of the Battle of Arkansas Post, as well as an up-close look at a Civil War’s life on the battlefield and a service to honor those who fought at the conflict. On the evening of Jan. 19, the public is invited to a period Civil War dance. The event is a joint effort between Arkansas Post Museum State Park and Arkansas Post National Memorial and activities will take place at both locations. For a detailed schedule, contact Arkansas Post Museum State Park at 870-548-2634.