Page Tools

Skip Navigation LinksHome » Things To Do » History & Heritage » The Civil War Trip Planner

The Civil War



Pea Ridge National Military Park

Watch The Civil War in Arkansas: 150 Years Later podcasts.

In Part 1, Mark Christ, of the Department of Arkansas Heritage, and Richard Davies, Director of Arkansas Parks and Tourism, discuss the Civil War in Arkansas 150 years later.

In Part 2, Mark Christ and Richard Davies continue to discuss the Civil War from the perspective of the year 1861.

Mark Christ Interview - Mark Christ, of the Department of Arkansas Heritage, and Richard Davies, Director of Arkansas Parks and Tourism, discuss the Civil War in Arkansas focusing on the year 1962.

Prairie Grove Battle - Prairie Grove Battle re-enactor gives personal account of why he participates in battles.

2012 Civil War Podcast 1

2012 Civil War Podcast 2

2012 Civil War Podcast 3

After a divided Arkansas seceded from the Union in 1861, it became a strategic target for both North and South because of its location on the Mississippi River and its role as a gateway to the Southwest. Included among the state's more than 750 military engagements were a number of major conflicts.

The war's largest battle west of the Mississippi was fought at Pea Ridge in March 1862. Participating were some 26,000 soldiers. The Union victory dashed Confederate hopes of occupying Missouri.

In December, 1862, more than 11,000 Confederates battled Union forces at Prairie Grove in a failed attempt to prevent federal occupation of Fort Smith.

The control of Arkansas River commerce was at stake when 30,000 Union troops overwhelmed 5,000 Confederates at Arkansas Post in January 1863, while control of the Mississippi figured in the Battle of Helena on July 4, 1863.

Union forces occupied Little Rock on Sept. 10, 1863, despite numerous skirmishes. The state's Confederate government moved its capital to the town of Washington.

In the spring of 1864, 13,000 federal troops headed southwest from Little Rock in an attempt to complete the Union conquest of the state. That failed venture is now known as the Red River Campaign.

Confederate Cemetery, Helena-West Helena

For additional Civil War-related sites visit the Civil War Preservation Trust's web site at www.civilwar.org.

The Arkansas History Commission preserves the world's most significant collection of research materials pertaining to the Civil War in Arkansas.

The Arkansas History Commission & State Archives has created a Civil War Manuscript Collections Guide to make it easier for patrons to do Civil War research.

Need help planning a trip to Arkansas’s Civil War and historic sites? Request our free Arkansas vacation kit and discover The Natural State’s many attractions, find great lodging, dining and more!