April Hosts Many Events Highlighting 150th Anniversary of Civil War in Arkansas

The Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Civil War in Arkansas. The Sesquicentennial will be celebrated through 2015 and many events are in the lineup for the month of April.

For starters, the “Town in Conflict” living history street drama will be performed at Historic Washington State Park on Saturday April 5, and Sunday, April 6, at 3 p.m.

A Prairie DeAnn Sesquicentennial Reenactment has been set for April 12 care of the Nevada County Depot and Museum is Prescott. This will be for the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Prairie DeAnn, the Battle of Elkin’s Ferry, and the Battle of Moscow, which were parts of the Red River Campaign that took place in 1864.  This event is a chance to learn about these battlefields and their significance to not only Nevada County history, but to Arkansas history and Civil War history.  

There will be around 300 re-enactors at this event from all over the U.S. In addition to the troops, there will be wagons, cannons, and mounted cavalry. The event is scheduled to take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with the actual reenactment taking place at 1 p.m. Advance tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children (14 and under) and can be purchased via their website depotmuseum.org. 


The week of April 14, Ouachita County and Camden will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Union occupation of Camden and the Battle of Poison Spring. All scheduled events will be free to the public. A Civil War exhibit will be available for people to see from Monday-Saturday (April 14-19) at the Leake-Ingham Building next to the historic McCollum Chidester house at 926 Washington Street. “Letters from the Civil War” will be presented by the Tates Bluff Chapter DAR on Monday April 14 at 6:30 p.m. During this event, costumed re-enactors will share the experiences of the inhabitants of Camden during the Civil War on the outdoor stage at the Postmaster’s Grill at 133 Washington St. There will be a free movie screening of  “Glory” Tuesday April 15th 6:30 p.m. at the SAU Tech’s Ross Center located at 746 California Ave.

On Friday (April 18 from 9-5 p.m.) and Saturday (April 19 from 9-noon) costumed re-enactors will tell the stories of families who lived through the occupation. At the event you can visit with the soldiers and learn of the life of a soldier during the war. The location for this living history presentation will be on Washington Street and California Avenue in Camden. Troops will also be camped on Washington Street near homes that were occupied during the war. The Battle of Poison Spring Civil War Re-enactment is Saturday April 19 at 2 p.m. Union and Confederate forces will conduct a battle at the historic battleground at Poison Spring Battleground State Park located on Highway 76 in Chidester.

The Closing Ceremonies for the week will be Saturday April 19 at 6 p.m. at Coleman Stadium. This will include choirs, presenting music of the Civil War, speakers and a commemoration to the soldiers who lost their lives at the Battle of Poison Spring. For more information, contact the Ouachita County Historical Society at 870- 836-9243 or ouachitacountyhistoricalsociety.org.


The 150th Anniversary Battle of Jenkins Ferry will be April 26-27. Of note, the event will be narrated live by historian Ed Bearss, a former National Parks Service historian. If you haven’t heard of Bearss before, be sure to read up on him before the event. He is 90 years old and is well known for his work on the Civil War and World War II eras. A packed schedule for the weekend  includes a battle reenactment at 2 p.m. on both days.  


Overall, the Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Civil War in Arkansas by sanctioning events, encouraging research and education programs related to Civil War Arkansas.