Early Arkansas: Arkansas Post National Memorial
Arkansas Post has played an important part in the history of what is now Arkansas since the late 17th century. By 1821, Arkansas Post had served as the local governmental, military and trade headquarters for the French, the Spanish and the United States.
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. 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.
Arkansas Post National Memorial is located south of Gillett, and the park traces the history of Arkansas Post from its establishment in 1686. Inside the park, visitors take a self-guided tour of the area, including a layout of the town and an 1863 Civil War battlefield with remnants of Confederate trenches. To learn more about this historic site, visit www.NPS.gov/arpo.