Tour the Camden Expedition Sites National Historic Landmark
Some of the most epic events in American history came through Arkansas. Driving tours are a practical and safe way to explore this vast history.
The Civil War was one of the most trying times in our nation’s history. Many battles took place in the state during the war.
The last significant military action in Arkansas took place in the spring of 1864 when Union Gen. Frederick Steele moved his Union forces out of Little Rock in an effort to complete the control of Arkansas, as well as Texas and Louisiana.
This action took place in the spring of 1864 and became known as the Red River Campaign. The Arkansas phase of this campaign is known as the Camden Expedition. Some of the sites of these Civil War battles, at Poison Springs near Camden, at Marks’ Mills near Fordyce, and at Jenkins Ferry near Sheridan, are now state parks. Washington, Arkansas, which served as Arkansas’s Confederate capital during this time, is now home to Historic Washington State Park. And all are now part of the Camden Expedition Sites National Historic Landmark.
The 85-acre Poison Springs Battleground State Park has interpretive exhibits where you can learn more about the battle as well as a picnic area and a half-mile trail. Marks' Mills Battleground State Park has interpretive exhibits and picnic sites. Jenkins' Ferry Battleground State Park also has interpretive signs to learn more about the battle and also offers access to the Saline River.
At Historic Washington State Park, which is near Hope, you can tour the spot that served as the Confederate State Capitol and other historic buildings that make up the park. The park is also home of the Southwest Arkansas Regional Archives, a resource for historical research. There are also historical reenactments that take place at the park too.
Other sites can be found in Arkansas that are part of the Camden Expedition Sites National Historic Landmark. These include: The Old U.S. Arsenal in Little Rock; Elkin's Ferry near Prescott; Prairie De’Ane Battlefield near Prescott; and Fort Southerland and Fort Lookout in Camden.
You can learn more about these sites via the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program website.
You can read more about the entire Camden Expedition via this article from the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture.
Below is a map of the Camden Expedition route we came across care of the Nevada County Depot and Museum in Prescott.