Located on a bluff overlooking the Ouachita River, Camden is a city rich in Civil War history. The town is located in Ouachita County around 100 miles from Little Rock and fifty miles north of Louisiana. First known as a French trading post called Ecore Fabre, its history has been closely tied to the Ouachita River and it was called the “Queen City” of the Ouachita during the steamboat era. In 1864, it became the unintended focus of the Red River Campaign, a major Civil War effort resulting in several significant battles.
Attractions in town include the McCollum-Chidester House, which served as a Union headquarters when federal troops occupied the town during the Red River Campaign. It was featured in the television series The North and The South.
About 10 miles to the northwest, the site of the Battle of Poison Springs is preserved at Poison Springs Battleground State Park, one of three state parks commemorating the campaign. Oakland Cemetery, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, is the largest Confederate cemetery in the area. Artifacts related to two famous Camden products, Camark pottery and Grapette soft drinks, as well as Civil War and railroad relics, are exhibited at the Camden Visitors Center and Museum. Two major events held in the city are the spring Camden Daffodil Festival and autumn BPW Barn Sale. Other area attractions include White Oak Lake State Park; the Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources at Smackover, and El Dorado.