The 150th anniversary of the Battle of Arkansas Post will be held from 9 a.m to 5 p.m. Jan. 19-20 at the Arkansas Post National Memorial and Arkansas Post State Museum at Gillett.
Re-enactments will be held at 2 p.m. Jan. 19 and at 1 p.m. Jan. 20, on a 125-acre privately owned field between the two parks. The Confederate headquarters will be located on hallowed ground 20 yards from the original, historic fighting trench. This will be the largest battle re-enactment of 2013 in the southern part of the state, according to a spokesman. Union headquarters, artillery camp and Sutlers will be at the State Museum.
This two-day event will also include interpretive programs, Ladies’ Tea, memorial ceremony, and an old fashioned “period” dance. Refreshments will also be available for purchase. The event is free for visitors and observers.
A complete schedule of events is as follows:
6 a.m. — Buses will be available to take re-enactors to food vendors or Gillett for breakfast
8:30 a.m. — Commander’s meeting
9 a.m. — All camps open
10 a.m. — Registration ends
10 a.m. — Ladies’ Tea (big tent)
10 a.m. to 1 p.m. — Interpretive Stations
• Historic Weapons (NP)
• Children’s Games (NP)
• The Civil War Uniform (NP)
• Civil War Medicine (NP)
• Camp Life (both parks)
10 a.m. to 1 p.m. — Side shows
• Civil War Band (Harmony) will be doing a walking concert on (SP) grounds
• Stories of the American Indian during Civil War Era by Eathan Nathte and Lola Perritt/Arkansas Wildlife Federation (SP)
• Stories of the “Post of Arkansas” by the Desha County Historical Society (SP)
• Old Time Music by Mat Cartier, playing and dancing 1800’s tunes (SP).
• Arkansas Chuck Wagon Racing Association, History of the wagon & team (SP)
10 a.m. to noon — Arkansas Civil War authors speaking (NP)
• 10 a.m., William Shea, “Vicksburgis the Key: The Struggle for the Mississippi River”
• 11 a.m., Mark Christ, “Civil War Arkansas 1863: The Battle for a State”
• noon, Terry Winchell, “Fields of Blood: The Prairie Grove Campaign
1 p.m. — Make ready for the Battle (both parks), field to the side and behind the State Park. Shuttles available to take spectators to viewing area.
2 p.m. — Re-enactment of the Battle of Arkansas Post 1863
4 p.m. — Memorial to all the men that fought in the Battle of Arkansas Post (NP)
5 p.m. — All camps close/buses will take spectators back to Gillett.
6:30 p.m. — Period Ball in big tent (SP), spectators are welcome
9 a.m. — All camps open (both parks)
10 a.m. — Period church service (SP) under big tent, with Rev. Andy Taylor, the 2012 Christian Service Award winner
noon — Make ready for the battle
1 p.m. —Battle of Arkansas Post
3 p.m. — Camps close, buses will take spectators back to Gillett.
All spectator parking will be in the town of Gillett. Buses will be provided to take everyone from Gillett to both parks and the battlefield.
“We will fight the last hour of this battle, with as much accuracy as I can. I won’t have the numbers that were there that day, but will make do with what I have, said Dyan Bohnert, event spokesman. “This is truly going to be the biggest event in the southern part of the state for 2013, and there will never be one of these again, large or small.”
Sponsors of this event include Friends of the Arkansas Post National Memorial, Friends of Arkansas Post State Museum, Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission and Grand Prairie Historical Society. For more information, contact Bohnert at 870-382-2017.
The Battle of Arkansas Post
With Fort Hindman a threat to the Union supply Lines, and Gen. John McClerand trying to make a name for himself, he brings 30,000 infantry, 1,000 cavalry, 40 cannon, and 60 transports up-river, supported by Rear Adm. David Porter’s, (9), gunboat fleet. On Jan. 10 they attack, the gunboats keeping up heavy fire on the fort as the infantry pushes back the Confederate front line troops.
The next day the gunboats put the fort’s big guns out of commission, then lob exploding shells over the fort. The shrapnel raining down on the trenches and half the Yanks in the world charging the last trench took its toll. Late in the afternoon white flags begain going up. After trouble with the last section of the trench, all surrendered. The Confederates — 60 killed, 80 wounded, 4,971 taken prisoner. The Union — 134 killed, 898 wounded and 29 missing.