Battle of Prairie Grove - Prairie Grove, Arkansas
Battle of Prairie Grove - Prairie Grove, Arkansas
The Borden House
Heavy fighting swirled around
the Borden House and Apple
Orchard during the battle.
Battle of Prairie Grove
A cannon overlooks the site of
the December 7, 1862, battle
that was one of the most
fierce of the war.
Battle of Prairie Grove - Prairie Grove, Arkansas
Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park
The Borden House, rebuilt on its original foundation
after the Civil War, overlooks the scene of the Battle
of Prairie Grove, Arkansas.
Brutal Winter Battle in Arkansas
One of the most intense battles of the Civil
War, the Battle of Prairie Grove was fought on
December 7, 1862, in
Northwest Arkansas.

The massive battle developed when Major
General Thomas Hindman marched his
army of 11,000 men and 22 cannon north
across the
Boston Mountains from the
Arkansas River Valley in a desperate attempt
to place himself between two smaller Union
forces. If he could defeat the Federal forces
of Brigadier General Francis J. Herron and
Brigadier General James G. Blunt in detail,
Hindman knew he could retake Northwest
Arkansas for the Confederacy and open the
door for an invasion of Missouri.

Although his army was marching with limited
supplies and had been hastily assembled,
Hindman came without hours of achieving
his goal. Using the mountains as a screen,
he stole a march on Blunt's Federals at
nearby
Cane Hill, but ran into Herron's
advancing men on the Illinois River between
Prairie Grove and Fayetteville. The latter
general had driven his men relentlessly
South to reinforce Blunt.

After some initial fighting, Hindman pulled
his men into a strong defensive position
along the commanding ridge at the site of
today's community of Prairie Grove. The open
fields and prairie below gave the Southern
troops an outstanding field of fire. The strong
position so magnified the strength of the
Confederate army that the Union generals
believed it was more than twice its actual
size.

With Hindman atop the ridge and blocking
the road from Fayetteville to Cane Hill, Herron
deployed his men on the open ground below
the east end of the ridge and launched a
series of ferocious attacks against the
Confederate right flank. Heavy fighting took
place around the Bordon House and Orchard
as the Federals overran a Southern battery,
but were ultimately driven back down the
ridge. The Confederates then surged down
the hill in a determined counterattack, but
were also driven back.

It was later estimated that as many as 250
men fell in the yards of the Borden House.
The battle for the Confederate right flank was
bloody but as the fighting wound down,
Hindman's men still held their position on
the ridge.

The fighting now shifted down the two-mile
line to the left flank of the Confederate army.
General Blunt had marched his men up from
Cane Hill and moved into position there
during the afternoon.  The battle raged back
and forth for hours, with both armies making
attacks and being driven back. The last
action finally took place near dark when
Confederate troops swept down from the
ridge against Blunt's men, but were forced
back by terrific Union fire.
With his ammunition running short and
knowing that he could not hope to defeat the
combined Union army, Hindman withdrew
back across the mountains during the night.
He had suffered 164 killed, 817 wounded
and 336 missing or captured. The Union
army had lost 175 killed, 813 wounded and
264 missing or captured.

Much of the site of the Battle of Prairie Grove
is now preserved at Prairie Grove Battlefield
State Park. Located on Highway 62 in Prairie
Grove, Arkansas, the park features walking
trails through key battle areas, a driving tour,
historic structures, picnic areas and more.

The visitor center is open daily from 8 a.m.
until 5 p.m. Admission for self-guided tours
is $3 for adults and $2 for children ages
6-12. Kids under 6 are admitted free and
family passes can be purchased for only
$10.
Please click here to visit the park's
official website.
Hindman Hall Museum
The museum and visitor
center greets visitors to
Prairie Grove Battlefield State
Park.
Battle of Prairie Grove
Herron's forces assembled
on the open ground below
and charged up this ridge to
attack the Confederates.
West Overlook
The West Overlook at Prairie
Grove Battlefield provides a
view of the scene of the final
fighting of the battle.
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Copyright 2011 & 2013 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.


Last Updated: December 12, 2013