Battle of Poison Spring
This view looks up the ridge
to the Washington-Camden
Road where the Union wagon
train was captured.
Interpretive Panels
The interpretive shelter at
Poison Spring State Park
gives visitors an overview of
the tactics and results of the
battle.
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - The Battle of Poison Spring, Arkansas
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - The Battle of Poison Spring, Arkansas
Battle of Poison Spring - Confederate Report
Report of Major General John S. Marmaduke
Headquarters Marmaduke’s Division,
In the Field, May 28, 1864.

…With Cabell’s, Crawford’s, and Greene’s brigades I marched at sunrise, and about 10 o’
clock me the enemy’s advance picket at poison Spring, drove it back, and occupied an
advantageous position on the brow of a hill; deployed my escort as skirmishers on the slope
and held the enemy in check; posted Cabell’s and Crawford’s brigades (dismounted) directly
in front of the enemy. Greene was held in reserve dismounted. At this time General Maxey’s
troops and Wood’s battalion came up. General Maxey being my senior in rank, I reported to
him, asking his plan of battle, stating how I had disposed my own. He answered that as I had
planned the whole movement I should take charge of and make the fight. This I did, requesting
him to post his command at right angles with my line, enfilading the enemy’s line on my front,
and to open the attack. My purpose was to cause them to throw their whole front toward Maxey,
and while they were executing this movement to attack their flank with the main line. Wood’s
battalion was posted by my order, dismounted, on my extreme right; both flanks were guarded
by cavalry. The plan was carried out. Maxey’s troops attacked, drew the enemy’s attention and
front toward him. Cabell’s and Crawford’s brigades, under General Cabell, advanced with
shouts, and were driving the enemy, when Greene came up with his brigade, between Cabell
and Maxey, and the retreat became a rout. After driving them 2 miles beyond the train, I ordered
Wood’s battalion, which had been left to guard my extreme right, to mount and move rapidly to
the front to pursue the enemy. They came, but were halted by General Maxey (who from this
time assumed command) and put to work at the train to assist in getting off the wagons. Not
knowing this, and still waiting for the mounted troops, I was surprised by an order from
General Maxey to withdraw, which I did. From 400 to 600 dead Federals were left on the field.
About 100 wounded, 120 prisoners, 4 pieces of artillery, 195 wagons, and many hundred
small-arms were brought off and 30 wagons burned. Had I been allowed to pursue the enemy
I cannot but thing that at least 1,000 prisoners would have been added to the list. In fifteen
minutes after the battle commenced the enemy were retreating, and in half an hour no force of
the enemy was ever more completely routed than this.

The conduct of General Maxey’s force was excellent, bearing as it did the earliest fire of the
confident enemy. Cabell, inimitable almost in personal gallantry, led his command and first
broke the enemy’s column, and assisted by Greene, who brought up his troops in line of battle
to the assistance of General Cabell under a heavy fire as steadily as on parade, crushed the
enemy, who turned and fled in total confusion…

J.S. Marmaduke, Major-General.
Monument at Poison Spring
This monument telling the
story of the Battle of Poison
Spring was originally placed
nearby during the early 20th
century.
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