Near Leola in Grant County, Arkansas — The American South (West South Central)
Refugee Children / Supplies Destroyed
Many African Americans fleeing slavery were with Gen. Frederick Steele’s Union army as it retreated to Little Rock. As army wagons became stuck in the thick mud, so too did wagons with refugee children. Some were abandoned by desperate parents; others were rescued by Union soldiers with “on one shoulder a rifle, on the other a black child.” At least one refugee child would stay with the Chapple McElroy family near here, who found an abandoned youth they named Tom. Tom McElroy lived with them into the 1870s, later owning a farm southwest of Benton.
As Union Gen. Frederick Steele’s army struggled along the muddy roads between Jenkins’ Ferry and Little Rock, the starving mules hauling its wagons began to collapse from exhaustion. Steele ordered many wagons burned after their contents were moved to other wagons. Despite that effort, more wagons were destroyed as the teams hauling them collapsed. A 33rd Iowa Infantry soldier wrote: “all over the swamp, near the road, were the burning wagons and their scattered contents.”
Erected 2015 by Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission, Friends of Jenkins’ Ferry Battlefield, Arkansas Humanities Council, Department of Arkansas Heritage, Arkansas Historic Preservation Program. (Marker Number 114.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission series list.
Location. 34° 14.174′ N, 92° 31.823′ W. Marker is near Leola, Arkansas, in Grant County. Marker is at the intersection of Arkansas Route 46 and Arkansas Route 291, on the right when traveling south on State Route 46. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Sheridan AR 72150, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 9 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Battle of Jenkins' Ferry (approx. 1.9 miles away); General Samuel Rice / Confederate Cannons Captured (approx. 2 miles away); Jenkins Ferry / Pontoon Bridge (approx. 2 miles away); Red River Campaign (approx. 2 miles away); Officers Killed / Union Wounded (approx. 4.9 miles away); Clash at Whitten's Mill Skirmish at Guesses Creek (approx. 7.8 miles away); Grant County War Memorial (approx. 8.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Leola.
Credits. This page was last revised on March 5, 2021. It was originally submitted on August 5, 2018, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 274 times since then and 48 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on August 5, 2018, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.