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Pocahontas in Randolph County, Arkansas — The American South (West South Central)
 

Pitman's Ferry

— The Pocahontas Civil War River Walk —

 
 
Pitman's Ferry Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mark Hilton, April 3, 2021
1. Pitman's Ferry Marker
Inscription.  William Hix operated the first ferry in Arkansas sometime around 1803 over the Current River, which separates northeastern Randolph County from Missouri. It was on the Natchitoches Trace, also known as the Old Southwest Trail. This important road had been used for centuries by Native Americans and could have been an animal and Paleo-Indian migration trail as early as 10,000 years ago. It was the main transportation artery west of the Mississippi River, and traversed from St. Louis, south to Texas, and then to Mexico. In the government survey of 1817, Hix's Ferry was called the "Gateway To Arkansas", an important geographical landmark for the early pioneers immigrating west during the early 1800s. The ferry was visited and described on record by early explorers Henry Schoolcraft, Major Stephen Long, George Featherstonhaugh, Frederick Gerstaecker, and Dr. George Englemann. Dr. Peyton Pitman acquired the Ferry from Hix in the late 1820's, and by the 1830's, the Southwest Trail had been designated the National Military Road, with a post office at Pitman's Ferry. The first circus performance in Arkansas was at Pitman's Ferry in 1838
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by the W. Waterman Company on route to Little Rock. On July 22, 1861, Confederate General William J. Hardee, commander of more than 6,000 troops for the protection of the Upper District of Arkansas, established headquarters and training at Pitman's Ferry. It was reported that a fort existed there with military well, trenches, earthworks, mass Confederate burials, and that a newspaper was published by the Confederates while there. Three engagements were fought at Pitman's Ferry in 1862. Excerpt from the diary of Wallace Benson, Algonquin, IL, 36th Illinois, Company H: May 15, 1862: "We traveled 28 miles and camped on the Current River. A portion of General Street's division has just passed over the river. The report is that patients here are sick with small-pox. Mail came in with the news that Memphis was taken. We passed men constructing telegraph. We learned that this place Pitman's Ferry was occupied by about four thousand of Hardee's forces and that this was his headquarters. There is abundant evidence, for many a board, some of them hastily marked, stands at the head of a grave that was caused by this accursed rebellion. A portion of our boys crossed before the regiments came up and on returning, the boat sprung a leak, and the boys were frightened, and rushed for one end of the boat and sank it. I saw five that were taken out dead from the 15th Missouri,
Pitman's Ferry Marker with Black River to left. image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mark Hilton, April 3, 2021
2. Pitman's Ferry Marker with Black River to left.
and the report was that twelve were drowned."
 
Erected 2006 by Pocahontas Sesquicentennial Committee.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: War, US CivilWaterways & Vessels. A significant historical date for this entry is May 15, 1862.
 
Location. 36° 15.508′ N, 90° 58.183′ W. Marker is in Pocahontas, Arkansas, in Randolph County. Marker can be reached from Rice Street east of Bettis Street (U.S. 62). Located in Black River Overlook Park. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Pocahontas AR 72455, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Pocahontas Civil War River Walk Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); “The Missouri Swamp Fox” is Captured in Pocahontas (within shouting distance of this marker); General Sterling Price's Invasion of Missouri (within shouting distance of this marker); Randolph County during the War Between the States (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Randolph County Civil War Timeline (about 400 feet away); The Black River (about 500 feet away); The River Basin (about 500 feet away); Native American Culture (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Pocahontas.
 
Also see . . .  Encyclopedia of Arkansas article on the Skirmish at Pitman's Ferry. (Submitted on April 6, 2021, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
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Credits. This page was last revised on April 7, 2021. It was originally submitted on April 6, 2021, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 481 times since then and 106 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on April 6, 2021, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.

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May. 27, 2024