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

General Sterling Price's Invasion of Missouri

— The Pocahontas Civil War River Walk —

 
 
General Sterling Price's Invasion of Missouri Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mark Hilton, April 3, 2021
1. General Sterling Price's Invasion of Missouri Marker
Inscription.  Randolph County was a "No-Man's Land" during all of the years of the Civil War. Pocahontas and Pitman's Ferry were strategic locations because of their necessary river crossings and important roads, and both the Union and Confederate Armies occupied the county off and on at different times throughout the war. Many citizens and families in Arkansas and Missouri were divided about secession. Union patrols, bushwhackers, and guerilla bands confiscated food and livestock, burned homes and barns, and even killed local citizens including women and children. In the summer of 1864, the Confederacy was suffering defeats on all fronts, and Lt. General E. Kirby Smith, commander of the Trans-Mississippi Dept. of the Confederate Army, issued orders to Major General Sterling Price to invade Missouri and retake possession of the state. General Price organized his army in Southwest Arkansas in August 1864 with 12,000 men. The army left Camden on August 28 for a rendezvous here in Pocahontas on September 13 with 3 Confederate Divisions, commanded by Generals James F. Fagan, John S. Marmaduke, and Joseph O. Shelby. On September 17, after repairing
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over 300 wagons and reshodding cavalry horses in war-torn Pocahontas, the Invasion of Missouri began. The army advanced north from here with General Marmaduke entering Missouri at Pitman's Ferry on the Military Road and arriving at Poplar Bluff on September 19; General Price's headquarters with General Fagan's Division moved up the center column, entering Missouri at Indian Ford on Current River also on September 19; and General Shelby's Cavalry Division headed up the Pocahontas to Doniphan road, arriving in Doniphan the afternoon of September 17, 1864, with the entire town in flames. It had been set on fire that morning by a scouting party of Union troops upon learning of the oncoming Confederate invasion, and a number of citizens were killed while trying to defend their homes. Price and his army went on deep into Missouri, fought at Westport (Kansas City) and then moved into Kansas, where most of his army was captured. He then retreated through Indian Territory into Texas, and re- entered Arkansas at Laynesport. Some of the worst savagery in American history occurred along the Arkansas-Missouri border during the Civil War. Never before or since have Americans exhibited such brutality towards their fellow Americans. Excerpt from the diary of Colonel T.J. Oliphant of General Fagan's Division September 1864: "When we passed the Arkansas line and entered Missouri,
View of marker with the Black River on the left. image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mark Hilton, April 3, 2021
2. View of marker with the Black River on the left.
I will never forget the scene of smoking ruins that was presented for miles; to see women and children in the frosty morning standing besides the embers which but yesterday was a comfortable home, was a heart-rending scene."
 
Erected 2006 by Pocahontas Sesquicentennial Committee.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. A significant historical month for this entry is August 1864.
 
Location. 36° 15.468′ N, 90° 58.2′ 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 Missouri Swamp Fox” is Captured in Pocahontas (within shouting distance of this marker); Randolph County Civil War Timeline (within shouting distance of this marker); Pitman's Ferry (within shouting distance of this marker); The Pocahontas Civil War River Walk Memorial (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Randolph County during the War Between the States (about 600 feet away); The Black River (about 700 feet away); The River Basin (approx. 0.2 miles away); Native American Culture (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Pocahontas.
 
Also see . . .
Major General Sterling Price (September 14, 1809 – September 29, 1867) image. Click for full size.
Public domain ca. 1864
3. Major General Sterling Price (September 14, 1809 – September 29, 1867)
 Kansas City Public Library on General Sterling Price. (Submitted on April 7, 2021, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on April 7, 2021. It was originally submitted on April 7, 2021, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 204 times since then and 6 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on April 7, 2021, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.

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Mar. 5, 2024