DeValls Bluff in Prairie County, Arkansas — The American South (West South Central)
The Memphis and Little Rock Railroad
Confederate forces used the railroad to transport troops to fight east of the Mississippi until Memphis fell to Union forces in June 1862. The eastern section was little used after that.
Union troops under Gen. Frederick Steele occupied DeValls Bluff in August 1863 and utilized the western stretch of the Memphis to Little Rock Railroad after Steele’s troops occupied Little Rock on September 10, 1863. The line was the frequent target of attack and sabotage by Confederate cavalrymen as it crossed the vast prairies east of the capital.
This railroad, from Devall’s Bluff to Little Rock, is through a prairie country, it is built in almost a Straight line, with but a few bridges, and those over inconsiderable streams. It can be very easily kept in running order.
and Adjutant-General January 13, 1863
The railroad from Devall’s Bluff to Little Rock is in working order, and I am now sending two engines around, to be used after taking Little Rock, and until the Arkansas rises that command can be supplied by White River and the railroad.
Maj. Gen. Stephen Hurlbut
September 9, 1863
The immediate and tangible fruits of my expedition are 577 prisoners, including 1 field officer and 11 line officers; over 200 Federals killed and wounded; ten miles of railroad track destroyed completely--the ties torn up and burned, the iron heated and bent, telegraph destroyed, bridges and trestle-works ruined; 3,000 bales of hay destroyed by fire; 20 hay machines chopped to pieces; 5 forts razed to the ground; 500 stand of small-arms distributed to my unarmed men; many fine horses captured; 12 barrels of salt brought off the field and given to a command suffering for it, besides supplying many needy soldiers with blankets, shoes, boots, hats, and clothing. All this was done within six miles of Devall’s Bluff, and my detail was tearing up the track while the enemy’s bullets, fired at the covering regiments, were throwing the splinters from the ties in their very faces.
Brig. Gen. Joseph O. Sibley
August 30, 1864
The Cylene was one of several locomotives used by the Union on the Memphis to Little Rock Railroad up to June 1865. The others were the Brinkley, St. Francis, Little Rock, General Steele, General Reynolds, Opelousas, Adams and General Carr. Courtesy Central Delta Depot Museum, Brinkley.
This map, created by Confederate engineering officers, shows the Memphis and Little Rock Railroad as it extends from DeValls Bluff to a point across the Arkansas River from Little Rock. Courtesy National Archives and Records Administration.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Railroads & Streetcars • War, US Civil. A significant historical month for this entry is January 1862.
Location. 34° 47.166′ N, 91° 27.483′ W. Marker is in DeValls Bluff, Arkansas, in Prairie County. Marker is at the intersection of Main Street (State Highway 33) and Snyder Road, on the right when traveling south on Main Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: De Valls Bluff AR 72041, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A different marker also named Memphis and Little Rock Railroad (here, next to this marker); DeValls Bluff: A Major Union Riverport (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Why DeValls Bluff (about 700 feet away); DeValls Bluff Under Fire (about 700 feet away); War on the White River (about 700 feet away); DeValls Bluff in the Civil War (about 700 feet away); Common Ground for Many Soldiers (about 800 feet away); DeValls Bluff: A Key Union Base (about 800 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in DeValls Bluff.
More about this marker. Marker is one of seven interpretive signs on the Civil War in DeValls Bluff.
Also see . . . Memphis and Little Rock Railroad (M&LR). From The Arkansas Encyclopedia of History & Culture. (Submitted on August 10, 2016.)
1. Marker Sponsors
The following is written at the lower right corner of the marker: “This project is supported in part by a grant from the Arkansas Humanities Council and the Department of Arkansas Heritage. Other sponsors are the Arkansas Sesquicentennial Commission, the City of DeValls Bluff and the Bill & Sharon Arnold Family Foundation.”
— Submitted August 10, 2016.
Credits. This page was last revised on September 9, 2020. It was originally submitted on August 10, 2016, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page has been viewed 278 times since then and 17 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on August 10, 2016, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas.