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DeValls Bluff in Prairie County, Arkansas — The American South (West South Central)
 

DeValls Bluff Under Fire

Blue and Gray Fight on the Grand Prairie

 
 
DeValls Bluff Under Fire Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, July 30, 2016
1. DeValls Bluff Under Fire Marker
Inscription. DeValls Bluff’s status as an excellent riverport and the head of the Memphis and Little Rock Railroad made it an important base for both Confederate and Union forces. Hoping to block Federal ships from moving up the White River, Major Gen. Thomas C. Hindman fortified the site in June 1862 with two 8-inch guns, 1,000 infantrymen and 250 cavalry. Union troops skirmished with Confederate horsemen near DeValls Bluffs on July 6, but did not enter the town.

After the battle of Arkansas Post in January 1863, a joint Army-Navy expedition steamed up the White River to attack Confederate positions. They arrived at DeValls Bluff on January 16 and captured the two 8-inch guns, 25 prisoners, dozens of new Enfield rifles, and other Confederate equipment. The Union troops burned the depot, several railroad cars and two railroad bridges.

On August 10, 1863, another Union flotilla approached DeValls Bluff, surprising 12 Confederates who fled, leaving their equipment behind. Major General Frederick Steele’s Union army occupied the town on August 23, and DeValls Bluff remained under Federal control for the rest of the war. Because of the concentration of Union troops there and on the adjacent prairie, Confederate cavalrymen who continue to attack Union targets — including the railroad — well into 1864.

Military
DeValls Bluff Civil War Interpretive Signs image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, July 30, 2016
2. DeValls Bluff Civil War Interpretive Signs
DeValls Bluff Under Fire marker is at the far left
Activity around DeValls Bluff

(Left Image Caption)
Frederic E. Davis was a young sailor aboard the U.S.S. Cincinnati and participated in the January 1863 raid up the White River. On January 19, he wrote home from DeValls Bluff:

“We arrived here on Friday last, and found that the Rebels had fled. As soon as they saw our smoke coming up the river the[y] ran, leaving behind them two 8 inch guns, 200 muskets; 4 railroad cars and
Rhodes Park in DeValls Bluff image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, July 30, 2016
3. Rhodes Park in DeValls Bluff
The park has five interpretive signs and a Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission marker on DeValls Bluff's role in the Civil War
several [illegible] we took prisoner. … Our Army have all left this morning, and we are here alone. Our Engineers and men are ashore now destroying the cars, burning the building &c.”

Courtesy, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Book Library, Emory University.

(Middle Image Caption)
Brig. Gen. Willis A. Gorman, a former territorial governor of Minnesota, proposed the raid up the White River and led the army troops during the expedition. “I should have gone direct to Little Rock if it had been practicable to cross the sea of mud and water intervening between that place and DeVall’s Bluff, but this is impossible at present,” he reported.

Courtesy, Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division.

(Right Image Caption)
Lieutenant-Commander John G. Walker led the naval component of the January 1863 expedition up the White River aboard the U.S.S. Black Hawk.

Courtesy, U.S. Naval Historical Center.

(Map Caption)
To defend the sprawling base at DeValls Bluff from Confederate attack, Union troops constructed strong defenses including three large redoubts like the one pictured here.
 
Location. 34° 47.051′ N, 91° 27.523′ W. Marker is in DeValls Bluff, Arkansas, in Prairie County. Marker is at the intersection of Main Street (State Highway 33) and Prairie Avenue, 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.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. DeValls Bluff in the Civil War (here, next to this marker); Why DeValls Bluff (a few steps from this marker); War on the White River (a few steps from this marker); Common Ground for Many Soldiers (a few steps from this marker); DeValls Bluff: A Key Union Base (a few steps from this marker); Memphis and Little Rock Railroad (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); a different marker also named The Memphis and Little Rock Railroad (about 700 feet away); DeValls Bluff: A Major Union Riverport (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in DeValls Bluff.
 
More about this marker. The marker is one of five Civil War interpretive signs in Rhodes Park; there are two other Civil War interpretive signs in DeValls Bluff.
 
Also see . . .  DeValls Bluff (Prairie County). From The Arkansas Encyclopedia of History & Culture. Includes information on De Valls Bluff’s role in the Civil War. (Submitted on August 10, 2016.) 
 
Additional comments.
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, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas.

 
Categories. Railroads & StreetcarsWar, US CivilWaterways & Vessels
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 10, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 10, 2016, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page has been viewed 157 times since then and 50 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on August 10, 2016, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas.
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