DeValls Bluff in Prairie County, Arkansas — The American South (West South Central)
DeValls Bluﬀ Under Fire
Blue and Gray Fight on the Grand Prairie
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.
- July 6, 1862: Skirmish between Aberdeen and DeValls Bluff
- January 16, 1863: Skirmish
- December 1, 1863: Skirmish south of DeValls Bluff
- December 11-13, 1863: Skirmishes
- May 22, 1864: Affair
- August 21,23,24, 1864: Skirmishes
- September 6, 1864: Skirmish
- October 16-17, 1864: Expedition from DeValls Bluff to Clarendon
- October 21, 1864: Skirmish
- November 2, 1864: Affair at Hazen’s Farm near DeValls Bluff
- November 9-15, 1864: Scout from DeValls Bluff to Searcy and Clinton
- November 16-18, 1864: Scout from DeValls Bluff to West Point
- November 22-24, 1864: Scout from DeValls Bluff to Augusta
- December 7-8, 1864: Expedition from DeValls Bluff to Augusta
- December 13-15, 1864: Expedition up the White River from DeValls Bluff
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
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.
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.)
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 & Streetcars • War, US Civil • Waterways & 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 151 times since then and 44 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on August 10, 2016, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas.