Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Marker Program

Bridging the Ouachita River

 

City: Malvern

County: Hot Spring

Location: City Park

Sponsor: Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission, City of Malvern, Ouachita River Park Commission, Center for Arkansas Culture and History in Education, Arkansas Historic Preservation Program

GEO Coordinates

UTM-X: 515954
UTM-Y: 3804519
UTM Zone: 15

Latitude: 34.381942
Longitude: -92.826456

Marker Text

Bridging the Ouachita River

Gen. Frederick Steele led a Union army from Little Rock on March 23, 1864, to join an invasion of Texas. Confederate skirmishers harassed the army as it reached Rockport March 27. An inflatable pontoon bridge, in 34 wagons and served by men of the 24th Missouri and 4th Arkansas (African Descent) Infantry, was deployed to help the troops cross the Ouachita one-half mile from here. The Federals again used the bridge to cross the Little Missouri River at Elkins’ Ferry

13 days later. Critically low on supplies, Steele turned to Camden, arriving April 15.

(Continued on other side)

No. 122

Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission

City of Malvern

Ouachita River Park Commission

Center for Arkansas Culture and History in Education

Arkansas Historic Preservation Program

2015

Bridging the Ouachita River

(continued from other side)

After occupying Camden, the Union army used the pontoon bridge to span the Ouachita and ease access to the U.S. troops at Pine Bluff and Little Rock. After suffering severe losses at Poison Spring and Marks’ Mills, Steele abandoned Camden, taking the bridge up and rushing it forward to span the flooded Saline River at Jenkins’ Ferry on April 30. After a savage battle, the Union army crossed. The much-used bridge was in poor condition and the starving mules too weak to pull the wagons, so the Federals destroyed it to prevent its use by Confederate forces.

No. 122

Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission

City of Malvern

Ouachita River Park Commission

Center for Arkansas Culture and History in Education

Arkansas Historic Preservation Program

2015

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