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Arkansas Post, Battle of | Wisconsin Historical Society

Historical Essay

Arkansas Post, Battle of

Civil War Battle Summary

Arkansas Post, Battle of | Wisconsin Historical Society
EnlargeThis map illustrates the position of Fort Hindman at Arkansas Post on the Arkansas River.

Approaches to Fort Hindman, 1863.

This map illustrates the position of Fort Hindman at Arkansas Post on the Arkansas River. Depicted are the positions of Confederate defenses as well ships on the river. The 23rd Wisconsin Infantry and the 1st Wisconsin Light Artillery were both involved in the battle of Arkansas Post. View the original source document: WHI 90871

Date(s): January 9-11, 1863

Location: Arkansas Post, Arkansas (Google Map)

Other name(s): Fort Hindman

Campaign: Operations Against Vicksburg (December 1862-January 1863)

Outcome: Union victory

Summary

The victory at the Battle of Arkansas Post gave Union forces control of the Mississippi River all the way to Vicksburg, Mississippi.

At the beginning of 1863, Confederate troops had a stronghold at Fort Hindman on the Mississippi River near the town of Arkansas Post, Arkansas. Constructed of earthworks reinforced with iron atop a 25-foot bluff, the fort housed more than 5,000 troops. Fort Hindman was used to carry out shell attacks on Union shipping, and prevented Union troops from advancing up the Arkansas River and into the interior.

On January 9, 1863, Union ships landed infantry and artillery about a mile downriver from Fort Hindman. The next day they overran Confederate trenches and eventually pushed the enemy back inside the fort. Union gunboats and artillery batteries across the river shelled the fort. The Confederates conceded on January 11, surrendering more than 5,000 prisoners. This victory gave the Union free rein to move soldiers and supplies down the Mississippi.

Wisconsin's Role

The 23rd Wisconsin Infantry was in the thick of the action all three days. Six men were killed and 31 wounded. Companies B, G, and K were in the advance that pushed Confederate troops back inside the walls of the fort on January 10. A section of the 1st Wisconsin Light Artillery bombarded the fort from across the river preventing the enemy's escape. Another section destroyed one side of the fort and silenced several Confederate cannons inside it.

Links to Learn More

[Source: Report on the Nation's Civil War Battlefields (Washington, 1993); Estabrook, C. Records and Sketches of Military Organizations (Madison, 1914); Love, W. Wisconsin in the War of the Rebellion (Madison, 1866).]