Sunday, April 18, 2010

Poison Spring

Fought as part of the Camden Expedition, the Battle of Poison Spring occurred on April 18th 1864 in Ouachita County Arkansas.


Union Major General Frederick Steele at Camden Arkansas found himself running out of supplies. He sent a large foraging party twenty miles up the Prairie D’Ane - Camden Road along the White Oak Creek to collect corn the Confederate had stored there. With the corn loaded into wagons on April 18th 1864 Colonel James M Williams and his men began their return trip to Camden. Still about fifteen miles from Camden on the Camden - Washington Road near Poison Spring the Union soldiers were attacked by Confederate Brigadier Generals John Sappington Marmaduke and Samuel B Maxey. The Confederates hit Williams from the front and rear, forcing them to retreat north into the marsh. The Union troops regrouped after a two and half mile pursuit by the Confederates, and retreated back to Camden.
The Union saw losses of 301 men, most of whom were from the 1st Kansas Colored Volunteers Infantry. [Many of the black soldiers were killed after the battle was over.] They also lost 198 wagons with 5,000 bushels of corn. The Confederates lost 114 men.