Friday, August 17, 2007
Battle of Massard Prairie, Arkansas
The Massard Prairie Battlefield Park in Fort Smith is one of the newest preserved Civil War sites in Arkansas. Saved by the joint efforts of the City of Fort Smith, local citizens and local developers, the battlefield park protects key areas of the July 27, 1864, Battle of Massard Prairie.
The battle took place with Confederate troops, commanded by Gen. R.M. Gano, stormed the camp of a battalion of the 6th Kansas Cavalry in a stunning sunrise attack. Gano's commanding officer described the battle as a "dashing and gallant affair." The Confederates captured more than 100 Union soldiers, while killing and wounding numerous others in a fight that stretched for two miles across Massard Prairie, a large brushy grassland just outside of the 1864 city of Fort Smith.
The Prairie today is within the city limits and much of it has been developed for residential, commercial and industrial use (the Fort Smith Regional Airport is constructed on part of the original prairie). The battlefield park, however, preserves the site of the camp of the 6th Kansas where much of the heaviest fighting took place.
For more information, please visit our special section on the Battle of Massard Prairie at: http://www.exploresouthernhistory.com/ArkansasCW4.html.