Camden Expedition

In March 1864, Union Gen. Frederick Steele marched from Little Rock at the head of an army intent on joining another Federal army in Louisiana and then conquering cotton-rich East Texas. Steele was joined in Arkadelphia by a second Union force out of Fort Smith, then marched south. In early April they skirmished with Confederate troops at Okalona before crossing the Little Missouri River at Elkins' Ferry. After several days of skirmishing at Prairie D'Ane (present-day Prescott), Steele's hungry troops broke off their advance and occupied Camden. Confederate troops ambushed a foraging party at Poison Spring on April 18, killing many soldiers of the First Kansas Colored Infantry Regiment after the battle was over. A week later, at Marks' Mills, another Union column was attacked and defeated with heavy casualties. Steele decided to fall back to Little Rock and, following a fiercely fought battle at Jenkins' Ferry on the Saline River on April 30, made it back to his home base with his battered and starving army.

APPROACH ROUTES:
(These follow each major command, U.S. and C.S., during the expedition.)

Steele's Expedition
(Union General Frederick Steele led 8,500 men from Little Rock in a campaign that brought him to Camden and back, with little to show for the effort.) Start at Little Rock on Hwy 5 through Bryant to Benton then US 70 to Hwy 229 to US 67 to Old Military Road at the Saline and Hot Springs County line then Hwy 84 at Rockport to Antioch Road at Social Hill then Hwy 283 to Hwy 7 through Caddo Valley to US 67 into Arkadelphia then Hwy 8 to Mount Olive Road to Hwy 26 to Hwy 53 at Hollywood to Hwy 51 through Okalona to US 67 into Prescott then Main Street to Nevada County Road 23 to Nevada County Road 41 to Nevada County Road 290 to Hwy 299 into Bluff City then Hwy 387 to Hwy 76 through Poison Springs to Hwy 24 into Camden then US 79B to US 79 to Hwy 9 through Princeton and Tulip to Hwy 46 through Leola into Sheridan then US 167 to Hwy 367 into Little Rock.

Churchill
(Thomas J. Churchill's troops fought at Pleasant Hill, Louisiana, on April 9, 1864, before being ordered north to try to bag Steele's Union troops. The Rebels met their foes at Jenkins' Ferry on April 30.) Start at Welcome on the Arkansas/Louisiana border on Hwy 132 to Columbia County Road 21 to Hwy 160 to Columbia County Road 1 to Hwy 132 at Sharman to Magnolia then US 82 to US 79B to McNeil then US 79 through Stevens into Camden then US 79B to US 79 to Hwy 9 through Princeton and Tulip to Hwy 46 to Leola.

Dockery and Crawford
(Confederate cavalry under Col. W.A. Crawford and Thomas P. Dockery were involved in the fighting at Prairie D'Ane and Marks' Mills.) Start at the Nevada and Hempstead county line on Hwy 332 then US 62 into Prescott then Main Street to Nevada County Road 23 to Nevada County Road 41 to Nevada County Road 290 to Hwy 299 into Bluff City then Hwy 387 to Hwy 76 through Poison Springs to Hwy 24 into Camden then US 79B to US 79 through Bearden and Thornton into Fordyce then to then intersection of Hwy 8 and Hwy 97 near New Edinburg.

Maxey
(Confederate General Samuel Bell Maxey led his troops from the Indian Territory -- modern-day Oklahoma -- to fight in the battles at Prairie D'Ane and Poison Spring.) Start at the Arkansas and Oklahoma border on Hwy 108 through Foreman to Hwy 234 into Wilton then US 71 to Hwy 27 to Hwy 234 to Woodside Road to Bright Star Road to Tollette then Hwy 332 to US 278 to Washington then Hwy 185 to Hempstead County Road 19 to Hwy 29 to Hwy 332 to US 67 into Prescott then Main Street to Nevada County Road 23 to Nevada County Road 41 to Nevada County Road 290 to Hwy 299 into Bluff City then Hwy 387 to Hwy 76 through Poison Springs to Hwy 24 into Camden.

Parsons
(Mosby M. Parsons's Missouri troops fought at Pleasant Hill, Louisiana, on April 9, 1864, before marching north to fight in the final battle of the Camden Expedition at Jenkins' Ferry on April 30.) Start at the Arkansas/Louisiana border on Hwy 19 into Magnolia then Hwy 179 to US 79B to McNeil then US 79 through Stevens into Camden then US 79B to US 79 to Hwy 9 through Princeton and Tulip to Hwy 46 to Leola.

Walker
(Major John G. Walker's Texas division marched north from Louisiana to fight Frederick Steele's retreating army at Jenkins' Ferry. Two of Walker's brigade commanders would die on the field; the third was wounded.) Start at Dodge City on the Arkansas/Louisiana border on Hwy 15 to Three Creeks then Tram Road to Hopewell Road to Cairo then Hwy 172 into Smackover then Hwy 7 into Louann then Hwy 376 to Hwy 7 into Camden then US 79B to US 79 to Hwy 9 through Princeton and Tulip to Hwy 46 to Leola.

Shelby
(Confederate General J.O. Shelby's Iron Brigade fought Steele's army at Okolona, Elkins' Ferry, Prairie D'Ane and Marks' Mills, along with several skirmishes.) Start at the intersection of Nevada County Road F204 and Hwy 19 follow Hwy 19 into Pike County to Hwy 29 to Antoine then Hwy 26 to Okolona Road to Okolona then Hwy 51 through Arkadelphia to Hwy 7 to Dalark then Hwy 8 to Dallas County Road 305 to Willow then Dallas County Road 326 to Hwy 9 to Hwy 46 to Leola. Backtracks along the same route to the intersection of Hwy 46 and Hwy 9. Take Hwy 9 through Tulip and Princeton to US 79 then US 79B into Camden.

Marmaduke, Cabell and Greene
(Confederate Generals John Sappington Marmaduke, William Cabell and Colton Greene fought Steele's Federals at Prairie D'Ane and Poison Spring during the Camden Expedition of 1864.) Start at Washington on Hempstead County Road 16 to Hwy 29 into Blevins then Hwy 371 to Hwy 195 to Hwy 301 to Hwy 29 into Antoine. Backtracks along the same route to the intersection on Hwy 301 and Hwy 29. Take Hwy 29 to Hwy 19 into Prescott then Hwy US 67 to Emmet then Hwy 299 to Hwy 53 to US 278 through Rosston into Camden then US 79B to Hwy 7 through Sparkman and Dalark into Arkadelphia then US 67 through Gurdon into Prescott.

Thayer
(Union General John Thayer's Frontier Division marched across western Arkansas to join Frederick Steele's Union army at Arkadelphia in the ill-fated Camden Expedition.) Start at Old Jenny Lind on US 71 to Hwy 10 through Greenwood and Booneville to Danville then Hwy 27 to Hwy 28 to Plainview then Hwy 60 to Fourche Junction then Hwy 7 to Hot Springs then US 270 to Rockport then Hwy 84 to De Roche then Hwy 128 to Caney then Hwy 283 to Hwy 7 through Caddo Valley to US 67 into Arkadelphia.