Paris In Civil War History

If you love history and Civil War history especially, then make plans to visit Paris, Arkansas this summer where the Haguewood Prairie Battle was fiercely fought between the Confederate and Union armies. Here is a new story release sure to whet your history appetite!

The Arkansas River Valley has had a very busy and productive year of commemoration of the Arkansas Sesquicentennial.  During the past year, we have held commemorative events in Dardanelle, Fort Smith, and Van Buren and have dedicated a battlefield and monument at Haguewood Prairie near Paris.  A monument dedication for the city of Waldron is planned for May. 

During the coming year, units in the Arkansas River Valley will be honoring the memory of Arkansas’s First Congressional Medal of Honor winner.  First Sergeant William Elise of Company K, Third Wisconsin Cavalry, was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his valor and bravery above and beyond the call of duty of January 14, 1865, at Dardanelle, Arkansas. Haguewood

Elise enlisted in the Union Army at Little Rock, Arkansas. He is representative of the large number of Arkansans (one Arkansan in five who fought in the war did so wearing the Union blue) who did not favor secession.

In January of 1865 the Confederates sent a detachment of troops under Colonel William H. Brooks to harass Union steamboats traveling on the Arkansas River between Little Rock and Fort Smith. To stop the Confederate attack the Union commander at Lewisburg, Colonel Abraham H. Ryan, sent Major James D. Jenks with 276 men to occupy Dardanelle and contest control of the south bank of the Arkansas River.

At 10 a.m. on January 14, 1865, Brooks with 1,500 men attacked the Union forces entrenched on the outskirts of the town and a fierce four-hour battle was waged. In the end Colonel Brooks was unable to overcome the Union defenders of the town and was forced to retreat.

Haguewood MonumentDuring the battle Elise held his position even after receiving three wounds and would not withdraw for medical attention until he received a fourth wound and was ordered to retire by his commanding officer.

The memorial above can be seen on the State Capitol grounds and Dardanelle has erected a memorial near Dardanelle Rock.  A short drive west up highway 22 to Paris will bring you to the Haguewood Prairie Memorial and Monument.  This beautiful rainbow stone memorial was placed during Paris Frontier Days and commemorates the a battle that occurred near the site on September 27, 1863.

News Submission by Curtis Varnell, PhD.

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