Poison Spring State Park

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Poison Spring State Park
Poison Spring State Park is located in Arkansas
Poison Spring State Park
Location Ouachita County, Arkansas
Nearest city Chidester, Arkansas
Coordinates 33°38′18″N 93°0′29″W / 33.63833°N 93.00806°W / 33.63833; -93.00806Coordinates: 33°38′18″N 93°0′29″W / 33.63833°N 93.00806°W / 33.63833; -93.00806
Built 1864
Governing body State
NRHP Reference # 69000036
Significant dates
Added to NRHP December 3, 1969[1]
Designated NHL April 19, 1994[2]

Poison Spring State Park is an Arkansas state park located southeast of Bluff City. It commemorates the Battle of Poison Spring in the American Civil War, which was part of the 1864 Camden Expedition, an element of a Union Army initiative to gain control of Shreveport, Louisiana and get a foothold in Texas.

In the battle, which was fought on April 18, 1864, Confederates and Choctaw Indians attacked and overcame a supply wagon of Union soldiers. The term "poison spring" arises from the apocryphal story that Confederate soldiers poisoned nearby springwater. The battle hastened the failure of the Camden expedition, but also gained notoriety for the slaughter of African-American Union soldiers from Kansas by the Confederate forces, which took no African-American prisoners.

The site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1969, and, with other sites, is part of the Camden Expedition Sites National Historic Landmark. It was declared part of the National Historic Landmark in 1994.[2][3][4]

The park includes about 85 acres (34 ha) of land, and lies on Arkansas Highway 76, about 14 miles (23 km) northwest of Camden. Highway 76 was the route which the Union supply train was on when it was roadblocked and attacked by the Confederate force. The improved portion of the park, with a picnic area and interpretive signs, is located on the north side of the highway. The battle, however, covered a much larger area, estimated at more than 9,000 acres (3,600 ha). The surrounding area is in roughly the same state as it was at the time of the battle, although land that was then under cultivation has since reverted to forest.[5]

The heavily wooded park features a small interpretive display and a shady trail. Sightings of deer and woodpeckers are common along the trail. The park provides an excellent example of the Gulf Coast forest region, consisting primarily of pine trees, but with some oak and with dogwood understory trees.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23. 
  2. ^ a b "Camden Expedition Sites". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. 2007-09-26. 
  3. ^ "National Historic Landmark Nomination". National Park Service. 1993-11-29. 
  4. ^ "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination". National Park Service. 1993-11-29. 
  5. ^ "NRHP nomination for Poison Spring State Park". Arkansas Preservation. Retrieved 2014-05-24. 

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