Leader Blues

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

TOP STORY > >Reenacting Civil War battle

Civil War reenactors will be at Reedís Bridge off South Hwy. 161 in Jacksonville all this weekend to commemorate the August 1863 battle there. Events will begin at 3 p.m. Friday with a reenactment of the troopís arrival.

A reenactment of the battle will take place Saturday afternoon and again on Sunday. A reenactment of the drill at Reedís Bridge will take place Saturday morning with the battle at 2 p.m.

Church and memorial services will be held from 10 a.m. to noon Sunday for those who died at the battle.
A final reenactment of the battle will begin at 2 p.m. Sunday.

Col. Mark Vlahos, vice commander of the 314th Airlift Wing at Little Rock Air Force Base, is one of the reenactors scheduled to appear. The other reenactors will come from across the state.

The Battle of Reedís Bridge was a Confederate effort to slow the Unionís inevitable capture of Little Rock. Thousands of Union and Confederate soldiers clashed in the August 1863 battle at Reedís Bridge along the Bayou Meto during the Northís advance toward Little Rock.

Confederate Major Gen. Sterling Price sent two of his best cavalry units to Reedís Bridge with instructions to stall the Union and placed them under the command of Brig. Gen. John Marmaduke and Brig. Gen. Lucius M. Walker.

The job of the Confederate troops was to hold out for as long as possible. During the battle, the Confederate troops set fire to the original Reedís Bridge.

As Union troops ran to put out the flames, the Confederate troops opened fire, killing seven, wounding 38 and delaying the Union advance.

But the battle was not all glory for the Confederacy. As they pulled back, closer to Little Rock, Gen. Marmaduke supposedly accused Gen. Walker of cowardice during the Battle at Reedís Bridge. The accusations were quickly settled during a duel in which Marmaduke killed Walker.

The site is on the National Historical Register and has grown larger than 100 acres because of the Reedís Bridge Historical Society. The field was 412 acres at the time of the battle.

The site along Hwy. 161 is considered to be the best-preserved Civil War site in Arkansas, even though similar sites in Pea Ridge and Prairie Grove are better known.