It was the spring of 1864. Years had passed since the onset of civil war in America and time continued to tear at the very foundations of the nation. Bloodshed saturated the soil, families were ripped apart and nefarious ne’er-do-wells roamed the countryside targeting innocents without mercy. It was a period of relentless suffering yet more heartache was still to be sewn as this War-Between-the-States would not officially end for another year.
In south central Arkansas , as with other areas of the country, the Union and Confederate armies were on the move. Echoes of cannons, gunfire and troop movements filled the forests and fields. Even so, on the last day of April, yet another familiar enemy re-entered the front lines. It took the form of threatening clouds and distant rumblings. But, soon enough, the weather would take center stage. As the sky grew dark, lightning flashed and rocketed over the troops, thunder shook the ground and the heavens unleashed a torrent of rain. Walls of water poured onto these war-weary veterans. Through it all, thousands of men and mules and hundreds upon hundreds of four-mule army wagons heaved and slogged their way through the old coach road from Camden to Little Rock . It was a massive effort, full of suspense, void of contentment and all about to come to a head at the Jenkin’s Ferry river crossing.
Here, the northern contingency was in a race. A race for time. A race for advantage. A race for their very lives. Around them, Confederate soldiers were on the offensive. The Union troops, led by General Frederick Steele, were beating a hasty but hard retreat to their closest stronghold in Little Rock . Click here to read the rest of the story on the Wheels That Won The West® website.