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Civil War Battlefield Surveyed in Arkansas

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Arkansas Battle of Prairie GrovePRAIRIE GROVE, ARKANSAS—The Arkansas Democrat Gazette reports that archaeologists from the Arkansas Archaeological Survey and the University of Arkansas are conducting a survey of the Prairie Grove Battlefield. On December 7, 1862, Union troops engaged Confederate troops that had set up a defensive position at a farm owned by Archibald Borden. More than 2,500 Union and Confederate soldiers were killed in the ensuing battle, and although the fighting was tactically indecisive, the Confederates withdrew from the position, and the Union gained control of northwestern Arkansas. Matt Mulheran, a park interpreter at Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park, said that before archaeologists could begin the survey, six acres of park land around Borden House were cleared of trees and underbrush to re-create the historic landscape. Michael Evans of the University of Arkansas added that archaeologists have to determine which artifacts at the site date to the Civil War, and which were left behind by Civil War reenactors and the television production The Blue and the Gray, which filmed at the site in the early 1980s. Evans explained that so far, the researchers have found nineteenth-century objects, including bullets and artillery shells, in unexpected places. “I’m looking forward to how it may rewrite the narrative of the battle,” he said. To read about the excavation of a surgeon's burial pit at the site of the Second Battle of Bull Run in Virginia, go to "Do No Harm."

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