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  • Writer's pictureGeorge Castrioti

January 9th, 1863 - The Battle of Arkansas Post (or Fort Hindman)

Combatants: Confederates vs. Federals

Location: Arkansas (USA)

Outcome: Federal victory


The Mississippi port of Vicksburg remained an important strategic target for the Federal army in the closing months of 1862. General William T. Sherman ended the year with an ultimately futile attempt to overcome the Confederate defenses at Chickasaw Bluffs. In response to this failure, leaders in Washington, D.C. ordered General John McClernand to make another attempt to take the city.

Arkansas Post Battlefield by W. R. McComas.


But, with 29,000 Federal soldiers at his command, McClernand chose instead to launch an attack on the Confederate fort at Arkansas Post, Fort Hindman. With the support of Union gunboats under the command of Admiral David Porter, McClernand landed his troops below Fort Hindman on the night of January 9th, 1863.

Battle of Arkansas Post by W. R. McComas


On January 11th, Porter's gunboats bombarded Fort Hindman until the Confederate artillery was destroyed. McClernand's troops attacked by land. The Confederates surrendered with losses of 28 killed and 81 wounded. The Federals lost 134 soldiers and 898 wounded, but took 4720 prisoners.


Points of Interest:

  • Upon hearing of McClernand's victory, General Grant immediately ordered a withdrawal so the much-needed Federal soldiers could be deployed in the Vicksburg campaign.

  • Admiral David Porter, the commander of the gunboat flotilla, had served in the Mexican Navy in the 1820's and was at one time captured by the Spanish.

John Alexander McClernand by Mathew Benjamin Brady
David Dixon Porter by Mathew Benjamin Brady



















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Sources:

Bowman, John S. (Ed.) (1983). The Civil War Almanac. New York: World Almanac.


Dupuy, R. Ernest & Dupuy, Trevor N. (1993). The Harper's Encyclopedia of Military History. New York: HarperCollins.


Eggenberger, David (1985). An Encyclopedia of Battles: Accounts of Over 1,560 Battles from 1479 B.C. to the Present. New York: Dover Publications, Inc.

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