The battle for Prairie Grove began near the reconstructed Borden House near the end of the walking tour circuit. Confederate batteries contested the Union crossing of the nearby Illinois River, but eventually lost position to the better bores and marksmanship of the Union guns. In their retreat, the Rebs left behind several damaged guns, and in consequence, this is one of the few places in the park where an actual cannon still marks the original emplacements.
As well, the Borden House and its immediate vicinity are among the few battlefield-specific relics from 1862. The timber rail fence, the position of the single cannon, the possession of the top of the hill -- these are primarily the sole remnants of the battle of Prairie Grove.
Actual memorials or monuments in this battlefield park are fairly rare. This monolith or obelisk, called Rhea's Mill, was actually the chimney of that mill which at the time of battle stood about six miles northwest of its present location. At 55 feet in height, the monument weighs a thousand tons, and was removed here to commemorate those fallen in battle.
Favorite thing: While many of the structures at Prairie Grove are authentic buildings albeit with no association to the battle, other structures are pure fabrications that nevertheless look genuine. Religious and scholastic structures often served as hospitals during the Civil War, and moreover furnished fighting men to the front, sometimes being mere boys no older than twelve. The churches were often divided over the Civil War, and even the communities, since Arkansas, a state that seceded from the Union before Bull Run, ultimately furnished Federal regiments that fought their Confederate counterparts at Prairie Grove.
Favorite thing: Far less numerous amid the towering hardwoods are the summer blossoms, which are generally confined to the period structures near the park's entrance. After a fine rainstorm and in the right lighting, the blossoms are wonderful additions to the historic relics on the opening lawn and a fascination for flower lovers who prefer to look ahead rather than upward at the towering forest surrounding.
Favorite thing: Prairie Grove boasts a wonderful display of hardwood forests quite familiar to this section of Arkansas. Varieties of oak, maple and poplar tower over the visitor. The leafage in the summer is the plushest green, and in the fall, like all hardwoods, the leaves change to gold, red, orange, yellow and brown, making this park even more lovely. The sweeping hills, the period structures, the nearby river, and the general coziness of the park make this a wonderful spot to visit whatever your interests.
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