Marker for W.W. Cherry
Kids play in the water of the Saline River
A monument to the courage of the Confederate soldiers killed here.
It's a small park, just a pavilion and a few picnic tables.
These days, kids enjoy the cool waters of the Saline for their summer entertainment. But 146 years ago, the cries heard here were not of children having fun, they were men losing their lives in battle.
In 1864, the winds of war swept through this place. The Union troops of Major General Frederick Steele suffered heavy losses in battles at Poison Springs and Mark's Mills.
They snuck out of Camden at night as flooding rains fell over much of Arkansas, trying desperately to reach the safety of Union-occupied Little Rock.
Several Confederate regiments were in hot pursuit, hoping to wipe Steele's army out
On Aril 29, 1864, after slogging through the mud and muck for more than 50 miles, Steele's Union troops found themselves cornered with the Cox Creek on their right, and the Saline River at their backs.
Confederate troops advanced on their position in un-organized attacks for two days. But the Union troops were able to erect a pontoon bridge and escape across the Saline River, sinking the bridge as they left.
After the two-day battle almost a thousand Confederate troops were either dead or wounded. Union casualties numbered nearly seven hundred.
In a letter dated May 7, 1864 - 1st Sgt. Felix Stephens informed Mrs. W.W. Cherry her husband died in battle.
"Madam, painful indeed is the task of telling you that your husband is no more among the living. Mr. Cherry fell in the battle on the Saline on April 30th.
"Your husband fell while gallantly charging the enemy. He fell while discharging his duty as a soldier. He is buried on Cox Creek, two miles from Jenkins Ferry on the Princeton Road."
Steele and his men were forced to abandon all their supply wagons in the flooded swamp north of the Saline. But they made it back to Little Rock.
The rebels turned to regroup. Their best hope of destroying Steele's army was now gone As were the lives of so many brave souls on both sides of the fight.
A stone marker was placed on the site in 1928 - remembering the members of the Confederate Army who died here.
The kids playing nearby probably don't even know it's here.
Tucked into locations all around the state, you'll find places like Jenkins Ferry State Park - places that leave you Amazed by Arkansas.