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Arkansas State Parks

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Jenkins Ferry State Park
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In the spring of 1864, three Civil War battles took place in south central Arkansas that were part of the Union Army's "Red River Campaign." Arkansas's three state historic parks that commemorate these battles--Poison Spring, Marks' Mills and Jenkins' Ferry--are part of the Red River Campaign National Historic Landmark.

Here at Jenkins' Ferry on April 29 and 30, Union troops fought off an attack by the Confederates and using an inflatable pontoon bridge crossed the flooded Saline River and retreated to Little Rock.

The land where this Civil War battle took place was settled by Thomas Jenkins, who started the ferry in 1815. It was run by his sons, William and John DeKalb, until the Civil War circa 1861.

On April 26, 1864, the day after the battle at Marks' Mills and under the cover of darkness, General Frederick Steele, his men, and what equipment they had left, crossed the Ouachita River at Camden on a pontoon bridge. Steele had gone to great lengths to convince Confederate scouts his troops spent the night inside the safety of the town. It was mid-morning before the Rebels realize they had been tricked.

The Confederates' only hope of catching the fast-fleeing Federal troops was at the rain-swollen Saline River at Jenkins' Ferry, some 50 miles north. A torrential rain pounded Steele's troops on April 29. As wagons, horses and mules bogged down in the quagmire, Steele and his men reluctantly made camp at Jenkins' Ferry. Steele spent the night plotting ways to hold off advancing enemy troops while crossing the river at the same time. The first Rebels arriving at Jenkins' Ferry on April 30 found themselves facing the full force of Steele's army. Steele's men were backed up to the Saline River, but entrenched and protected from flanked attacks by an overflowing creek and a flooded swamp.

The Battle of Jenkins' Ferry, the third leg of the Red River Campaign, began after the first light of the foggy day. Despite their disadvantaged position, the Confederates launched one unorganized attack after another. Rebel commanders knew that letting up the pressure would allow Steele's army to cross the Saline and escape.

By the end of the bloody day, the South had lost nearly 1,000 soldiers and the North nearly 700. But Steele's army managed to cross the river and continue retreating to Little Rock.

History of the Area
Located in Arkansas, the park commemorates a significant Civil War battle that took place on April 30th, 1864. The Battle of Jenkins' Ferry was part of the larger Red River Campaign. Union forces successfully held off Confederate troops at this location during their retreat from Camden to Little Rock.

The site became an official state park in 1961 and covers around five acres today. It features interpretive exhibits about its historical significance as well as picnic areas for visitors.

Jenkins Ferry State Park is located near Sheridan

Jenkins Ferry State Park in Arkansas offers scenic picnic spots with tables and grills overlooking the Saline River.
1. Jenkins Ferry Battleground Trail: A 0.5-mile loop trail featuring historical markers from the Civil War battle, suitable for all skill levels.

2. Interpretive Loop Trail: This is a short, easy-to-navigate 0.25 mile trail that provides information about local flora and fauna through interpretive signs.

3. River Access Pathway: An unmarked but well-trodden path leading to the Saline River; length varies depending on chosen route down to riverbank.

4- Battlefield Walking Tour Route - It's an approximately one-mile long self-guided tour of significant sites related to the Battle at Jenkins' Ferry in April 1864.

5- Picnic Area Trails - Short trails connecting various picnic areas within park boundaries; lengths vary between less than quarter miles each.

6- Wildlife Observation Paths - Unofficial paths created by frequent wildlife observers; not maintained or marked by state park officials with unknown distances due their variable nature based on animal movements.

7-Historic Monument Walks- These are shorter walks rather than hikes around historic monuments scattered throughout Park grounds without specific measured distance as they're more focused towards sightseeing instead hiking experience per se.

8-Campground Connector Trails - Small network of pathways linking different campgrounds together providing convenient access for overnight visitors staying inside campground area ; exact measurement isn't available since these aren't official designated trails yet serve important purpose nonetheless.

9-Riverside Fishing Spots Track : Another unofficial pathway used primarily fishermen aiming reach secluded fishing spots along riverside , again no definite length given its informal status among hikers / walkers .

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1. Start by heading southeast on W Markham St toward Scott St.
2. Turn right onto S Broadway St after 0.8 miles.
3. After another mile, use the left two lanes to turn slightly left onto I:630 E.
4. Merge with I:30 W via the ramp to Hot Springs/Texarkana in about half a mile.
5. Take exit 129 for US:70W towards Hot Springs/Benton and continue straight ahead for around 25 miles.
6. Turn right at N East Street/US Highway once you reach Benton city limits signboard.
7. After driving approximately one block take slight Left into Military Road /AR:35.
8. Continue along this road until it turns into AR:229 South (approximately eight miles).
9. Follow AR:229 south till Tull town limit where it becomes Grant County Rd/County Line Rd.
10. Drive further down this road which eventually leads directly to Jenkins Ferry State Park.

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Arkansas State Parks