Poison Spring, AR

Date(s): April 18, 1864

Location: Please click on link below for map.

Poison Springs State Park (state park), Arkansas, United States

Campaign(s): Camden Expedition [1864]

Battles in Campaign:


  • The Camden Expedition (March 23–May 2, 1864) was a military campaign in southern and central Arkansas.

  • It involved Union forces stationed at Little Rock and Fort Smith under the command of Major General Frederick Steele.

  • The plan called for Steele's force to march to Shreveport, Louisiana, where it would link up with an amphibious expedition led by Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks and Rear Admiral David D. Porter, whose force was to advance up the Red River Valley; once joined, the Union force was to strike into Texas.


  • Union: Col. James M. Williams

  • Confederate: Brig. Gen. John S. Marmaduke and Brig. Gen. Samuel Bell Maxey

Principal Forces:

  • Union: Brigade (1,100 men)

  • Confederate: Marmaduke’s and Maxey’s Divisions


  • Dwindling supplies for his army at Camden forced Maj. Gen. Frederick Steele to send out a foraging party to gather corn that the Confederates had stored about twenty miles up the Prairie D’Ane-Camden Road on White Oak Creek.

  • The party loaded the corn into wagons, and on April 18, Col. James M. Williams started his return to Camden.

  • Brig. Gen. John S. Marmaduke’s and Brig. Gen. Samuel B. Maxey’s Confederate forces arrived at Lee Plantation, about fifteen miles from Camden, where they engaged Williams.

  • The Rebels eventually attacked Williams in the front and rear forcing him to retreat north into a marsh where his men regrouped and then fell back to Camden.

  • The Union lost 198 wagons and all the corn.

Photo Gallery:1

Poison Spring Historic Battlefield Site

Description of Engagement at Poison Spring

Panel 1 - The Civil War Battle of Poison Spring

Panel 2 - Federal Forage Party Departs Camden

Panel 3 - Confederate and Federal Forces Engage

Panel 4 - Forage Party Routed

Panel 5 - The First Kansas

Panel 6 - Order of Battle

Troop Positions at Poison Springs


Slide Presentation2: Camden Expedition, AR

Classification3: C


  • Union: 301

  • Confederate: 114

Results: Confederate Victory

Battlefield Website:

Recommended Resources:

1 Please click on the image to enlarge it. You may copy the images if you include the following note and link with each image: "Courtesy of civil-war-journeys.org."

2 Slide Presentation Updated on 1/31/07. Click on link to view as web-based slide show.

3 Classification:

  • A - having a decisive influence on a campaign and a direct impact on the course of the war

  • B - having a direct and decisive influence on their campaign

  • C - having observable influence on the outcome of a campaign

  • D - having a limited influence on the outcome of their campaign or operation but achieving or affecting important local objectives

4 Casualties are someone killed, injured, wounded, captured or missing.

Revised 01/25/2011