Take a trip back in time at Pea Ridge National Military Park, one of the best preserved Civil War battlefields around. The park also preserves a section of the Trail of Tears and includes a museum, a driving tour, hiking trails, and more.
The Battle of Pea Ridge
The Battle of Pea Ridge, also known as the Battle of Elkhorn Tavern, was fought on March 7th and 8th, in 1862. The battle was over the control of Missouri, a crucial border state held by the Union.
Nearly 26,000 soldiers fought in the battle. Major General Earl Van Dorn led 16,000 Confederate soldiers, including around 800 Cherokees. Brigadier General Samuel R. Curtis defended with a force of 10,250 Union soldiers, half of which were German immigrants.
The battle took place on two separate battlefields. One in Leetown and one at Elkhorn Tavern, both located on Pea Ridge. The Ledetown battle ended at the death of two Confederate generals on March 7th. Tthe battle of Elkhorn Tavern ceased when the Confederates ran out of ammunition.
After two days of attacks and counter attacks, the outnumbered Union forces proved victorious. They drove the Confederates from the battlefield, established control of the region, and opened the door for a continued southern offensive.
Pea Ridge National Military Park honors the nearly 3,500 who fought and died here in the battle. It also preserves what is one of the most intact Civil War battlefields we have.
Visiting Pea Ridge
Pea Ridge National Military Park offers visitors a chance to roam the same lands where these decisive battles were fought. The 4,300 acre park includes the Pea Ridge Visitor Center and museum with interactive exhibits, restored battlefields, and the restored Elkhorn Tavern.
The Pea Ridge tour road allows drivers to take a self-guided tour of the various points of interest in the park. Tour brochures are available at the Pea Ridge Visitor Center.
The park also includes hiking and biking opportunities. The 7 mile long hiking trail passes through both natural and historical sections of the park. The trail includes several shorter loop trails for those wanting something a little less strenuous. Bicycles may be ridden along the tour road with the flow of traffic and obeying all traffic laws.
Trail of Tears
The Pea Ridge Battlefield area was a major crossroads at one time, with several passing through the park. One, the Telegraph Road from Springfield to Fayetteville Road, passes by the Elkhorn Tavern and was used by many troops during the battle.
Some 40 years earlier, this road also saw thousands of dispossessed Native Americans forcefully relocated from their tribal lands. This 2.5 mile segment of road, together with others, forms the Trail of Tears, along which the Cherokee were forced to travel in the 1820s.
Pea Ridge National Military Park
15930 East, US-62, Garfield, AR 72732
Open 365 days a year, 6am to dusk.
You’ve come to Arkansas for our history, our great outdoors, our excellent food, and endless fun – but don’t forget lodging! The quality of your accommodations can be make or break for a any vacation. With that in mind, we recommend a stay at a locally owned and operated Arkansas Bed and Breakfast. Top tier amenities, personal service, delicious breakfasts, and an insider’s knowledge of the area. That’s an Arkansas B&B to a “T!”