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Prairie Grove, Battle of | Wisconsin Historical Society

Historical Essay

Prairie Grove, Battle of

Civil War Battle Summary

Prairie Grove, Battle of | Wisconsin Historical Society

Date(s): December 7, 1862

Location: Prairie Grove, Arkansas (Google Map)

Other name(s): Fayetteville

Campaign: Prairie Grove Campaign (November-December 1862)

Outcome: Union victory


In 1861, Arkansas seceded to the Confederacy and supplied troops and supplies to the cause. Union forces attempted to suppress this activity and to protect a federal arsenal in Little Rock, Arkansas. In December 1862, the soldiers met at Prairie Grove, just south of Fayetteville, in northwestern Arkansas.

The two sides were evenly matched and traded attacks and counter-attacks throughout the day. As night fell, they fought to a draw. Each side lost about 1,300 men. Confederate forces retreated overnight. This established Union control of northwest Arkansas.

Wisconsin's Role

The 20th Wisconsin Infantry stormed a Confederate artillery battery at a crucial moment, temporarily capturing it. But as they advanced beyond it they were met by five regiments of the enemy, and driven back. In 20 minutes they lost almost half their members — 59 were killed, 150 wounded, and eight missing.

Links to Learn More

[Source: Report on the Nation's Civil War Battlefields (Washington, 1993); Estabrook, C. Records and Sketches of Military Organizations (Madison, 1914); Love, W. Wisconsin in the War of the Rebellion (Madison, 1866).]