Welcome to Jenkins Ferry State Park!!
After great losses at Poison Springs and Marks' Mills, Union General Frederick Steele made the decision to halt the Camden Expedition and retreat back to Little Rock.
The Confederates' only hope of catching the fast-fleeing Federal troops was at the rain-swollen Saline River at Jenkins' Ferry.
The Battle of Jenkins' Ferry, the third leg of the Red River Campaign, began at first light on April 30th, 1864. Gunpowder smoke added to a blanket of fog soon after the battle began. This smoke and fog made it nearly impossible for the opposing forces to see each other except by crouching down low.
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. Considering the numbers engaged and percentage of casualties, the battle of Jenkins' Ferry was one of the Civil War's bloodiest battles. The Battle of Jenkins' Ferry may be counted as a Union victory, at least tactically, but despite some Confederate disappointment, the Federals lost over 8,000 men total in the Red River Campaign and were forced to return to their starting point at the end of it.
Jenkins’ Ferry Battleground State Park was established in 1961 and is one of the three parks that commemorate the Camden Expedition along with Poison Springs and Marks' Mills and is also a Red River Campaign National Historic Landmark. The name of the park comes from Thomas Jenkins, who established the ferry on the Saline River in 1815. The park is located 12 miles southwest of Sheridan and includes historic markers that describe the Civil War battle, as well as recreational opportunities on the Saline River, including swimming and boating. There's a pavilion and several picnic sites, but there are no restrooms on-site. The park also includes a portion of the original road between Little Rock and Camden, as well as the eastern end of the Jenkins' Ferry crossing. We hope you’ve enjoyed this look into Jenkins Ferry Battleground State Park and we encourage you to get out and experience The Natural State!
For more information on the park, visit ArkansasStateParks.com and make sure you follow Arkie Travels on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube for more Arkansas adventures