The Missouri in the Civil War Message Board

Re: 8th Missouri Cavalry, and Pitman's Ferry

By now you've received several responses as to where Pitman's Ferry was located. It was indeed located in extreme NE Randolph County, Arkansas. It was located on the banks of the Current River, approximately 400 yards south of the Misssouri/Arkansas stateline and very near the point where the Southwest Trail from Ste. Genevieve, Mo. entered what became Arkansas. From there the trail proceded diagonally across Randolph County and eventually split into trails that went south to Louisiana and southwest to Texas.

The old ferry landing on the Current River is still visable just off Pitman Road. The Confederate rifle pits, cannon emplacements, and trenchs of Confederate Gerneral Hardee's force of some 6,000 men are extant on the low ridge that rises just west of the old ferry landing. Union encampments were located just across the river on the east side. All sites are in Arkansas and are located on private property.

A few hundred yard upstream from the ferry site is Indian Ford--the spot where in 1838, 994 Cherokee and 140 of their slaves forded the Current River on the Benge Route of the Cherokee Trail of Tears. Several members of the Benge Route were buried near the ferry landing on the west bank.

Another claim of this historic site--in 1838 a circus crossed the river on the ferry. On reaching the other side, they set up tents and gave the first circus performance in Arkansas history.

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Re: 8th Missouri Cavalry, and Pitman's Ferry