LITTLE ROCK—The Civil War Helena Tour and Battle of Pine Bluff Audio Tour have been added to the National Park Service’s Underground Railroad Network to Freedom, Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission Chairman Tom Dupree announced today.

“We’re excited that two more Arkansas sites have been added to the Underground Railroad Network to Freedom just weeks before the Network holds its annual conference in Arkansas,” Dupree said. “These sites help highlight the African American experience during the Civil War in Arkansas.”

The Civil War Helena Tour, located in various sites around Helena-West Helena, tells the story of freedom seekers who followed the Union army to the Mississippi River, received jobs and education, and in many cases joined the army to fight for their freedom.

The Battle of Pine Bluff Audio Tour highlights the October 25, 1863, battle in which Confederate troops attacked a small Union garrison at Pine Bluff. The Union soldiers fought off the attack with the assistance of African American civilians who helped fortify the courthouse square, fight fires, and fight off a Confederate attempt to cut off the Federal soldiers. The audio tour sign is adjacent to the Jefferson County Courthouse, or can be accessed at

Other Arkansas sites on the Underground Railroad Network to Freedom include Freedom Park in Helena-West Helena and Poison Spring State Park in Ouachita County.

The Network’s annual conference, “The War for Freedom: The Underground Railroad During the Civil War,” will be held in Little Rock June 19-22. More information on the conference is available at

The National Park Service’s national Underground Railroad program seeks to coordinate preservation and education efforts nationwide and integrate local historical places, museums, and interpretive programs associated with the Underground Railroad into a mosaic of community, regional, and national stories. The NPS project builds upon and is supported by community initiatives around the country as well as legislation passed in 1990 and the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Act of 1998. Historic places and educational or interpretive programs associated with the Underground Railroad will become part of a network, eligible to use or display a uniform network logo, receive technical assistance and participate in program workshops.

The Network also helps facilitate communication and networking between researchers and interested parties, and aid in the development of statewide organizations for preserving and researching Underground Railroad sites.

For more information on Arkansas Civil War sesquicentennial plans, visit

The Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission is housed within the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program. The AHPP is the Department of Arkansas Heritage agency responsible for identifying, evaluating, registering and preserving the state’s cultural resources. Other agencies are the Arkansas Arts Council, the Delta Cultural Center in Helena, the Old State House Museum, the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission and the Historic Arkansas Museum.