Archeologist Carl Drexler will present his latest discoveries in his work on the Battle of Big Creek Wednesday night at 7pm at the Delta Cultural Center Visitor Center at 141 Cherry Street. Drexler has been looking for the 1864 battle site for several years and through research and excavations, he has found the most Civil War era artifacts to suggest the site may have been located.
According to a preliminary report from Drexler, the archeological work was completed by staff from the Arkansas Archeological Survey (ARAS) research stations at Southern Arkansas University and the University of Arkansas at Monticello. Also included in the archeology were volunteers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Arkansas Archeological Society. The archeological research and site work was funded in part through a grant by the Arkansas Humanities Council.
The 1864 battle site on Big Creek was also known as an action at Wallace’s Ferry. In short, the United States Colored Troops found themselves several miles outside the comfort and security of the relative safety of the Union garrison in Helena. In the countryside in Phillips lurked the Confederate army whose mission it was to disrupt and harass the Union at every given opportunity. That opportunity presented itself on July 26, 1864 when the USCT became surrounded by enemy cavalry. The contest lasted five hours before a Union cavalry unit opened a gap for the USCT to narrowly escape back to Helena.
Drexler will identify his search patterns over the past few years and discuss the evidence recently found to suggest a military action. The program is free and open to the public.