We drove out to Marks’ Mills to check out the battlefield where the largest campaign in Arkansas took place. It is also where GGGrandpa Westerfield was captured and walked to Tyler Texas to Camp Ford. That is a distance of over 250 miles. It is hard to imagine what that must have been like back in 1864.
We read the information signs at the entrance to the park, looked (unsuccessfully) for the geocache that was hidden there. We think the cache was under one of the piles of trash along the trail, but we shifted through all of them and could not find it. We did find fires ants which we avoided, and gooey thick mud that stuck to our shoes, but no cache.
We next drove into Camden where General Steel of the Union Forces was camped. We went to a local museum and had a very nice talk with the volunteer there. He knew quite a bit about Camden, but surprisingly not a lot about Marks’ Mill battle. We told him about GGGrandpa Westerfield and I think he learned more than we learned. We had a very nice interesting time. We drove down to the Ouachita River. We did learn that this river is pronounced, Wachuka. So if you are ever in Camden don’t try to pronounce the river the way it is spelled or the locals will know you are an out-of-towner for sure.
While at the river we learned that the Chocktaw Indians were marched by this spot on their way to Oklahoma on the Trail of Tears.
Today we went back to Marks’ Mills and drove about 2 miles into the woods to see where the Mill was, where the Marks family home was and also the cemetery. We were very impressed with how well maintained the family and friends of the Marks family have kept this area. They have added a lot of historical information as well as implements.
We drove down the dirt road stopping along the way to take pictures.
We walked through the cemetery and were surprised to see some very, very old headstones as well as some new ones.
The old farm implements were well displayed for being out in the middle on nowhere.
We did see an outhouse, but in my worse ‘condition’ I could not have convinced myself to use it.
Tom make the short trek to where the original mill was located about 20 yards off the road.
We finished our visit to the Marks’ Mill battlefield by getting a nearby cache, Marks Switch. This is James Nicholas Marks' Home Site where he pulled a cypress twig to switch his horse and when he got home he stuck it in the ground by the old well and this is the tree that grew from it. That was in 1883.
For those interested in finding more about Marks’ Mill and the Red River Campaign this internet site is excellent, Marks Battle Ground.
We finished our day at a little Mexican restaurant. Our waiter, the son of the owner, was from the Modesto, CA, area and was so accommodating. He even took my dinner back to the kitchen for more melted cheese and takeout sopapillas with 4 kinds of sauce, chocolate, sweet milk, honey, and honey-mustard.
Tonight we are listening to lots of thunder and heavy rain but no heavy wind. NICE! Tomorrow we go to Natchez. Till then we are On The Road Again.