WASHINGTON, Ark. — With the Civil War capture of Little Rock by Union forces in 1863, Arkansas’s state government relocated to the Southwest Arkansas town of Washington, where it used the 1836 Hempstead County Courthouse as its new capitol. Confederate troops encamped in the town, and, though approaching nearby during the Red River Campaign of 1864, the Union Army failed to occupy it until after the war had ended. This was a major way-point on the Old Southwest Trail to Texas. James Bowie had hired a local blacksmith and knife maker to fashion the first of what became known as the “Bowie Knife”, and both Bowie and Davy Crockett passed through here on their way to Texas and ultimately to the Alamo.
For more information on this event: “Civil War Weekend,” at Historic Washington State Park in Washington. 9 am-5 pm. $10/adult. www.historicwashingtonstatepark.com