This week 150 years ago in the Civil War, a Union army led by Maj. Gen. Frederick Steele forced the last Confederate troops from the Arkansas capital of Little Rock. By Sept. 2, 1863, Union forces had swelled to some 15,000 troops nearing Little Rock.
The Union columns were arrayed against nearly 8,000 Confederates commanded by Sterling Price. Steele ordered his fighters to swing into action Sept. 9, 1863, along the Arkansas River east of Little Rock. Fighting erupted a day later and an overwhelming fusillade of cannon and artillery fire by advancing Union forces began pushing the Confederates into retreat. Union cavalry relentlessly repulsed their rivals, sending the Confederates in the direction of southwest Arkansas.
As Union fighters swept into Little Rock, the city's remaining civil authorities quickly surrendered that capital city on Sept. 10, 1863. Victory by the Union in Arkansas meant the federal forces were taking control of yet another capital city once under sway of the secessionists.