May 1st, 2014

CACC Issues Its 4th Wooden Nickel

CACC wooden nickelContinuing a popular theme, the Civil War Sesquicentennial, the Central Arkansas Coin Club is remembering the sites in Arkansas that have markers from battles. For 2014, the club is featuring “The Battle Of Jenkins Ferry,” which has a 150 year anniversary this year.

The Battle of Jenkins Ferry was an Arkansas Civil War battle fought in and around the Saline River crossing at Jenkins Ferry on April 30, 1864. Major General Frederick Steele’s Union Army was woefully low on supplies and retreating northward from the failed Red River Campaign. His force was harassed by Confederate cavalry as General Marmaduke’s men caught the Union column as they approached the Saline River. When Steele’s forces reached Jenkins Ferry on the swollen Saline River, they had to halt their move and construct a pontoon bridge to get across.

The remaining 10,000 Confederate Army soldiers under Lieutenant General Kirby Smith caught up to and engaged the Union forces as they were trying to cross the swollen Saline River early in the morning of April 30. The Union cavalry had been able to cross the Saline River overnight on April 29.

Now, General Steele had to fight off Kirby Smith’s army before his infantry forces completed getting their wagons, artillery and remaining troops over the pontoon bridge river crossing.

Gunpowder smoke added to a blanket of fog soon after the battle began. The smoke and fog made it almost impossible for the opposing forces to see each other except by crouching down in a low position. This served to help the defenders more since they were lying behind their works and not attempting to get to them through the mud as the Confederate attackers were trying to do. Union soldiers could simply fire into a narrow area where the Confederates had to attack to get effective results.

After a bloody battle in which Generals on both sides were mortally wounded, the Union forces were eventually able to retreat across the river and escape to Little Rock. The Yankees abandoned all their heavy equipment and burnt their makeshift pontoon bridge leaving the Rebels on the other side of the river unable to give chase.

The Battle of Jenkins Ferry was the last significant Civil War battle in Arkansas. Over 1,700 soldiers were killed, wounded or missing in action.

Learn more about Civil War events in Arkansas from the Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission’s website:

The Central Arkansas Coin Club will issue a total of five Civil War Sesquicentennial wooden nickels; one for each year of the sesquicentennial.

The collectable Central Arkansas Coin Club Civil War Sesquicentennial wooden nickels can be ordered from Tom Dodson, 6900 Skywood Rd., Little Rock, AR 72207. Information/ Email:

Please include a “SASE” packing envelope for return shipping. All years are available (some limited supply), individual items $1, or 3 woodies for $2.

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