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Definition: Arkansas from Philip's Encyclopedia

River with its source high up in the Rockies of central Colorado, USA, and flowing 2335km (1450mi) to the Mississippi River in SE Arkansas. Fourth-longest river in the US, it flows E through Kansas, SE across the NE corner of Oklahoma, and then SE to Arkansas.


Summary Article: Arkansas River from The Civil War Naval Encyclopedia

Principal tributary of the Mississippi River and the sixth longest river in the United States. Approximately 1,470 miles in length, the Arkansas River has its source in the Rocky Mountains, near Leadville in Lake County, Colorado. The river flows east and then southeast, beginning in central Colorado and traversing the states of Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas, where it empties into the Mississippi River near the modern-day town of Napoleon, not far from Vicksburg, Mississippi, a key target for Union offensives during the Civil War.

The Arkansas River basin drains nearly 195,000 square miles. Near its headwaters, the river runs fast and narrow, dropping some 4,600 feet in elevation over 120 miles. Near Pueblo, Colorado, the river becomes markedly wider and its flow slower. The Arkansas is navigable to large vessels from the Mississippi west into northeastern Oklahoma.

Major cities along the Arkansas River include Wichita, Kansas; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Fort Smith, Arkansas; and Little Rock, Arkansas. Prior to the arrival of Europeans in North America, numerous Native American tribes called the Arkansas River basin home. The Santa Fe Trail, begun in early 1820 and used by thousands of settlers moving west, generally paralleled the river through much of Kansas. The Arkansas River is prone to flooding, particularly in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. The January 9–11, 1863, Battle of Fort Hindman took place near the confluence of the Arkansas and Mississippi rivers at Arkansas Post, as part of the Union effort to capture Vicksburg and control the lower Mississippi.

See also

Fort Hindman, Battle of; Mississippi River; Mississippi Squadron, U.S. Navy; Vicksburg Campaign

References
  • Ballard, Michael B. Vicksburg: The Campaign That Opened the Mississippi. University of North Carolina Press Chapel Hill, 2004.
  • Sherman, Jory. The Arkansas River. Bantam Books New York, 1991.
  • Tucker, Spencer C. Blue & Gray Navies: The Civil War Afloat. Naval Institute Press Annapolis, MD, 2006.
  • Pierpaoli, Paul G. Jr.
    Copyright 2011 by ABC-CLIO, LLC

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