of the strategic city of Fort Smith, Arkansas along the slope of a long rocky ridge known
as the Devil's Backbone. The Battle of Devil's Backbone developed on August 31, 1863, when the Union Army of the Frontier, commanded by Gen. J.G. Blunt, advanced from the west against Fort Smith and the Confederate forces of Gen. W.L. Cabell.
The Battle of Devil's Backbone developed the next morning when, as expected, a large part
of the Union army pursued the Confederates and rode headlong into the Union trap. Confederate troops opened fire from hidden positions at the base of the ridge and rolled back the head of the Union columnn, sparking a battle that raged for hours along the slopes of the Backbone. The Federals brought up artillery and the two sides blasted away at each other, expending a significant amount of ammunition but doing little injury.
The battle ended when a lull settled over the mountain as the Federals ran short of
ammunition. At this point, Cabell's troops unexpectedly broke and ran.
The battle took place on what is now private property near Greenwood, Arkansas. A
monument can be seen on U.S. 71 where the highway crosses Devil's Backbone and
the Civil War Preservation Trust recently acquired a portion of the battlefield, assuring
that at least part of the site will be preserved for future generations.