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Elkhorn Tavern

Pea Ridge NMP Tour Stop #8

Pea Ridge National Military Park Tour Stop 8 SignDirections: Retrace your steps to get back to the East Overlook Tour Stop's parking area. Get in your car and drive approximately 1 mile along the Park's Tour Road to the Elkhorn Tavern Parking Area [ Waypoint = N36 27.204 W94 00.992 ].

Description: Elkhorn Tavern [ Waypoint = N36 27.212 W94 00.944 ] is a reconstruction of the two-story, wood-frame structure that was built in 1833 by William Ruddick and his son-in-law Samuel Burks. The present structure was built soon after the war, and resembles the tavern's war-time appearance. The south fireplace and the foundations are from the original building. The reconstructed Elkhorn Tavern is listed on the National Register of Historic Landmarks

Ruddick and Burks named it Ruddick's Inn. In 1858, the house was sold to Jesse and Polly Cox who renamed it Elkhorn Tavern. The inn was situated at the intersection of the Wire Road and the Huntsville Road. The Huntsville Road connected east to Jacksonport, Arkansas, a port town on the White River that flows into the Mississippi River. It served as a trading post, , an unofficial Butterfield Overland Mail stop, post office, voting place, eating establishment, church of the Benton County Baptist Society and inn.

Elkhorn TavernElkhorn Tavern

Before the battle, the Federal army used the surrounding fields as a supply depot. During the battle, the second floor was used as a hospital for wounded soldiers. Confederate General Van Dorn used the tavern briefly as his headquarters. In the months following the battle, The Federals used the tavern as a headquarters and military telegraph station, until it was burned around January, 1863 by Confederate guerrillas.

Lifeline For Two Armies Intepretive Sign“Lifeline for Two Armies” Interpretive Sign [ Waypoint = N36 27.202 W94 00.948 ] text reads as follows:

“Elkhorn Tavern overlooks a highway of vital importance for Arkansas and Missouri during the Civil War. Union and Confederate leaders both wanted this 20-foot-wide dirt road to move men and supplies. Along side the road ran 3-year-old telegraph wires, the latest way to send information far and fast.”

“In the week before the battle broke out here, both armies had hurriedly marched southward past this crossroads and tavern. The night before the shooting started, Union troops from Missouri set up a small rearguard outpost here. The soldiers had stockpiled food in the barn and tavern. Provost guards watched a handful of captured Confederates nearby.”

Elkhorn Tavern [ Waypoint = N36 27.212 W94 00.944 ] will be your base of operations for the next several tour stops. If you complete the entire walking tour, you will travel about 3.5 miles with one moderately steep downhill grade and one moderately steep uphill grade. On this tour you will walk past the place where Union Brigadier General Samuel R. Curtis sent Colonel Eugene Carr's 4th Division to hold off the overwhelming Confederate advance from the north. As you continue to walk down into Tanyard Ravine and Williams Hollow, you will reach the starting point for the Confederate attack. As you walk out of the hollow, you will go past the location where Major General Sterling Price massed the Southern batteries to pound the Federal defenders. You will join up with the Huntsville Road that the Confederates used on March 8th as they withdrew from the battlefield. You will walk past Clemen's Field, the scene of fierce fighting between Price's southern troops and Union Colonel Grenville Dodge's First Brigade. Finally, you will be back at Elkhorn Tavern which the Federals had to abandon on the evening of March 7th and withdraw south.

But first, cross the Park's Tour Road and visit the two monuments.


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