Arkadelphia was a manufacturing center for Confederate Arkansas early in the Civil War. Gen. Thomas Hindman established a powder works and an arsenal in 1862, producing guns, cannon, bullets, shells, wagons and caissons. Tanning yards provided harnesses, bridles, saddles, knapsacks and shoes. Tons of salt were produced at Arkadelphia, and a chemical laboratory there helped create such medicines as calomel, castor oil, spirits of nitre and tinctures of iron, with citizens providing the plants, weeds and herbs needed as raw materials to make the medicine.
The Military Road
The Military Road, following the route of the old Southwest Trail, passed through the heart of Clark County. Both Confederate and Union troops used the road. Gen. Sterling Price's Confederates retreated down the road after Little Rock fell in September 1863. Gen. Frederick Steele's Union army took the road during the Camden Expedition and stayed in Arkadelphia March 29 to April 1, 1864, before heading southwest. Confederate troops skirmished with Steele at Terre Noire Creek and Okolona before the Union army left the county at Elkins' Ferry on the Little Missouri.