Reminiscences of the War Between the States in Crawford County, Arkansas

Steamboats Burned at Van Buren

When General Blount made his raid in to Van Buren on that memorable Sunday morning. December 28th. 1862 and the bluecoats swarmed over the town. there were five steamboats lying at or near the wharf, loaded with corn to be transported down the river. They were the Rose Douglas. Frederick Notrobe, Key West, Violet and Ben Carson, the latter being a flat bottom boat succeeded in getting away. That night the others were burned. Still burning the Rose Douglas and the Frederick Notrobe floated down the river about opposite the foot of Drennen street and sunk. The Violet was tied to a sweet gum tree, at what would now be the foot of Sycamore street, but at that time there was a large field between Bois de Arc, or what is now second street where the railroad is and (illegible) partly burned the town was illuminated by the burning boats as they floated down the river. Mrs. Fanny Ogden. who as a girl lived at the corner of Vine and Bois de Arc which was near where the boat was burned, says she remembers getting dishes, plated silver dish holder and other things off the boat to play with. 

One lady said as she came into town the next morning she could smell the burning corn some distance down the river road. At the same time several buildings containing government corn were burned. 

There seems to be diversity of opinion as to who set the boats on fire. Some say the Confederates and some say the Federals. Which side did it, it was known in time to remove some of the articles, as an extension dining table, taken from either the Rose Douglass or the Frederick Notrobe is now in the Guild room of Trinity Episcopal church where it has been for several years.

Hit Counter page visit since October 26, 2002
Page last edited 06/27/2009