Battle of Prairie Grove

About the project

Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park was the location of one of the most significant U.S. Civil War battles in the west occurring on December 7, 1862. The Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies has collaborated with state agencies to recreate the setting of the battle using historic documents and maps. The battlefield recreations showcase historic structures and other important features of the landscape as well as the position and maneuver activities of the Union and Confederate troops. The basemap for the landscape is a historic parcel map from 1894 that has been augmented with additional resources including civilian accounts, historic photos, and hand-drawn maps of the area to create a composite image of what the historic landscape would have looked like. In addition, these resources were used to create complete 3D models of nearly all of the significant structures in the battle proper area. Auxiliary objects including fences, barns, wells, outhouses, and more have also been modeled and placed within the landscape. The result is a nearly complete, fully 3D historic landscape that is used as a basis for depicting the events of the Battle of Prairie Grove.

Visitors can explore the battle by either watching the battle video or by exploring a series of interactive maps. The information presented includes audio segments, 3D rendered images of the historic structures, tactical troop movements, and historic accounts. This innovative website presentation coincides with exhibit renovation at the park museum. Content from the website has been integrated into the park's new interactive exhibits.

Recreating the Historic Landscape of 1862

The visualizations presented on this website are the result of extensive research and collaboration by researchers at the Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies and park officials at Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park. Information was compiled from multiple sources including historic maps of the area, civilian accounts, and published books and manuscripts to create a holistic view of how the landscape may have looked in 1862. The result is the numerous images of the historic landscape and structures of 1862 found throughout this website.

This section discusses the process of creating the 3D landscape where the Battle of Prairie Grove took place in 1862. A lot of decisions are made when recreating an environment in 3D. For example, how were the houses constructed and what did they look like? For most of the houses in the immediate battle area, brief descriptions are provided in soldiers written accounts. The William Rogers house for example was described as a “square two story building that was painted white” while the Morton house had photos available that were taken in the 1890's (Fields of Blood, 146). These resources were instrumental in creating 3D models of all of the homes in the battle area. In addition to the homes themselves, each homestead typically included “an orchard, garden, woodpile, barn, springhouse, smokehouse, chicken coop, corncrib and assortment of sheds, workshops, and fences.” (Fields of Blood, 146). This document discusses the process of creating all of the elements of the 3D battlefield landscape including the terrain, vegetation, homes, and more.

Read more about how it was made.


Natural And Cultural Resources Council logo

This project was made possible by two grants from the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council in June 2009 and 2010.

Assistance provided by Randy Dennis - ANCRC Program Manager

Arkansas State Parks logo

Additional assistance was provided by Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism and the staff of the Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park and Museum including:

  • Jessee Cox - Park Superintendent, Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park
  • Special thanks to Alan Thompson, Museum Registrar for proofing and compiling information for this site
  • Holly Cherry, Park Interpreter
  • Richard Davies - Executive Director
  • Greg Butts - State Parks Director
Center for Advanced Spatial Technology logo

Project completed by the Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies at the University of Arkansas.

  • Angie Payne
  • Snow Winters-Sasser
  • Tim Sexton
  • Keenan Cole