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The (Fictional) History of the Battle

Dovecote Crest, located in northern Arkansas, is the site of an obscure Civil War battle that was fought in 1862. An unremarkable diversion from Union the campaign to protect Missouri, the forces engaged were small and inexperienced. In an interesting but often overlooked twist, recently recruited Arkansas Union soldiers mustered to face an Arkansas Confederate regiment. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Union casualties outnumbered those of the Confederates, but they still managed to drive the Confederates off of the crest and win the day. Had the Confederates chosen to return for a second day of battle, they may well have triumphed, but it was decided that the crest was not important enough to risk any more losses, or to waste any more supplies. The Confederate forces engaged were the 64th Arkansas Infantry, under Colonel Evander Lightfoot, who had become temporarily separated from the rest of the Army of the West. The Union forces were not yet an official regiment, but would go on to join the 1st and 2nd Regiment Infantry, among others.

The town of Dovecote Crest no longer exists, but the battlefield is bordered on either side by the cities of Lafayette and Leetown. The battlefield derived its name, perhaps obviously, from a large crest pocked on its face with small caves, which give it the appearance of a dovecote. Only fringe skirmishes of the battle actually took place on the crest itself, but it is by far the most distinctive landform for several miles.

The museum itself is based in an old manor house that was used as a hospital in the aftermath of the battle. It includes the main house, which is used as the main museum, with storage and offices on the upper levels, and a barn, which is opened to visitors and is sometimes used as the site of ‘daily life’ reenactments.