Napoleon is a ghost town in Desha County, Arkansas, United States, near the confluence of the Arkansas and Mississippi rivers. Once the county seat, Napoleon was doomed when in 1863, a channel was cut through the soft land that inadvertently directed the river waters toward the town. It was finally submerged in 1874 when the banks of the Mississippi River burst through and destroyed the last of the once-thriving river port town.
Desha County is a county located in the southeast part of the U.S. state of Arkansas, with its eastern border the Mississippi River. As of the 2010 census, the population was 13,008. It ranks fifty-sixth of Arkansas's seventy-five counties in terms of population. The county seat is Arkansas City. Located in the Arkansas Delta, Desha County's rivers and fertile soils became prosperous for planters under the cotton-based economy of plantation agriculture in the antebellum years and late nineteenth century. Still largely rural, it has suffered population losses and economic decline since the mid-20th century.
Arkansas is a state in the southern region of the United States, home to over 3 million people as of 2018. Its name is of Siouan derivation from the language of the Osage denoting their related kin, the Quapaw Indians. The state's diverse geography ranges from the mountainous regions of the Ozark and the Ouachita Mountains, which make up the U.S. Interior Highlands, to the densely forested land in the south known as the Arkansas Timberlands, to the eastern lowlands along the Mississippi River and the Arkansas Delta.
A county seat is an administrative center, seat of government, or capital city of a county or civil parish. The term is used in Canada, China, Romania, Taiwan and the United States. County towns have a similar function in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, and historically in Jamaica.
In 1852, Bolivar County, Mississippi, established Wellington as its county seat, nearly opposite Napoleon, on the east bank of the Mississippi River.There would have been a natural rivalry between business and civic leaders in Desha County, Arkansas, and Bolivar County for river-related commerce at the confluence of the Arkansas and Mississippi rivers.
Bolivar County is a county located on the western border of the U.S. state of Mississippi. As of the 2010 census, the population was 34,145. Its county seats are Rosedale and Cleveland. The county is named in honor of Simón Bolívar, early 19th-century leader of the liberation of several South American colonies from Spain.
Mississippi is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. Mississippi is the 32nd most extensive and 34th most populous of the 50 United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Alabama to the east, the Gulf of Mexico and Louisiana to the south, and Arkansas and Louisiana to the west. The state's western boundary is largely defined by the Mississippi River. Jackson, with a population of approximately 167,000 people, is both the state's capital and largest city.
Prentiss is a ghost town in Bolivar County, Mississippi, United States.
North of Napoleon, the river followed a sharp curve east into Mississippi along what was then called "Beulah Bend" (now Lake Beulah). During the American Civil War, Confederate soldiers would move east by foot from Napoleon, hide in a wooded area near the bend, and then fire on passing Union ships. The bend was so tight that the same cannon could be used on ships as they entered and then left Beulah Bend.
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States from 1861 to 1865, between the North and the South. The most studied and written about episode in U.S. history, the Civil War began primarily as a result of the long-standing controversy over the enslavement of black people. War broke out in April 1861 when secessionist forces attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina shortly after Abraham Lincoln had been inaugurated as the President of the United States. The loyalists of the Union in the North proclaimed support for the Constitution. They faced secessionists of the Confederate States in the South, who advocated for states' rights to uphold slavery.
The Confederate States of America, commonly referred to as the Confederacy, was an unrecognized country in North America that existed from 1861 to 1865. The Confederacy was originally formed by seven secessionist slave-holding states—South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas—in the Lower South region of the United States, whose economy was heavily dependent upon agriculture, particularly cotton, and a plantation system that relied upon the labor of African-American slaves.
Following one such ambush in 1863, a Federal gunship led by William Tecumseh Sherman landed at Wellington and burned the town. Seeking to permanently avoid the ambush point at Beulah Bend, Union commander Thomas Oliver Selfridge ordered a channel dug across the peninsula around which Beulah Bend flowed. The soft land and strong river current enabled the "Napoleon Channel" to be cut in just a day. The Napoleon Channel improved the Mississippi River for shipping, as it removed 10 mi (16 km) from the navigable route. Unfortunately, the diverted river currents caused by the Napoleon Channel caused both Wellington and Napoleon to be completely submerged within a few years.
The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
William Tecumseh Sherman was an American soldier, businessman, educator, and author. He served as a general in the Union Army during the American Civil War (1861–65), for which he received recognition for his outstanding command of military strategy as well as criticism for the harshness of the scorched earth policies he implemented in conducting total war against the Confederate States.
Rear Admiral Thomas Oliver Selfridge was an officer in the United States Navy during the Mexican–American War and the American Civil War and was the father of another rear admiral, Thomas O. Selfridge, Jr.
The town was the subject of a chapter in Mark Twain's Life on the Mississippi , in which he tells a story of learning from a deathbed confession that $10,000 was hidden behind a brick in a building in Napoleon. When Twain tried to retrieve it, he discovered the entire town had been washed away.Twain reports that the early explorers De Soto, Marquette and Joliet, and La Salle visited "the site of the future town of Napoleon, Arkansas" in their pioneering journeys.
Samuel Langhorne Clemens, known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American writer, humorist, entrepreneur, publisher, and lecturer. His novels include The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and its sequel, the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), the latter often called "The Great American Novel".
Life on the Mississippi (1883) is a memoir by Mark Twain of his days as a steamboat pilot on the Mississippi River before the American Civil War, and also a travel book, recounting his trip along the Mississippi River from St. Louis to New Orleans many years after the war.
Hernando de Soto was a Spanish explorer and conquistador who was involved in expeditions in Nicaragua and the Yucatan Peninsula, and played an important role in Pizarro's conquest of the Inca Empire in Peru, but is best known for leading the first Spanish and European expedition deep into the territory of the modern-day United States. He is the first European documented as having crossed the Mississippi River.
The Mississippi River is the second-longest river and chief river of the second-largest drainage system on the North American continent, second only to the Hudson Bay drainage system. Its source is Lake Itasca in northern Minnesota and it flows generally south for 2,320 miles (3,730 km) to the Mississippi River Delta in the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains all or parts of 32 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces between the Rocky and Appalachian mountains. The main stem is entirely within the United States; the total drainage basin is 1,151,000 sq mi (2,980,000 km2), of which only about one percent is in Canada. The Mississippi ranks as the fourth-longest and fifteenth-largest river by discharge in the world. The river either borders or passes through the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
Chicot County is a county located in the U.S. state of Arkansas. As of the 2010 census, the population was 11,800. The county seat is Lake Village. Chicot County is Arkansas's 10th county, formed on October 25, 1823, and named after Point Chicot on the Mississippi River. It is part of the Arkansas Delta, lowlands along the river that have been historically important as an area for large-scale cotton cultivation.
Beulah is a town in Bolivar County, Mississippi, United States. The population was 348 at the 2010 census, down from 473 as of the 2000 census.
Father Jacques Marquette S.J., sometimes known as Père Marquette or James Marquette, was a French Jesuit missionary who founded Michigan's first European settlement, Sault Ste. Marie, and later founded St. Ignace, Michigan. In 1673, Father Marquette and Louis Jolliet were the first Europeans to explore and map the northern portion of the Mississippi River Valley.
The Arkansas River is a major tributary of the Mississippi River. It generally flows to the east and southeast as it traverses the U.S. states of Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. The river's source basin lies in the western United States in Colorado, specifically the Arkansas River Valley, where the headwaters derive from the snowpack in the Sawatch and Mosquito mountain ranges. It then flows east into the Midwest via Kansas, and finally into the South through Oklahoma and Arkansas.
The St. Francis River is a tributary of the Mississippi River, about 426 miles (686 km) long, in southeastern Missouri and northeastern Arkansas in the United States. The river drains a mostly rural area and forms part of the Missouri-Arkansas state line along the western side of the Missouri Bootheel.
Arkansas's 1st congressional district is a U.S. congressional district in eastern Arkansas that elects a representative to the United States House of Representatives.
The Nodena Site is an archeological site east of Wilson, Arkansas and northeast of Reverie, Tennessee in Mississippi County, Arkansas, United States. Around 1400–1650 CE an aboriginal palisaded village existed in the Nodena area on a meander bend of the Mississippi River. The Nodena site was discovered and first documented by Dr. James K. Hampson, archaeologist and owner of the plantation on which the Nodena site is located. Artifacts from this site are on display in the Hampson Museum State Park in Wilson, Arkansas. The Nodena Site is the type site for the Nodena Phase, believed by many archaeologists to be the province of Pacaha visited by Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto in 1542.
The Menard-Hodges Site (3AR4), is an archaeological site in Arkansas County, Arkansas. It includes two large platform mounds as well as several house mounds. It is the type site for the Menard phase, a protohistoric Mississippian culture group.
Christmas is an unincorporated community in Bolivar County, Mississippi, United States. Christmas is located along Mississippi Highway 1, 0.7 miles (1.1 km) south of Beulah.
Lake Beulah is an oxbow lake located in Bolivar County, Mississippi and Desha County, Arkansas, United States. The Arkansas-Mississippi border follows the center of the narrow, curving lake.
Bolivar is an unincorporated community in Bolivar County, Mississippi.
Concordia is a ghost town in Bolivar County, Mississippi, located on the eastern edge of the Mississippi Levee, approximately 2.5 mi (4.0 km) west of Mississippi Highway 1.
Lake Whittington is an oxbow lake located in Bolivar County, Mississippi and Desha County, Arkansas, United States. The Arkansas-Mississippi border follows the center of the narrow, curving lake.
Sunflower Landing is an unincorporated community in Coahoma County, Mississippi, United States.
Mound Landing is a ghost town in Bolivar County, Mississippi, United States.
Riverton is a ghost town in Bolivar County, Mississippi, United States.
These performances took place on the site of the future town of Napoleon, Arkansas, and there the first confiscation-cross was raised on the banks of the great river. Marquette’s and Joliet’s voyage of discovery ended at the same spot—the site of the future town of Napoleon. When De Soto took his fleeting glimpse of the river, away back in the dim early days, he took it from that same spot—the site of the future town of Napoleon, Arkansas. Therefore, three out of the four memorable events connected with the discovery and exploration of the mighty river, occurred, by accident, in one and the same place. It is a most curious distinction, when one comes to look at it and think about it. France stole that vast country on that spot, the future Napoleon; and by and by Napoleon himself was to give the country back again!—make restitution, not to the owners, but to their white American heirs.