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Coordinates: 33°47′49″N 91°04′26″W / 33.797°N 91.074°W / 33.797; -91.074 Napoleon is a ghost town in Desha County, Arkansas, United States, near the confluence of the Arkansas and Mississippi rivers. Once the county seat of Desha County, Napoleon was flooded when the banks of the Mississippi River burst through and destroyed the once-thriving river port town.[1]

The town was the subject of a narrative in Mark Twain's Life on the Mississippi, in which 10,000 dollars had been hidden behind a brick in a building there. Twain says he learned of the money's whereabouts but upon trying to retrieve it discovered the entire town has been washed away.[2][3]

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.[4]

In 1852, Bolivar County, Mississippi, established its county seat nearly opposite Napoleon, Arkansas, on the east bank of the Mississippi River. It was named "Wellington," according to the History of Bolivar County Mississippi, published in 1948 by the Mississippi Delta Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. No records exist as to why Bolivar County leaders chose Wellington as the county seat's name, but the choice may have had something to do with the meeting of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte of France and the Duke of Wellington, the British general, at the Battle of Waterloo earlier in the century. There would have been a natural rivalry between business and civic leaders in Desha County, Arkansas, and Bolivar County, Mississippi, for river-related commerce at the confluence of the Arkansas and Mississippi Rivers. Like Napoleon, Wellington no longer exists.

External links

References

  1. ^ "Napoleon (Desha County)". Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture. The Central Arkansas Library System. 2009. http://www.encyclopediaofarkansas.net/encyclopedia/entry-detail.aspx?entryID=356. Retrieved 2009-02-16.  
  2. ^ Clemens, Samuel L. (1917). "XXXII, The Disposal of a Bonanza". Life on the Mississippi. New York: Harper & Row. pp. 281–286.  
  3. ^ "Napoleon, Arkansas". Directory of Mark Twain's maxims, quotations, and various opinions. www.twainquotes.com. 2009. http://www.twainquotes.com/Napoleon.html. Retrieved 2009-02-16.   Web page includes an 1863 map showing the location of Napoleon, Arkansas.
  4. ^ Clemens, Samuel L. (1917). Life on the Mississippi. New York: Harper & Row. p. 15.  
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