Battle of the Bees

There is a historical marker about a mile north of Okolona, Arkansas which tells of a military engagement during the Civil War that pitted three combatants – Union Troops, Confederate fighters and a swarm of angry honeybees. The marker reads, “Near this site, on April 3, 1864, General Joseph Shelby caught up with Samuel Rice’s Union Troops. They engaged in a skirmish in a pecan orchard during a severe thunderstorm with high winds and hail. Several beehives were overturned. The insects first attacked the Confederates and then turned their attention to the Union Army. Both armies left the battlefield to their stinging tormentors. Clark County Historical Association - 2001.”
Maybe the wind overturned the beehives or possibly the horses and wagons did the trick. Whatever happened, the bees turned their attention from the gray-and-butternut uniforms of the Confederates to pursue the blue-clad Union Troops. Insects tend to attack darker-colored objects. The outcome of the skirmish might seem laughable today, but not to those brave soldiers on the battlefield in 1864. Enemy bullets can be tolerated, but not bee stings.