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Oklahoma Forts of the Old West - Page 2

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Confederate Brigadier General Albert PikeFort McCulloch (1862-1865) - After the Confederates were defeated at the Battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas in March, 1862, Brigadier General Albert Pike believed that his headquarters at Fort Davis were vulnerable to attack. Gathering his scattered forces, he retreated to a bluff on the south bank of the Blue River about three miles southwest of Kenefic, Oklahoma. He named the post General Benjamin McCulloch who died at Pea Ridge. Though strategically located along routes leading to Forts Gibson and Washita in Indian Territory>, Fort Smith, Arkansas, and supply towns in north Texas, no permanent buildings were erected. Consisting of earthworks, the post was garrisoned by Texas and Arkansas troops.  When Pike resigned in July, 1862, the importance of the post declined, but served as a refugee haven during the war and briefly, in 1865, as General Stand Watie's seat of command. The site, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is on private property and there are no remains of its former activity.


Fort Reno (1874-1949) - Fort Reno began as a military camp in 1874 in the Indian Wars Era. See full article HERE.


Fort Sill (1869-Present) - Fort Sill remains the only active Army installation of all the forts on the South Plains built during the Indian Wars. See full article HERE.


Fort Supply (1868-1894) - First established as Camp Supply, the post was built to protect the Southern Plains. See full article HERE.


Fort Towson, OklahomaFort Towson (1824-1865) - Established in May, 1824, the post was originally called "Cantonment Towson,” in honor of Nathaniel Towson, Paymaster General of the Army. Originally, the fort served as an outpost on the border between the United States and Texas, which was, at that time, part of Mexico. At this time, the area was rife with conflict between white settlers and Indians, as well as numerous lawless elements, and threats from Mexico. In 1829, the post was abandoned but soon reestablished as "Camp Phoenix" to protect the Choctaw Nation. It was renamed back to Fort Towson in 1831.


During the 1830s, troops were responsible for protecting settlers bound for Texas and served as a dispersal point for the displaced Choctaw and Chickasaw Indians when they were moved to Indian Territory from their homes in the Southeastern United States. In 1842, troops from Fort Towson helped in the construction of Fort Washita 70 miles to the west and was an important staging area for U.S. forces during the Mexican War of 1846.


The post continued to be occupied until 1854, when it was turned over to the Choctaw Indian Agency. However, when the Civil War began, southern forces took over the post, which eventually became the headquarters of Confederate General Samuel B. Maxey. Later, it was the last stronghold of General Stand Watie, who surrendered to federal troops at the post in June, 1865 following the Battle of Doaksville. Afterwards, the fort was permanently abandoned.


The Oklahoma Historical Society acquired the site in 1960, but there was little left of the old post. Today, the historic site, added to the National Register of Historic Place in 1970, features a museum about two miles northeast of the present community of Fort Towson, Oklahoma.




Fort Towson
HC 63, Box 1580
Fort Towson,
Oklahoma  74735-9273


Also See:  Doaksville Archeological Site



Fort Washita (1842-1870) -Established in 1842 by General Zachary Taylor to protect the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations from the Plains Indians, the post was the southwestern-most fort in the United States at the time. See full article HERE.


Fort Wayne (1839-1842) - Established in 1839 by Lieutenant Colonel R. B. Mason of the 1st Dragoons, the post was named in honor of General "Mad" Anthony Wayne. Its purpose was to be one of many forts established to protect the "new" American West. It's initial life; however, was short lived, as it was abandoned just three years later in 1842, and turned over to the Cherokee Nation. When the Civil War broke out, Stand Watie took over the post and organized the Cherokee Mounted Rifles.


On October 22, 1862, Brigadier General james G. Blunt and his troops attacked Colonel Douglas H. Cooper and his Confederate command on Beatties Prairie near Old Fort Wayne. Though the southern forces put up a stiff resistance initially, overwhelming numbers forced them to flee shortly after the battle began, leaving their artillery and equipment behind. There were some 150 Confederate casualties.


Today, the location is an Oklahoma Historic site, but nothing remains of the post. it is located in Delaware County, Oklahoma on State Highway 20 about a mile west of the Arkansas border.



© Kathy Weiser/Legends of America, updated May, 2015.



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