Saturday, February 2, 2008

Fort Smith and Van Buren during the Civil War

This is a section of an interesting map in the National Archives showing Fort Smith, Van Buren and the surrounding areas as they appeared during the Civil War.

Although it contains a few inaccuracies, the map clearly illustrates a number of key locations around Fort Smith and Van Buren. Just south of Fort Smith, for example, is shown Massards' Prairie." Massard Prairie (sometimes spelled Mazzard or Muzzard) was the scene of a significant battle during the summer of 1864 that ended in one of the few overwhelming Confederate victories in Western Arkansas. The map also shows Fort Coffee, the old military post on the Arkansas River upstream from Fort Smith in the Choctaw Nation. Occupied at times by Confederate troops under Brig. Gen. Stand Watie, this fort was near present-day Spiro Mounds State Archaeological Park in eastern Oklahoma.

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