|Barracks Building at Fort Smith|
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The focus was the movement by state militia troops to seize the military post, although Arkansas had not yet seceeded from the Union. Upon hearing that hundreds of militiamen were on their way to Fort Smith under Colonel Solon Borland, Captain Samuel D. Sturgis, who soon became a Union general, ordered the evacuation of the post by his two companies from the 1st U.S. Cavalry.
Leaving just hours before the arrival of the state forces, Sturgis and his men set off across the border into the Choctaw Nation, carrying what supplies they could in 20 wagons. The evacuation took place at 9 p.m. on the night of April 23, 1861, just 10 days after the surrender of Fort Sumter in South Carolina. Among the few men left behind was Captain Alexander Montgomery, the assistant quartermaster. He provided the following report of the arrival of Colonel Borland and the Arkansas militiamen:
|Quartermaster's Storehouse at Fort Smith|
You can read more of the official reports on the capture at www.exploresouthernhistory.com/fortsmithseizure3.
You can also learn more about the entire history of Fort Smith by visiting www.exploresouthernhistory.com/fortsmith.