Wednesday, March 31, 2010

New Webpage Available on the Battle of Fort Smith

Continuing with my efforts to provide more information on the history of Arkansas online, I have a new webpage up on the Battle of Fort Smith. This is an extension of the pages I have put up over the last couple of years on Fort Smith and the Battle of Massard Prairie. You can check it out at

This engagement took place on July 31, 1864, when Confederate forces led by Brigadier General Douglas H. Cooper launched a major demonstration against the fortifications protecting the southern approaches to Fort Smith. Inspired by General R.H. Gano's successful attack at the Battle of Massard Prairie four days earlier, Cooper hoped to surprise outlying Union picket posts, capture livestock and supplies and provide an opportunity for pro-Southern families in the area to evacuate.

Moving up at dawn, the Confederate struck from multiple directions at once. One column, led by General Gano, crossed over to Massard Prairie again hoping to repeat the success of the 27th. A second small party, composed of Native American riflemen, moved down the peninsula formed by the confluence of the Poteau and Arkansas Rivers to fire into the main garrison of Fort Smith. The two largest columns, meanwhile, moved up the Fort Towson (today's Towson Avenue) and State Line roads. The advance was led by the famed Cherokee, Brigadier General Stand Watie.

The fighting went about as Cooper had planned. For the next several hours, the Confederates battled a force of Federals who came out of the Fort Smith defenses to fight. Their mission accomplished, they finally withdrew after capturing or destroying an estimated $130,000 in Union supplies.

To learn more, please visit the new page on the Battle of Fort Smith at

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