Fort Smith: Little Gibraltar on the Arkansas

Fort Smith: Little Gibraltar on the Arkansas

by Edwin C. Bearss, A. M. Gibson, Arrell Morgan Gibson
     
 

No history of the West is complete without the story of Fort Smith, the fort that “refused to die.” Established in 1817, Fort Smith was repeatedly abandoned and reoccupied during the following fifty years, eventually becoming the mother post of the Southwest.
 
The original fort was installed on the Arkansas River by Major William Bradford

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Overview

No history of the West is complete without the story of Fort Smith, the fort that “refused to die.” Established in 1817, Fort Smith was repeatedly abandoned and reoccupied during the following fifty years, eventually becoming the mother post of the Southwest.
 
The original fort was installed on the Arkansas River by Major William Bradford and a company of the Rifles Regiment. Bradford’s mission was to stop a bloody war between the Osages and the Cherokees, a conflict discouraging the emigration of eastern Indians to the lands west of the Mississippi and thereby interfering with the government’s removal policy.
 
During the Civil War, Confederate armies at Wilson’s Creek, Pea Ridge, and Prairie Grove were supplied from Fort Smith, and the Rebel force that crushed Opothleyoholo’s band marched from Fort Smith. The fort was taken by Federal troops in September 1863 and served as a Union base for the remainder of the Civil War.
 
In 1871 the army again abandoned the fort, but the Federal Court for the Western District of Arkansas soon moved in. Under Judge Isaac Parker, the renowned “Hanging Judge of Fort Smith,” the court became a force for law and order in much of Indian Territory.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A valuable addition to western military history . . . a fine example of how local history should be written. The authors demonstrate that, ‘through the portals of Fort Smith, one can see the panorama of Southwestern history unfolding.’”—Western Historical Quarterly

“For everyone interested in the frontier Southwest and the Civil War.”—Civil War History

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780806112329
Publisher:
University of Oklahoma Press
Publication date:
09/01/1988
Edition description:
2d ed
Pages:
386
Product dimensions:
5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.86(d)

Meet the Author

Edwin C. Bearss was Research Historian for Vicksburg National Military Park in Mississippi.

Arrell Morgan Gibson (1921–1987) was the George Lynn Cross Research Professor of History at the University of Oklahoma. He was the author of many books on western history, including The Chickasaws, The Life and Death of Colonel Albert Jennings Fountain, and Oklahoma: A History of Five Centuries, all published by the University of Oklahoma Press.

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