Fort Gibson - Fort Gibson, Oklahoma
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member gparkes
N 35° 48.480 W 095° 15.217
15S E 296378 N 3964996
Fort Gibson was established in 1824. It's establishment was to move supply lines further west from Fort Smith. This became the final for many of the Indians on the Trail of Tears. The fort went on to become very pivital in the American Civil War.
Waymark Code: WM7TTT
Location: Oklahoma, United States
Date Posted: 12/03/2009
Published By:Groundspeak Regular Member GEO*Trailblazer 1
Views: 10

Fort Gibson's history begins in 1824. Colonel Matthew Arbuckle established the fort on the eastern bank of the Grand River, just before the confluence with the Arkansas River. The original fortification included a stockade, with living and operational quarters built along the walls. The fort was positioned to control Indian problems within the area, particularly with the Osage. This fort was situated 80 miles west of the original Fort Smith, so as to replace it, because of the ever expanding boundary of the wilderness.

In the 1830's, the fort was met with a new mission: the terminus of the “Trail of Tears.” The forced removal of tribes from the east, required Federal troops to enforce the peace and provided supplies to the Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Seminole and Chickasaw Indian tribes.

As originally constructed, the intention of the fort was to accommodate four companies, but through the 1830's and 40's, increased need sparked a building necessity to house an entire regiment. Also, the post was constructed on low lands, subject to frequent flooding. The new buildings of the post were planned to be constructed on a hill overlooking the stockade, however by 1857, only one stone building had been constructed. That same year, the Cherokees requested that the operations of the fort be moved, and the Army evacuated allowing for Cherokee possession of the fort.

As the Civil War broke out in 1861, Confederate forces from Texas and the Indian tribes utilized the fort. Many Indians still felt anguish over the forced relocation from the east. It was a natural fit for many of the Indians to join the Confederacy, as they promised to grant the tribes an independent state. Many (but not all) Indians in the territory picked up arms against the United States.

In the autumn of 1862, Colonel William A. Phillips, challenged the Confederate authority in the Indian Territory. Surging forward into the Indian Territory, this was the first attempt of the Union to regain control of the region.

Confederate troops getting word of an impending attack on Fort Gibson, abandoned the fort. This allowed Federal troops to take Fort Gibson without force.

As spring of 1863 arrived, Colonel Phillips received word of Confederate plans in the area. First, Confederate troops under the command of Brigadier General William L. Cabell from Fort Smith, Arkansas, were on the move to join the troops at Honey Springs Depot. Second, Confederate troops wanted to drive the Federal troops away from Indian Territory. That meant expelling the troops at Fort Gibson. Third, the combined force from Arkansas and at Honey Springs would join and take on the Federal forces in the area. Rather than allow this, Colonel Phillips made the decision to go on the offensive, and attack Honey Springs.

In July, General Blunt, now reinforced by troops from Kansas and Colorado went on the attack. General Blunt’s troops had the best equipment, well armed, good uniforms, and generally had good rations, as they were supplied from Fort Scott. His troops numbered about 3000 and were now emboldened by word of victories at both Gettysburg and Vicksburg. In comparison, the troops under the command of General Douglas, were poorly armed and ill equipped.

The battle of Honey Springs commenced on July 17, 1863. The battlefield was a densely wooded area, split by the Texas Road. Splitting the forces from each other was a deep creek, with a single bridge crossed the creek. The Union forces decidedly took victory in the battle, dispersing the Confederate forces from the field, allowing the depot to be burned to the ground.

This was the single largest battle in Indian Territory, and determined the future for the area. With all major Confederate troops dispersed from the northern portion of Indian Territory, Union forces could now focus their attention on northwest Arkansas, and particularly Fort Smith.

Only one other engagement would endanger Union troops. The Second Battle at Cabin Creek, with troops under the command of Brigadier General Stand Watie overtook a supply train worth $1.5 million. The supplies were enroute to Fort Gibson, however, the supplies were soon replaced and this battle had little impact to operations.

By 1863, Union forces ran off Confederate troops, making Fort Gibson a center of operations for region. A few battles occurred because of the fort. Two battles at Cabin Creek were fought, as the Confederate troops attempted to capture valuable supplies going to the fort. The first battle on July 1 and 2, 1863, was a failure for the Confederates, as half the forces were delayed to get to the fort because of flooded rivers. The Second Battle of Honey Springs was a Confederate victory, as a wagon train bringing over $1.5 Million worth of supplies was seized on September 19, 1864.

Federal troops maintained a presence at Fort Gibson throughout the century. Between 1866 and 1890 seven large stone buildings and ten frame buildings were constructed for the fort. The fort continued to provide a precences right up until after the land run in 1890, when plans were made to move all troops to Fort Sill.

In 1936, the State of Oklahoma with a grant from the Works Progress Administration, completed a reconstruction of the original stockade, and a number of log buildings just outside the stockade. Details from original plans kept the reconstruction true to the original, with the exception of using better materials, such as pine wood and lime chinking.
Routes: Northern Route

Address if available:
907 N. Garrison Avenue
P.O. Box 457
Fort Gibson, OK USA

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