Fort Smith National Historic Site

The uniforms of soldiers involved in Fort Smith's history. June 11, 2011.

One of the first places we visited on our recent trip west was Fort Smith National Historic Site in Arkansas.  During our visit we  were fortunate to be able to hear a presentation by a park ranger on the history of Fort Smith.  The ranger was supported by the re-enactors wearing the uniforms of soldiers during the different periods of the fort’s history.

Fort Smith was established in December, 1817, by a company of the U. S. Rifle Regiment (the soldier on the extreme left in the photo above).  The fort was established to maintain peace between the Osage and Cherokee Indians.  The original fort was abandoned in 1824.

In the 1830s Fort Smith became a supply depot for Indians and soldiers (next two soldiers in white) moving westward along “The Trail of Tears”.  In 1838 a new Fort Smith was constructed near the site of the first.   This was a masonry fort, but it was also used primarily as a supply depot.

Confederates (the soldier in butternut in the middle of the group above) took possession of Fort Smith when Arkansas seceded in April, 1861, but was recaptured by Union troops (next two soldiers) on September 1, 1863.

In 1872 the Federal Court for the Western District of Arkansas took over the fort.  The barracks were modified to serve as a courthouse and jail.  During this time the fort was a base for U. S. Marshals (the man on the extreme right).

The re-enactors described the uniforms they were wearing and gave a firing demonstration of their weapons.  The early muskets certainly made for an interesting show.

Firing 1830-era muskets. June 11, 2011.

This gives new meaning to 'the smoke of battle'.

Betsy at a portion of the wall of the second fort. June 11, 2011.

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11 Responses to “Fort Smith National Historic Site”

  1. Sandra Says:

    this is one place i would really like to see and would love the reenactors.

  2. Kathy Says:

    Re-enactors always seem to have so much fun!

  3. Sylvia Kirkwood Says:

    I do so enjoy re-enactors! They do make the past history come alive! Great captures, George, and it does look as though you and Betsy had such a great trip. Always enjoy the tours you take us on! Hope you have a wonderful day! Enjoy!


  4. Busy Bee Suz Says:

    What a cool place to visit…so much history!!!!

  5. Ginny Hartzler Says:

    Gosh, you even got the smoke coming out of the muskets!! And that’s a really cute picture of Betsy!

  6. twoladiescreditservices Says:

    I guess I’m going to have to make it down to Ft. Smith – haven’t known about this and I’m only an hour away. 🙂

  7. dayphoto Says:

    That is a place I want to see…for sure! So many historical sites just waiting for me. Thanks for this post.


  8. Neal Says:

    That sounds like an interesting place. I think I’ve been by it but didn’t have the time to stop.

  9. Loren Says:

    Oh my! This looks like a place my husband and Son would LOVE!! So much to learn in places like these! Thank you for sharing! 🙂

  10. Karin Says:

    Those are such fun and educational places to visit! Wonderful history re-enacting!

  11. sartenada Says:

    Oh, how interesting. I have read many books by Zane Grey and in his books he described some scenes like this. Now I had a possibility to take a look how they were in real life. Thank You.

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