• Rifle Regiment arriving at Belle Point, 1817. Artwork by Michael Haynes

    Fort Smith

    National Historic Site AR,OK

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    Traveling West on I-40? To avoid construction delays, do not take Exit 7 (I-540 S). Stay on I-40 west and take Exit 1 Dora. Stay on Hwy 64D for 6 miles and follow signs to Fort Smith. After crossing over the river, turn right on 4th ST & right on Garland. More »

1853 British Enfield

1853 British Enfield
NPS Photo

1853 British Enfield

Caliber .58

Barrel length: 39"

During the Civil War both the Union and Confederate Armies were in desperate need of good weapons to arm its men. The Springfield Armory was making good rifled muskets at this time but was not able to keep up with the demand. Therefore, the two governments had to look to other countries to obtain more weapons. The British Enfield was an excellent choice and the north and south utilized them throughout the conflict. This weapon used a percussion cap for ignition so it was similar to previous percussion rifles. However, the weapon could be loaded as fast as the earlier smoothbore muskets and more accuracy than earlier rifles due the invention of the minnie ball.

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Did You Know?

foundation remains of first fort overlooking Arkansas River

The U.S. Army selected a spot overlooking the confluence of the Arkansas and Poteau Rivers for the site of a fort. Soldiers from the Rifle Regiment arrived in 1817 and named the site Fort Smith after their commanding officer, Thomas A. Smith.