Road Construction I-540
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 »
Bad Tempered Buffalo Affair
Original artwork by Michael Haynes
When the first Fort Smith was founded at Belle Point on Christmas Day 1817, its purpose was to keep the peace between the native Osage Indians and the Cherokees moving into the area. A cycle of raids and skirmishes, fueled primarily by disputes over hunting rights, had resulted in the deaths of numerous Osages and Cherokees over the years. The function of the officers at Fort Smith was to mediate the differences between the two tribes, not engage in a military campaign to subdue the fighting. So the army post was not the object of attacks unless it happened to obstruct either a Cherokee or Osage campaign. This is what caused the threat on April 9, 1821.
References: Fort Smith: Little Gibraltar on the Arkansas by Edwin C. Bearss and Arrell Gibson; The Osage by Willard H. Rollins.
This sketch is part of a series, "Fort Smith Minutes," originally developed by the park staff to provide one minute long public service announcements for local radio stations. These sketches provide a light and entertaining glimpse into the complex history of Fort Smith.
Did You Know?
The soldiers who came to Fort Smith in 1817 were still using some 18th century technology and drill. The cannon was discharged using a lindstock and slowmatch to ignite the primer, which originally was loose powder or a turkey quill filled with powder.