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

    Fort Smith

    National Historic Site AR,OK

People at First Fort Smith (1817-1824)

The first Fort Smith was established by Major William Bradford and a company of the U.S. Rifle Regiment in December 1817 to maintain peace between local Osage Indians and emigrating Cherokees.

The 1822 Treaty of Fort Smith, negotiated by Col. Mathew Arbuckle, then the fort's commanding officer, and Indian Commissioner James Miller, reconciled most of the difficulties between the Osage and the Cherokee.

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.