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

    Fort Smith

    National Historic Site AR,OK

People of Second Fort Smith (1838-1871)

Steamboat on Arkansas River with fort in background

Fort Smith during Confederate occupation

Fort Smith NHS Collection

In 1838, fourteen years after the first fort was closed, a new garrison was built at Fort Smith. A massive defensive fort was never needed, and Fort Smith eventually served as a supply depot. After the Civil War, the fort had served its usefulness and was ordered closed in 1871.

Did You Know?

Interior of jail cell with box for prisoners to visit with their lawyers

The conditions at the federal jail at Fort Smith were so horrible that it received the nickname "Hell on the Border." Up to 50 men were crowded into one large cell with limited ventilation and poor sanitary conditions.