Fort Arbuckle (Oklahoma)

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Fort Arbuckle was created in 1850 to stop raids by Plains Indian tribes on immigrant trains headed west to California and on settlements of Choctaws and Chickasaws in Indian Territory.[2]

Captain Randolph B. Marcy was assigned the mission of selecting the site and constructing the fort, which would be named to honor the recently deceased General Matthew Arbuckle. The site was inside the boundary of the Chickasaw Nation and on the bank of the Washita River, 6 miles (9.7 km) west and 1 mile (1.6 km) north of the present town of Davis, Oklahoma.[2] The overall size of the post was originally 12 miles (19 km) by 12 miles (19 km), allowing enough room for friendly tribes to camp under the protection of the post.[3]

Marcy and his men constructed a rectangular fort, with barracks on opposite sides and the quartermaster and commissary facilities at opposite ends. Eventually the fort consisted of thirty buildings constructed of hewn logs and stone chimneys.[2]

Major William H. Emory of the First Cavalry was appointed commander of both Fort Washita and Fort Arbuckle in 1858. He found the facilities at the fort inadequate. Many of the buildings were in a poor state of repair; ordnance stores were depleted; and surplus ammunition and gunpowder had to be buried in order to be weather protected. But even before the troops could remedy these faults, they received orders to build another fort, this one named Fort Cobb.[2]

On May 3, 1861, after the Civil War broke out, Major Emory ordered the three forts under his command to be evacuated, with the troops going to Fort Leavenworth. The government of the Chickasaw Nation had already decided to support the Confederacy. Although it was briefly occupied by Confederate troops, no battle occurred in the vicinity, Fort Arbuckle played no part in the war. After the war, the post was regarrisoned by troops from the Sixth Infantry and Tenth Cavalry.

General Philip Sheridan planned to use Fort Arbuckle as a supply depot for his campaigns against the Comanches in 1868. By the following spring, a great store of hay and grain had been brought by water to Fort Gibson and then by wagon to Fort Arbuckle. Sheridan sent many of his horses to the fort to be fed. Four companies of the Tenth Cavalry came to Fort Arbuckle for this purpose.[4]

Fort Arbuckle was strategically obsolete by 1869, when Fort Sill was constructed farther west. Most of the Arbuckle garrison were sent there, after their horses had consumed the remaining supplies. The post was permanently abandoned in 1870. A single stone chimney from one of the only relic remaining of the old fort.[2][4]:32

See also