rison avenue to above the mouth of the Poteau, on which there
were ferns and lichens, making it a spot of beauty. From an
account of the expedition from Pittsburg to the Rocky Moun-
tains performed in the years 1819 and 1820 by order of J. C.
Calhoun, secretary of war, under the command of Maj. Stephen
H. Long, compiled by Edwin James, botanist and geologist for
the expedition (volume 2, page 260 et seq.), we learn that the
site was selected by Major Long in the fall of 1817 and that
Maj. William Bradford established a military post, named Belle
Point. In October or November it was garrisoned by one com-
'Clara B. Eno, though a native of Van Buren, received her education
in Connecticut and at Morris. Female Institute, Morristown, New Jersey.
When she was grown she returned to Arkansas and began to teach school
in 1876. She taught at Van Buren, Conway and Clarksville until 1894.
She has been an active member of the Woman's Literary Club and Village
Improvement Club of Van Buren. She is a member of the Mary Percival
Chapter, D. A. K., tracing her ancestry back to four Revolutionary soldiers.
She is entitled to membership in the Colonial Dames. She is an active
member of the Episcopal Church, of the Arkansas Historical Association
and of the Arkansas History Commission. — Editor.
358 Arkansas Historical Association
pany of riflemen under his command.- This company of hardy
riflemen came from old Fort Adams on the Mississippi, at
Ellis Cliff, where they were stationed after the battle of New
The site of the post is thus described in Major Long's report
to Brig. Gen. Thomas A. Smith, commanding the ninth military
department, dated May 16, 1818:
"This place, Belle Point, is situated in north latitude 35 degrees
23 minutes 12 seconds, at the junction of the Poteau River, four hundred
and sixty miles from the mouth of the Arkansas, pursuing its meander-
ings, and about twenty miles above the Osage boundary line.
' ' The situation selected for the garrison is secure and healthy, and
affords a complete command of the rivers above mentioned. Its elevation
is about thirty feet above the water, from which it is accessible by .an
easy ascent. The point is supported upon a basis of stratified sandstone,
well adapted for building, and is surrounded by woodland, affording an
abundance of excellent timber. The soil of the adjacent country is ex-
uberant, producing corn, cotton, etc., in great perfection. * * *
'*Tn selecting the position a particular regard has been paid to your
instructions, which required a site as near to the point where the Osage
boundarj' line strikes the Arkansas as circumstances would permit."
Major Long's report was forwarded by General Smith to
the adjutant and inspector general of the army, under date of
]\Iay 16, 1818, with the following remark:
"The season being so far advanced at the time of Major Bradford's
arrival at the point fixed on for the occupancy of his command, he
was unable to do more than erect huts for his men last season. It is,
however, to be presumed that he has by this time made considerable
progress in the work, but of this I have not been informed. ' '*
The buildings erected were built of heavy hewed logs form-
ing two sides of a hollow square terminated by strong block-
houses at opposite angles and fronting the river. The name
of the post was changed from Belle Point to Fort Smith Decem-
ber, 1818, in honor of General Smith, as it was the custom to
name the forts after a general. At this time the post was in
the Territory of Missouri, Arkansas Territory not being formed
until July 4, 1819.
The post was continuously occupied until April, 1824, when
-The Adjutant General, 1910. Letter.
^W. J. Weaver's memories of Old Fort Smith, in Fort Smith Elevator,
September 16, 1906.
*Col. Ben Duval's Historical Address, 1876.
Some Historic Landmarks in Arkansas 359
the troops were removed to Fort Coffee. During this time com-
pany A, rifle regiment, under command of Bvt. Maj. William
A. Bradford from November, 1817, to February, 1822, companies
B, C, G, H, K, seventh infantry, with Col. Matthew Arbuckle,
Maj. A. E. Woolley and Capt. William Davenport, were sta-
tioned here from February, 1822, to April, 1824, when the post
was abandoned. Col. Matthew Arbuckle was in command three
different times during that period.
When the treaty with the Choctaws was made in 1825 the
post was found to be in the Choctaw country. The treaty read-
ing "one hundred paces east of Fort Smith and then running
due south to Red River." The land om which the post was
located is between the mouth of the Poteau and Iron Mountain
tracks. The post burying ground is now included in the north-
east corner of the national cemetery-
Company C of the seventh infantry, commanded by Capt.
John Stuart, was stationed here from March 22, 1833, to June,
1834. After nine years of vacancy the buildings could not
have been in very good condition, but whether Captain Stuart's
troops occupied them or built new ones is not known.
As the Indians were of a friendly disposition, we can imag-
ine them coming to the post with their handiwork, game and
berries, receiving in exchange different commodities. The post
was again vacated June 16, 1834, and was not occupied until
July 27, 1838, when Captain Bonneville, in command of com-
pany F, seventh infantry, arrived.
About this time, 1838, it was decided to purchase land
within the borders of Arkansas for a substantial fort. Several
tracts of land were offered the government, among them being
Mazzard Bluff, eight miles from Fort Smith, owned by Dr.
Joseph Bailey, a surgeon in the army; one known as Lee's
Creek Bluff, situated on the north side of the river between
Fort Smith and Van Buren and owned by Dr. Jonathan McGee ;
and the land south of the Arkansas River, owned by Capt. John
Each brought all the influence they could to bear on their
tract. Dr. McGee went to Washington in the interest of his,
but on account of the severe illness of his wife, returned home
before the question was settled, leaving it in the hands of one
360 Arkansas Historical Association
of the senators. The United States government appointed com-
missioners to decide on the site; Captain Bonneville, being one
of them, went to Washin^on to make the report. As there had
been an agreement between Captain Bonneville and Capt. John
Rogers whereby the former would receive benefit, he reported
in favor of the land owned by Rogers. The government pur-
chased 300 acres from him on the south side of Rogers avenue.
The fort buildings were placed on that portion nearest the
river, the rest of the land with the exception of the national
cemetery was known as the reserve.
After the fort was abolished in 1871 the land was turned
over to the interior department, and in 1884 Judge J. H. Rogers,
then congressman from that district, had a bill passed in con-
gress that the land be sold for the benefit of the public schools
of the city.
When Captain Belknap with two companies of third infan-
try arrived in October, 1838, he selected for temporary quarters,
as the old fort was to be demolished, the sixteenth section of
township 8 north, of range 32 west, being the land now known
as Fitzgerald Addition and on part of which the Roman Catho-
lics have their buildings, the land having been bought by Rt.
Rev. Andrew Byrne. The camp was known as Cantonment
Belknap. Log houses were built for the officers and soldiers
and furnished with home-made furniture.
The campus was on the south side of the road, surrounded
by rows of huts with mud stick chimneys at one end and a door
at the other. The young officers' quarters were at the southwest
corner; the adjutant's quarters were where the priest's house
now stands; the log cabin of the sutler was on Towson avenue,
but then called Texas road.^ The commanding officer's quarters
were also of logs, and situated on the north side of the road.
This was the building occupied by Gen. Zachary Taylor while
commander of the second military department from 1841 or
1842 until 1844,"' when he was transferred with headquarters
at Baton Rouge. The old chimney is all that remains of the
old building. The Roman Catholics have converted it into a
shrine to the Virgin Mary.
"Memories of Old Fort Smith, by Mr. Weaver.
"Arkansas Intelligencer, June 7, 1844.
Some Historic Landmarks in Arkansas 361
General Taylor's wife and daughter were with him.
The story that Miss Taylor and Jefferson Davis eloped from
here is incorrect, as she was visiting at the home of an uncle
when married. It is said that General Taylor was held in high
respect and awe by the Indians, his great personal character
here, as elsewhere, standing out in bold relief. The troops re-
mained here until about 1845, when they were removed to their
We must now retrace our steps to the beginning of the new
fort. Work was begun in 1838 or 1839; the plans used are
said to be those of Vaubanne, the great military engineer of
France. The ground work of the walls was in shape of an
irregular pentagon with a cannon bastion at each angle of the
wall.' The buildings were to be of stone and brick. The lovely
bluff on the river was turned into a quarry to furnish the rock
of which the great walls and foundations were to be built.
There was left no trace of beautiful Belle Point, and those of
this generation must draw on their imagination to see it as it
was when named. All the gate posts were of large and neatly
chiseled stones, the cannon bastions also of cut stone. The two
stone buildings now standing are evidences of the substantial
The work on the fort progressed very slowly. During the
session of the Arkansas legislature of 1842 and 1843 a resolution
was sent to the war department, asking that the work be com-
pleted so as to protect the western frontier. This resolution
was presented to the senate by Governor Fulton. One hundred
and twenty thousand dollars had already been spent, but the
memorial asked that twenty or thirty thousand more be appro-
priated for its completion, as they desired its protection not
so much from the Indians, except the Ross and Ridge parties,
as the lawless element that is always found on the frontier.
In September, 1845, Captain Alexander, quartermaster, had
charge of the work, trying to complete it. "The wall was com-
pleted to its height on the south side and to the eastern gate,
with portholes for the musketry about four feet apart; the re-
mainder of the walls w^ere built up about twelve feet high. "^
'W. J. Weaver, Memories of Old Fort Smith.
"Memories of Old Fort Smith, by W. .T. Weaver.
362 Arkansas Historical Association
General Taylor was not in favor of the fort being built;
he especially disapproved of spending so much money on the
walls. This fact may account for the length of time it was in
being built. General Taylor no doubt used his influence with
the war department against spending so much money; he felt
he could keep peace on the border without such an expensive
fort, as there were no hostile tribes near. There were six build-
ings, two officers' quarters, one soldiers' quarters, one guard-
house, one commissary, one quartermasters'. , The first three
were large, two-story brick buildings with handsome brick col-
umns, wuth both upper and lower porches on the east and west
sides, and with large, roomy basements for kitchens. Two build-
ings were on the west side of the campus and occupied by the
officers and their families. These were destroyed during th'?
Civil War. The soldiers' quarters, a building located on the
east side, had room for four companies, kitchen in the basement
and laundry room in the large attic. This building burned in
1849; the following account is taken from the Arkansas Intelli-
gencer, April 14, 1849 :
"On Monday about 2 o'clock the large brick building known as the
soldiers' quarters in the garrison was discovered to be on fire in the upper
story of the left wing. The citizens and a number of California emigrants
assisted in carrying out and saving the furniture and other articles from
the devouring elements. The building was very large an€l spacious, ele-
gantly built and covered with slate, and will prove a serious loss to the
troops. Loss from twenty to thirty thousand. ' '
In the jMasonic Temple hangs an oil painting by Hook,
showing the brick buildings and part of the wall. It was pre-
sented to the order by JNIrs. J. R. Kennedy.
A one-story building was afterward erected for the soldiers,
which, after the fort was abandoned, was used by the United
States court and is now (1910), with some additions, the United
States jail. The commissary and quartermasters' buildings were
of stone, and formed part of the wall. These two buildings are
still standing. One is known as the "Old Commissary" and is
located just back from Garrison avenue, near the Frisco station.
During the Civil War a number of ladies were prisoners here
until they could be sent south. The old quartermaster building
is located between the tracks of the Frisco and the Iron ^loun-
tain. The club women of Fort Smith are asking the city that
Sovie Historic Landmarks m Arka)isas 363
the "Old Commissary" be given to them for a museum where
historical records can be kept.
Much life was given to the fort by those going to the Mexi-
can War, also by the "forty-niners" on their way to the Cali-
fornia gold fields, as Fort Smith was on one of the direct routes
to Santa Fe. There being no hostile Indians near, the ofHcers
must have had an easy time.
The troops under Capt. C. C. Sibley were withdrawn July
2, 1850, but the same company returned March 14, 1851. From
that time on it was occupied sometime by infantry and sometime
by cavalry until 1861, when Captain Sturgis, in command of
two companies of cavalry, that of his own and that of Stanley's,
abandoned it on the approach of the Confederates. The Con-
federates, with Hindman in command, were there until Sep-
tember, 1863. It was reoceupied by Union volunteer troops from
various states from September 1, 1863, to May 9, 1866, when
regular troops took their place and remained there until the
post was abandoned in 1871.
The land on which the fort buildings stood is now dotted
with business houses and factories. An appropriate monument
or marker should be placed at each of the three points occupied
by the troops.
The following is taken from the records of the war depart-
Occupied by Troops.
October or November, 1817, to April, 1824.
Reoceupied March 22, 1833.
Troops withdrawn June 16, 1834.
Reoceupied July 27, 1838.
Troops withdrawn July 2, 1850.
Reoceupied March 14, 1851.
Troops withdrawn March 1, 1858.
Reoceupied December 18, 1858.
Troops withdrawn June 10, 1859.
Reoceupied September 19, 1860.
Troops withdrawn April 23, 1861.
Reoceupied September 1, 1863.
Troops withdrawn September, 1871.
364 Arkansas Historical Association
Commanders of the Post.
Maj. William Bradford, rifle regiment, November, 1817, to
Col. Matthew Arbuckle, seventh infantry, February, 1822,
to March, 1822.
Maj. A. R. Woolley, seventh infantry, March, 1822, to June,
Col. Matthew Arbuckle, seventh infantry, June, 1822, to
Capt. William Davenport, seventh infantry, January, 1823,
to May, 1823.
Col. Matthew Arbuckle, seventh infantry, May, 1823, to
Capt. John Stuart, seventh infantry, ]\Iarch 22, 1833, to
June 16, 1834.
Capt. B. L. E. Bonneville, seventh infantry, July 27, 1838,
to October 24, 1838.
Capt. W. G. Belknap, third infantry, October 24, 1838, to
September 25, 1840.
Capt. W. W. Lear, fourth infantry, September 25, 1840,
to September 17, 1842.
Capt. William Hofifman, sixth infantry, September 17, 1842,
to May 15, 1843.
Capt. J. D. Searight, sixth infantry, ]\Iay 15, 1843, to No-
vember 16, 1843.
Capt. William Hoffman, sixth infantry, November 16, 1843,
to August 30, 1845.
Maj. B. L. E. Bonneville, sixth infantry, August 30, 1845,
to December 21, 1845.
Capt. William Hoffman, sixth infantry, December 21, 1845,
to January 4, 1846.
Maj. B. L. E. Bonneville, sixth infantry, January 15, 1846,
to July 13, 1846.
Capt. E. B. Alexander, A. Q. M., July 13, 1846, to October
Lieut. I. W. T. Cjardinier, first dragoons, October 13, 1846.
to May 10, 1847.
Lieut. F. F. Flint, sixth infantry, ]May 10, 1847, to Novem-
ber 3, 1848.
Some Historic Landmarks in Arkansas 365
Capt. C. C. Sibley, fifth infantry, November 3, 1848, to
July 2, 1850.
Capt. C. C. Sibley, fifth infantry, March 14, 1851, to June
Capt. R. C. Gatlin, seventh infantry, June 7, 1851, to May
Col. Henry Wilson, seventh infantry, May 24, 1852, to
October 14, 1852.
Maj. George Andrews, seventh infantry, October 14, 1852,
to May 13, 1853.
Col. Henry Wilson, seventh infantry. May 13, 1853, to
July 18, 1853.
Capt. H. J. Hunt, second artillery, July 18, 1853, to August
Capt. T. H. Holmes, seventh infantry, August 7, 1853, to
October 1, 1853.
Lieut. Franklin Gardner, seventh infantry, October 1, 1853,
to November 26, 1853.
Col. Henry Wilson, seventh infantry, November 26, 1853,
to May 5, 1855.
Lieut. J. H. Potter, seventh infantry. May 5, 1855, to May
Capt. S. G. French, A. Q. M., May 22, 1855, to December
Capt. R. C. Gatlin, seventh infantry, December 8, 1855,
to January 27, 1856.
Maj. Isaac Lynde, seventh infantry, January 27, 1856, to
March 3, 1856.
Capt. R. C. Gatlin, seventh infantry, March 3, 1856, to
December 19, 1856.
Maj. Isaac Lynde, seventh infantry, December 19, 1856, to
June 23, 1857.
Capt. R. C. Gatlin, seventh infantry, June 23, 1857, to
August 1, 1857.
Capt. Lafayette McLaws, seventh infantry, August 11, 1857,
to September 11, 1857.
Capt. S. G. Simmons, seventh infantry, September 11, 1857,
to February 8, 1858.
Lieut. C. J. Brooks, seventh infantry, February 8, 1858,
to March 1, 1858.
366 Arkansas Historical Association
Capt. D. D. Sacket, first calaviy, December 18, 1858, to
June 24, 1859.
Capt. W. W. Burns, commissary sutler, June 24, 1859, to
July 21, 1859.
Lieut. E. W. Crittenden, first cavalry, July 21, 1859, to
Capt. S. D. Sturgis, first cavlary, September 19, 1860, to
April 23, 1861.
Col. William F. Cloud, first Kansas cavalry, September 1,
1863, to December 1, 1863.
Col. John Edwards, eighteenth Iowa infantry, December 1,
1863, to March 21, 1864.
Lieut. Col. A. W. Bishop, first Arkansas cavalry, jMarch 21,
1864, to May 19, 1864.
Col. W. R. Judson, sixth Kansas, ]\Iay 19, 1864, to January
Lieut. Col. J. B. Wheeler, thirteenth Kansas infantry, Jan-
uary 3, 1865, to February 1, 1865.
Brig. Gen. Cyrus Bussey, United States volunteers, Feb-
ruary 1, 1865, to September, 1865.
Col. M. M. Trumbull, ninth Iowa cavalry, September, 1865,
to February, 1866.
Col. Paul Harwood, fifty-severth U. S. C. T., February,
1866, to May 9, 1866.
Capt. R. W. Barnard, nineteenth United States infantry,
May 9, 1866, to September, 1866.
Capt. S. S. Culbertson, nineteenth United States infantry,
September, 1866, to November 13, 1866.
Capt. William J. Lyster, nineteenth United States infantry,
November 13, 1866, to January 14, 1867.
Capt. James B. Mulligan, nineteenth United States infantry,
January 14, 1867, to February 25, 1867.
Col. DeLancy Floyd Jones, nineteenth United States infan-
try, February 25, 1867, to October 22, 1867.
Lieut. Col. Pinckney Lugenbeel, nineteenth United States
infantry, October 22, 1867, to April, 1869.
Capt. John J. Upham, sixth United States infantrv,. April
26, 1869, to June 10, 1869.
Some Historic Landmarks in Arkansas 367
Capt. Montgomery Bryant, sixth United States infantry,
June 10, 1869, to November 10, 1870.
First Lieut. F. W. Thibaut, sixth United States infantry,
November 10, 1870, to January 1, 1871.
Capt. Montgomery Bryant, sixth United States infantry,
January 1, 1871, to July 18, 1871.
First Lieut. F. W. Thibaut, sixth United States infantry,
July 18, 1871, to September, 1871.
Garrison of Post.
Company of rifle regiment, November, 1817, to February,
Companies B. C, G, H and K, seventh infantry, February,
1822, to April, 1824.
Company C, seventh infantry, March 22, 1833, to June 16,
Company F, seventh infantry, July 27, 1838, to Janu^y
Companies B and 11. third infantry, October 24, 1838, to
September 25, 1840.
Company D, third infantry, December 28, 1839, to July,
Companies F and K, third infantry, December 28, 1839,
to September 25, 1840.
Company E, fourth infantry, September 25, 1840, to Sep-
tember 19, 1842.
Companies D and F, sixth infantry, September 17, 1842,
to July 13, 1846.
Company D, first dragoons, August 10, 1846, to May 10,
1847. ' ' ^
Detachments. May 10, 1847, to October 31, 1848.
Company B, fifth infantry, October 31, 1848, to May 6, 1850.
Company E, fifth infantry, October 31, 1848, to July 2, 1850.
Company E, fifth infantry, March 14, 1851, to June 7, 1851.
Company F, seventh infantry, May 14, 1851, to May 8, 1854.
Company M, second artillery, July 9, 1853, to August 16,
Detachment, seventh infantry, ]\Iay 8, 1854, to December
368 Arkansas Historical Association
Companies B and F, seventh infantry, December 8, 1855,
to August 1, 1857.
Companies D and H, seventh infantry, August 11, 1857,
to February 8, 1858.
Detachment, seventh infantry, February 8, 1858, to March
Companies A and B, first cavalry, December 18, 1858, to
June 10, 1859:
Detachment, first cavalry, June 10, 1859, to September,
Company E, second artillery, September 30, 1860, to Oc-
tober 3, 1860.
Company F, second artillery, September 30, 1860, to Oc-
tober 15, 1860.
Companies D and E, first cavalry, September 19, 1860, to
April 23, 1861.
Volunteer troops of various states, September 1, 1863, to
May 9, 1866.
Company F, third battery, nineteenth infantry. May 9,
1866, to October, 1866.
Company G, second battery, nineteenth infantry, June,
1866, to November, 1866.
Company B, nineteenth infantry, November 13, 1866, to
May 1, 1867.
Company F, nineteenth infantry, January 14. 1867, to
Company H, nineteenth infantry, October 9, 1867, to April,
Company A, nineteenth infantry, October 15, 1867, to
Company E, nineteenth infantry, December 4, 1867, to
Company G, nineteenth infantry, December 4, 1867, to
Company K, nineteenth infantry, December 24, 1867, to
Company I, sixth infantry, April 26, 1869, to January, 1870.
Company K, sixth infantry, April 26, 1869, to January,
Some Historic Landmarks in Arkansas 369
Company D, sixth infantry, June 9, 1869, to July 18, 1871.
Detachment company D, sixth infantry, July 18, 1871, to
E. D. TowNSEND, Adjutant General."
Adjutant general's office, Washington, D. C, August 7,
We find among the commanders the names of several who
became identified with this part of the country — Col. Matthew
Arbuckle, Maj. B. L. E. Bonneville and Capt. R. C. Gatlin.
Lieut, (afterward Gen.) Hancock was there for a while. Among
others was Dr. Joseph Bailey, whose descendants with those of
others connected with the early history of the fort are still
Among other historical landmarks in Sebastian County are
the three military roads, the old Presbyterian Church and Major
The Old Fort on Cane Hill.
When the early settlers came to Cane Hill in Washington
County they found the remains of an old fort, which was evi-
dently the work of civilized men and not of savages.
This fort was built around some spring near the center
of Cane Hill, on what is kno^^na as the White INIcClellan place,
now owned by Mr. John McClellan. A writer" in 1859 says :
"A portion of the stone wall still exists, but the greater part has
long sines been demolished. When I first visited that locality in 1832
two squares of wall were standing. The work was of rough but substantial
masonry, about a half acre, including several springs, was enclosed; huge
stone basins, curiously carved and of various shapes and dimensions, were
found there and in the vicinity by the early settlers.
' ' Daniel Boone, the great pioneer, accompanied by the late Governor
Baggs of Missouri, were the first white men who climbed that hill. They
visited it in 1804 or 1805 and named the hill 'Black Hill.' The Indians
then residing there told them that as far back as their tradition reached,