Forgotten Forts Series - Fort Washita (OK)

NFB22

Sergeant Major
Joined
Jun 21, 2012
Location
Louisville, KY
Fort Washita is a ruined stone post located near the city of Durant, Oklahoma. The post was originally established in 1842 by Captain George Alexander Hamilton Blake. Blake would later go on to serve in the Union Army with distinction. For his actions at Gettysburg he was brevetted a Brig. General and later in his career a Major General. Fort Washita took on the open post look that was common to most western military posts of the time. The fort was square in nature with the stone buildings surrounding a central parade ground. The post was completed in 1849 and housed various stone buildings including multiple barracks for both officers and enlisted troops, a commissary, hospital, headquarters building and various other structures.
Fort Washita 1.jpg

The fort, originally established to maintain order among the various indian tribes of the region was used as a staging area for troops during the Mexican-American War and was garrisoned continuously by the U.S. Army up until the outbreak of the American Civil War. Various future ACW generals served at the post including Henry Hunt, Braxton Bragg, and Daniel Ruggles.
Fort Washita 2.jpg

With the outbreak of the American Civil War the post was under the command of then Colonel William Emory. Col Emory, who would go on to become a Maj General with the Union Army, quickly recognizing the Confederate threat withdrew his troops from Fort Washita to Fort Leavenworth in the Spring of 1861. Confederate troops quickly took over the abandoned post and used it as a headquarters for operations in the Indiana Territory as well as a key supply depot and hospital in the region. Confederate troops from Fort Washita under the command of Brig. General Douglas Cooper took part at the Battle of Honey Springs on July 17, 1863. Other commanders of Fort Washita during the war included Albert Pike and Stand Watie. Fort Washita never fired a shot in anger during the war and in 1865 most of the post burnt with fires thought to be started by Confederate troops before abandoning the post. The U.S. Army would never again garrison Fort Washita after the war.
Fort Washita 5.jpg

The post was private property until 1962 when the site was purchased by the Oklahoma Historical Society. The fort was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1966 and today is operated as the Fort Washita State Park under the direction of the state of Oklahoma. The site houses ruins of the enlisted and officers barracks, commissary, guardhouse, hospital and various other structures. There is also a Confederate cemetery on site. A visitors center/museum has also been established in the old surgeon's quarters. Various structures have been reconstructed over time including the East BEQ and blacksmith shop. Unfortunately just a few years ago 3 teenagers burnt the barracks to the ground after a night of drinking. The site is open 7 days a week free of charge and is also home to various living history weekends throughout the year.

http://www.fortwiki.com/Fort_Washita
http://www.okhistory.org/sites/fortwashita?full

Also be sure to check out all other "Forgotten Forts" in the Forgotten Fort Series Index (Link Below)
http://www.civilwartalk.com/threads/forgotten-forts-series-index.80901/
 

Perry Cuskey

Private
Joined
Jan 20, 2013
Location
Oklahoma
Nice post and pictures, Nate. I haven't been down to Fort Washita in several years, but it's a nice park they have down there. Pretty area, and worth a visit. A shame about the barracks though.

Perry
 

Georgia Sixth

Sergeant Major
Joined
Dec 14, 2011
Location
Texas
Thanks for sharing the pics and the background on the fort. I believe it also served as a destination for civilian refugees of the southern persuasion as they fled the guerilla war areas of Missouri, NW Arkansas and Indian Territory for the safety of the Red River valley.
 

NFB22

Sergeant Major
Joined
Jun 21, 2012
Location
Louisville, KY
Thanks for sharing the pics and the background on the fort. I believe it also served as a destination for civilian refugees of the southern persuasion as they fled the guerilla war areas of Missouri, NW Arkansas and Indian Territory for the safety of the Red River valley.

I'm sure it did, I know Fort Gibson to the north served as a type of refugee camp to pro-Union civilians looking for protection.
 
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