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Fort McCulloch


Albrt Pike   Fort McCulloch was the main Confederate fortification in southern Indian Territory during the Civil War. Built by troops under the command of Brig. Gen. Albert Pike, Fort McCulloch was positioned on a bluff on the south bank of the Blue River about three miles southwest of Kenefic in present Bryan County, Oklahoma.
   After the southern states seceded from the United States of America Albert Pike negotiated treaties between the Five Civilized Tribes and the Confederate government, promising that the Confederacy would take over the obligations that the Union failed to fulfill and take over defense for the Indian Territory. Pike was appointed commander of the Department of the Indian Territory.
   Pike's Native American troops participated in the Battle of Pea Ridge near Leetown, Arkansas in March, 1862. The battle was a defeat for the Confederate Army, and Pike retreated to the southern Indian Territory. On the Blue River near Nail's Crossing he established Fort McCulloch, named for General Benjamin McCulloch, who fell in battle at Pea Ridge.
   After the Confederate defeat at the battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas, in March 1862, Pike abandoned his headquarters at Fort Davis in the Cherokee Nation. Believing the site was vulnerable to Union attack, Pike removed his troops to the Blue River, some 150 miles to the southwest in the Choctaw Nation. Named for Gen. Benjamin McCulloch who died at Pea Ridge, the post was strategically located along routes leading to Forts Gibson and Washita in Indian Territory, Fort Smith, Arkansas, and supply towns in north Texas. Consisting of earthworks and no permanent buildings, the fort was garrisoned by Texas and Arkansas troops. Although the fort was not abandoned until the war's conclusion, the importance of the outpost began to fade with Pike's resignation in July 1862. Thereafter it served as a haven for refugees and, briefly in 1865, as Gen. Stand Watie's seat of command.


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