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Fort Wayne


   Fort Wayne was established 1839 in Indian Territory by Lt. Col. R.B. Mason of the 1st Dragoons. Named for Gen. "Mad" Anthony Wayne, it was intended as a link in the great line of forts protecting the American West. Originally known as Camp Illinois, Fort Wayne supplanted Fort Coffee, and was situated on the south side of the Illinois River near or at present Watts, in Adair County, Oklahoma. In July 1840 Lt. Col. Richard B. Mason and his First Dragoons relocated Fort Wayne along Spavinaw Creek in present Delaware County, Oklahoma, near Maysville, Arkansas. The purpose of Fort Wayne was to protect a military road connecting frontier fortifications and to ease the fear of Cherokee depredations in Arkansas. The army abandoned the fort in 1842 due to the high incidence of malaria suffered by soldiers assigned there, and turned it over to the Cherokee Nation.
   At the beginning of the Civil War, Stand Watie took over the fort and organized the Cherokee Mounted Rifles. The Union met the Confederates near here in 1862 for the Battle of Old Fort Wayne. Brigadier General James G. Blunt and his troops attacked Colonel Douglas H. Cooper and his Confederate command on Beatties Prairie near Old Fort Wayne at 7:00 am on October 22, 1862.
   The Confederates put up stiff resistance for a half hour, but overwhelming numbers forced them to retire from the field in haste, leaving artillery and equipage behind.
   This was a setback in the 1862 Confederate offensive that extended from the tidewater in the east to the plains of the Indian Territory of the west.


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