ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Fort Towson Road, Oklahoma
Site of the old Military Road
The historic road was built in
1832 and was a major route
for the Choctaw Nation during
the Trail of Tears.
Ouachita National Forest - The Historic Military Road
|Fort Smith-Fort Towson Military Road
A marker and park area along the Talimena Parkway
in eastern Oklahoma mark the site where the historic
Fort Smith-Fort Towson Military Road crossed
Winding Stair Mountain.
An Oklahoma Historic Road
Near the western end of the beautiful
Talimena Drive National Scenic Byway, a
park and interpretive signs mark the point
where the historic Fort Smith to Fort Towson
Military Road crossed Winding Stair Mountain.
The old road, faint traces of which can be
seen in the park, was built by the U.S. Army in
1832. Connecting the frontier outposts of Fort
Smith, Arkansas and Fort Towson,
Oklahoma, the road was constructed by
soldiers who labored in muddy conditions
using hand tools and mule-drawn equipment.
For their labors, they received about 15 cents
a day and the equivalent of half a cup of
The military road was used to move supplies
and men back and forth between the two
important forts. It also became a vital route
on the Trail of Tears when the Choctaw
Nation was moved to this area of Oklahoma.
During the Civil War, Confederate troops
regularly used the road during their
movements in Indian Territory. Fort Towson
was held by the South and troops from that
point and other nearby camps followed the
military road north through the Choctaw
Nation during various raids and expeditions.
One of the most significant of these was the
march north following the Red River
Campaign that resulted in the Confederate
victory at the Battle of Massard Prairie,
Arkansas on July 27, 1864.
The road was also used by evacuees fleeing
south from the intense and brutal fighting that
raged across much of what is now
|Copyright 2008 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.
Many Native American families were forced to
flee their homes and used the road to travel
south to safety.
The historic Fort Smith to Fort Towson Military
Road remained in use by civilians after the
forts were abandoned following the Civil War.
Some portions are still in use today, but
much of the route has been bypassed by
The park is located on the Oklahoma section
of the Talimena Drive. Visitors can see the
trace of the old road and read the historic
marker and several interpretive panels.
There are also picnic tables and other
facilities at the site.
Historic Road Trace
The indentation visible in this
photograph is the trace of the
historic Fort Smith to Fort
Towson Military Road.