Fort Coffee (1834-1838, 1861-1863) - A U.S. Army post established in 1834 in Le Flore County, Oklahoma. Named after Brigadier General John Coffee, 7th U.S. Infantry, war of 1812 commander, who died 7 Jul 1833. Abandoned in 1838. The post was occupied again by Confederates during the U.S. Civil War, captured by Union forces and burned down, finally abandoned in 1863.
Fort Coffee History
A U.S. Army post established on 16 Jun 1834 by the 7th U.S. Infantry at Swallow Rock on the south bank of the Arkansas River in Le Flore County, Oklahoma. The post was established to curb the shipment of whisky up the river into the Indian Territory with troops from the nearby abandoned first Fort Smith (2) in Arkansas. The U.S. Army abandoned the post on 19 Oct 1838 after the second Fort Smith (2) was established nearby.
The abandoned post was selected as the Fort Coffee Academy for Boys by the Choctaw Indian Council in 1842 and operated by Methodist missionaries. The school was discontinued as the U.S. Civil War began and occupied in 1862 by Confederates forces and recaptured by Union forces in October 1863. The Union forces burned the primary buildings and finally abandoned the post later in 1863.
The post location is on private Property in Le Flore County, Oklahoma. The bluff that the post was built upon has been quarried by the the U.S. Corps of Engineers for the nearby dam and locks. The marker that was located on a rural road near the original fort site has been redone at a location on the more travelled Highway 9/271 south of the original post location.
Visited: 22 Oct 2011