Home |  PublicationsEncyclopedia |  Fort McCulloch

The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture

"Diagram of Gen'l Pike's Fortifications" at Boggy Depot [not to scale and not geographically accurate], sketch by unknown Confederate officer, 1862. North is at top of map.
(image courtesy of the National Archives, Record Group 109, Confederate Records, maps, 70653039).


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 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 facility was garrisoned by Texas and Arkansas troops. Although the outpost was not abandoned until the war's conclusion, its importance 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. The site of Fort McCulloch was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971 (NR 71000659).

Jon D. May


William P. Corbett, "Confederate Strongholds in Indian Territory: Forts Davis and McCulloch," in Early Military Forts and Posts in Oklahoma, ed. Odie B. Faulk, Kenny A. Franks, and Paul F. Lambert (Oklahoma City: Oklahoma Historical Society, 1978).

Edward Everett Dale and Gaston Litton, Cherokee Cavaliers: Forty Years of Cherokee History as Told in the Correspondence of the Ridge-Watie-Boudinot Family (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1939).

W. B. Morrison, "Fort McCulloch," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 4 (September 1926).

Muriel H. Wright and LeRoy H. Fischer, "Civil War Sites in Oklahoma," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 44 (Summer 1966).

Browse By Topic

Civil War Era




The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Jon D. May, “Fort McCulloch,” The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry?entry=FO036.

Copyright and Terms of Use

No part of this site may be construed as in the public domain.

Copyright to all articles and other content in the online and print versions of The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History is held by the Oklahoma Historical Society (OHS). This includes individual articles (copyright to OHS by author assignment) and corporately (as a complete body of work), including web design, graphics, searching functions, and listing/browsing methods. Copyright to all of these materials is protected under United States and International law.

Users agree not to download, copy, modify, sell, lease, rent, reprint, or otherwise distribute these materials, or to link to these materials on another web site, without authorization of the Oklahoma Historical Society. Individual users must determine if their use of the Materials falls under United States copyright law's "Fair Use" guidelines and does not infringe on the proprietary rights of the Oklahoma Historical Society as the legal copyright holder of The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and part or in whole.