For more than thirty years during the mid-1800s, soldiers drilled on the large parade ground before you. Flanked by the officer's quarters to the right and the enlisted men's barracks on the left, the parade ground was the center of life at the fort.
"A broad gravel driveway around the grounds encompassed an inner circle and this was the parade ground? In the center? stood a tall flagstaff, from which dizzy height, "Old Glory," flung its protecting folds to the breeze. Morning and evening to the salute of a cannon and the strains of martial music, the flag was raised and lowered."-Mary Rutherford Cravens, recalling life at the second Fort Smith.
When U.S. Army engineers designed the second Fort Smith in 1838, they provided strong fortifications in the form of a large stonewall. Although no military threats to the post ever arose, the wall remained in place until 1897. Today, the location of the wall is outlined by the continuous band of stone behind you. The gateway behind you, Gate A, served as the main gate between the post and the town of Fort Smith.