Fort Butler (1)

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Fort Butler (1) (1837-1838) - A U.S. Army post established in 1837 during the Cherokee Removal by General Winfield Scott in Cherokee County, North Carolina. Named for Benjamin F. Butler, U.S. Secretary of War. Abandoned in 1838.


Established in 1837 as one of the temporary forts used as gathering or transit points for the roundup of Cherokee Indians headed for the Indian Territory (Oklahoma). General Winfield Scott was given the task of removing the Cherokee from their ancestral lands to the new Indian Territory and he assembled a force of regular U.S. troops and State Militia troops to forcibly eject the Cherokee.

A series of temporary forts were constructed as gathering and transit points for the Cherokee who were situated in internment camps around the larger forts in the summer and fall of 1838. The Cherokee were assembled into twelve groups led by their selected leaders and marched to the Indian Territory. The last of the Cherokee left the internment camps in December of 1838. The removal came to be known by the Cherokee as the "Trail of Tears" because the disease ridden camps caused many deaths and the trail hardships took an additional toll.

Fort Butler was the designated headquarters of the Eastern Division of the removal force. The post was expanded to accommodate additional regular U.S. troops fresh from the Second Seminole War in Florida. The Second Seminole War served as prelude to the Cherokee Removal in that it removed some 4,000 Seminole Indians to the same Indian Territory (Oklahoma). The brutality of the Second Seminole War stiffened the resolve of the proponents of the removal. Fort Butler served as a transit point during the removal and some 3,000 Cherokee prisoners passed through the post on the way to Fort Cass and the internment camps there.

Current Status

Murphy, Cherokee County, North Carolina

Location: Murphy, Cherokee County, North Carolina.

Maps & Images

Lat: 35.0842 Long: -84.0408

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