George Fine Papers

George Fine was born in Mississippi in 1835, but lived with his family in Washington County, Arkansas until he joined the Confederate Army. His regiment, the 19th (Dawson’s) Arkansas Infantry, was stationed at Fort McCulloch in the Indian Territory. 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.1 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, Fort McCulloch was garrisoned by Texas and Arkansas troops. Although the fort was not abandoned until the war’s conclusion, the importance of the outpost began to fade with Pike’s initial resignation in July 1862.

Fine was stationed at the fort just one month prior to Pike’s July resignation and commented on the dilapidated and poor condition at the fort. “We have very bad water but they are digging wells – And I hope it will be better in a short time – There is Some sickness here though not more than Could be expected Considering the Number of men and the water they have to drink – Gen’l [Albert] Pike’s fortifications (or entrenchments) more properly are getting along slowly – He has Commenced here as though he intended to spend the remander of his days here – The Gen’l is not very highly esteemed by his Soldiers.”2

Soldiers unfortunately had no choice in where they were located and who they had to serve under and, as Fine pointed out, soon men would not have a choice of whether or not they wanted to join the military with the enacting of the Conscription Law of 1862. The Conscription Law was the first type of draft in U.S. history, which required able bodied men between 18 and 35 years old to join the Confederate Army.3

While Fine’s situation in the Indian Territory was bleak, he did feel optimistic about how the Confederacy was performing as a whole. “The Battle at Richmond is is Confirmed [P.G.T.] Beauregard whipped the Fed’s very badly – and [Thomas] Stonewall Jackson is now in Washington (Rumor) I expect we will all be swon in in a few days – and assigned to Companies from which we will be detailed to write in the Q.M. [Quarter Master] office.”4

Although George closes his letters using the last name Fine, he is listed in the 1860 U.S. Census as having the last name Carroll. Further investigation into this subject matter is needed. Fine’s location after Fort McCulloch and his survival through the war is not known.

Contributed by the  Oklahoma Historical Society

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  1. Jon D. May, “Fort McCulloch”, Encyclopedia of Oklahoma’s History and Culture,
  2. Fine, George. Letter to Ann Fine. 2 Jun. 1862. 81.127, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma,
  3. Patricia L. Faust, Ed., “Conscription (Military Draft) In The Civil War”, Historical Times Encyclopedia of the Civil War,
  4. George Fine Letter to David Fine. 29 Jun. 1862. 81.127, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.