Southern Montana

Fort Alexander (1) | Fort Alexander (2) | Fort Benton (1) | Big Horn Barracks
Big Horn Post (1) | Big Horn Post (2) | Brasseau's Houses | Fort Cass | Camp Crook
Fort Crow | Fort Custer | Fort Gilbert | Glendive Cantonment | Fort Henry (3) | Fort Howes (2)
Fort Keogh | Fort Lisa | Lisa's Post | Fort Manuel | Fort Manuel Lisa | Camp Merritt
Fort Pease | Camp Porter | Fort Ransom | Fort Raymond | Fort Remon | Fort Sarpy (1)
Fort Sarpy (2) | Fort Alexander Sarpy | Fort C.F. Smith | Stanley's Stockade | Camp Terry
Tongue River Barracks | Cantonment on the Tongue River | Tulloch's Fort | Fort Van Buren
New Post on the Yellowstone

Northern Montana - page 1 | Western Montana - page 3



Last Update: 12/AUGUST/2019
Compiled by Phil and Pete Payette - 2019 American Forts Network

Fort Gilbert
(1864 - 1867), near Sidney
A civilian trading post on the Yellowstone River. A marker locates the site five miles north of town on MT 200.

John (or Joseph ?) Brasseau's Houses
(late 1810's ?, 1820's ?), near Savage ?
A trader (possibly based out of Fort Union, ND ?) established at least two small posts (cabins) about 50 miles up the Yellowstone River.
NOTE: there was a mulatto named "John Brazo" working at Fort Union during the 1830's, who may or may not be related.

Glendive Cantonment
(1877), Glendive
A temporary Army supply depot during construction of Fort Keogh. Located on the north bank of the Yellowstone River across from the mouth of Glendive Creek.
(info courtesy of Jerome Grenz)

Camp Porter
(1880 - 1881), Glendive
An Army camp that protected Northern Pacific railroad workers.

Col. David S. Stanley's Stockade
(1873, 1876), near Glendive
An Army supply depot for the Northern Pacific Railroad survey team, located six miles south of town. The site was also later used by troops under General Alfred H. Terry in his 1876 campaign.

Camp Terry
(1876 - 1882, intermittent), near Terry
An Army supply depot during General Alfred Terry's 1876 campaign, located on the Yellowstone River at the Powder River. Intermittently used thereafter until the Northern Pacific Railroad reached this area.

Fort Keogh
(USDA - ARS Fort Keogh Livestock and Range Research Laboratory)
(1876 - 1908/1924), Miles City
First known as Cantonment on the Tongue River, established two months after the Battle of Little Bighorn. In 1877 the post was rebuilt one mile west of the original location and was known as New Post on the Yellowstone or Tongue River Barracks, then renamed yet again in 1878. After the Infantry left in 1908, it became an Army Remount Station and Quartermaster Depot until 1924. The USDA acquired the post in 1924 as a Livestock and Range Research Laboratory. Of the more than 120 buildings originally built by the Army, only seven remained by 1924. Only four original buildings are still extant today, a recently restored Wagon Shed and three Officers' Quarters. One of the original Officers' quarters was moved to the Range Riders Museum in town (west end of Main Street) and has been fully restored (admission fee). Two other original Officers' quarters were moved away from the old parade ground in the 1980's and sat abandoned until purchased in 2004 and were planned to be restored as private homes (one building collapsed in 2008 and has since been dismantled). The so-called General Miles Quarters on the USDA grounds burned down in 1973. The original 1876 site on the Tongue River still features dirt mounds and the remains of a partial wall. The Lewis and Clark Expedition camped near here in 1806.

Fort Sarpy (1)
(1850 - 1855), near Cartersville or Thurlow
An American Fur Co. trading post located on the north bank of the Yellowstone River five miles below the mouth of Rosebud Creek. Named for company officer John Sarpy. Also known as Fort Alexander (2) after the fort it replaced, but some people called it Fort Alexander Sarpy in confusion. It was abandoned and burned after mounting too many losses.

Fort Van Buren
(1835 - 1842), near Cartersville
An American Fur Co. trading post on the north side of the Yellowstone River opposite the mouth of Rosebud Creek (just east of town), operated by Samuel Tulloch. Replaced Fort Cass. It was burned down when abandoned in the summer of 1842, after Charles Larpenteur took over, and replaced by Fort Alexander (1). This was the American Fur Company's second post built on the Yellowstone River.

Fort Alexander (Culbertson) (1)
(1842 - 1850), near Forsyth
An American Fur Co. 100-foot square stockaded trading post located on the north bank of the Yellowstone River about 20 miles upstream from Fort Van Buren, just west of town about halfway between Big and Little Porcupine Creeks. Built by Charles Larpenteur to replace Fort Van Buren. The Blackfeet Indians referred to this post as Fort Crow as an insult. It was burned down when abandoned. No trace remains.

Fort Sarpy (2)
(1857 - 1860), near Sanders
An American Fur Co. post, a 100-foot square log stockade on the south side of the Yellowstone River near Sarpy Creek.

Fort Pease
(1875 - 1876), near Bighorn
An independent trader's 100-foot square stockaded trading post on the north bank of the Yellowstone River, seven miles below the Big Horn River. It was abandoned and then burned by Indians. Fellows D. Pease was previously the government agent to the Crow Indians before he took up trading.

Fort Cass
(1832 - 1835), Bighorn
An American Fur Co. 130-foot square log stockade trading post, with two blockhouses, often called Samuel Tulloch's Fort, located on the south bank of the Yellowstone River two or three miles below the site of Fort Manuel. Officially named after Lewis Cass, U.S. Secretary of War at the time.

Fort Benton (1)
(1822 - 1823), near Bighorn
A St. Louis Missouri Fur Co. trading post located on the Yellowstone River somewhere near Fort Manuel, probably a mile or so downstream. Built by Michael Immell and Robert Jones in the fall of 1822, after Andrew Henry and William Ashley had built Fort Henry that summer at the mouth of the Yellowstone River in present-day Buford, ND. Both Immell and Jones were killed by Blackfeet Indians in the spring of 1823.

Fort Manuel
(1807 - 1808, 1809 - 1812 ?), near Bighorn
A St. Louis Missouri Fur Co. (Lisa, Menard, Morrison and Co. before 1809) trading post on the south bank of the Yellowstone River at the left (west) side of the mouth of the Bighorn River. It was originally named Fort Remon (or Fort Raymond) for Lisa's son. It was rebuilt larger in 1809 and renamed for Lisa himself, but was also known variously as Fort Manuel Lisa, Fort Lisa, Lisa's Post, and Big Horn Post (1). It was temporarily abandoned by the winter of 1811-12, but when war was declared with Great Britain in the summer of 1812, the post was left abandoned and never reclaimed. Due to shifting river channels, the exact site has never been found by archaeologists.

Fort Henry (3)
(1823 - 1824), near Custer
A wintering post for Andrew Henry and William Ashley's last joint trading expedition, located on the south bank of the Yellowstone River just above the mouth of the Bighorn River. Built in the fall of 1823, closed in the early summer of 1824. This was also the last fixed trading post built by Henry and Ashley. Beginning in the summer of 1825, William Ashley instituted the "rendezvous supply system", which lasted until 1840.

Fort Howes (2)
(1897), near Otter
A civilian 12-by 18-foot rock breastwork located five miles northeast of town at the Howes' Ranch. The threat of a Cheyenne uprising never materialized and the fort was never actually used.

Camp Crook
(1890), near Lame Deer ?
An Army camp located near the Tongue River Indian Agency.

Camp Merritt
(1890, 1898), Lame Deer
An Army camp at the Tongue River Indian Agency on Lame Deer Creek. It became a subpost of Fort Keogh in 1898.

Fort Custer
(1877 - 1898), Hardin
Constructed one year after the Battle of Little Bighorn (June 1876), and originally named Big Horn Post (2) or Big Horn Barracks. The buildings were eventually sold at auction and most were used to build the Crow Indian Agency, and later the town of Hardin, two miles northeast of the site of the actual fort. One of the Officers' quarters was later moved to the town of Fort Smith and is now the Bunkhouse Bed and Breakfast located at 15077 West 1st Street. A replica of the fort is at the Bighorn County Historical Museum. A D.A.R. stone monument (1930) is at the actual site, where several cellar holes and depressions still remain on the grounds of a private golf course.

Fort C.F. Smith
(Crow Indian Reservation)
(1866 - 1868), Fort Smith
Originally called Fort Ransom in 1866. The state's first Federal fort, it was built to protect the Bozeman Trail. Besieged for about six months in 1866 - 1867, the "Hayfield Fight" occurred about 2.5 miles east of the fort along War Man Creek on August 1, 1867, in which 31 soldiers held off 800 Cheyenne warriors. The stockaded fort was later abandoned according to treaty, and was then burned by the Indians. The actual fort site is on private property, but group tours can be arranged at the Yellowtail Dam Visitors Center of Bighorn Canyon NRA. A stone monument (1933) still remains on site. An 1868 monument for the "Hayfield Fight" was once located in the fort's cemetery, but was later moved to Custer National Cemetery at the Little Bighorn Battlefield. A modern marker for the battle is located 2.5 miles north of town off MT 313.

Thanks to Jerome Grenz for additional information on Montana forts and posts.

Northern Montana - page 2 | Western Montana - page 3

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