World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Fort Abercrombie

Fort Abercrombie
Fort in 2007
Location Abercrombie, North Dakota
Built 1860
Architect WPA
Architectural style Rustic/Log
Governing body State
NRHP Reference # 08001367[1]
Added to NRHP January 22, 2009

Fort Abercrombie, in North Dakota, was an American fort established by authority of an act of Congress, March 3, 1857. The act allocated twenty-five square miles of land on the Red River of the North in Dakota Territory to be used for a military outpost, but the exact location was left to the discretion of Lieutenant Colonel John J. Abercrombie. The fort was constructed in the year 1858. It was the first permanent military settlement in what became North Dakota, and is thus known as "The Gateway to the Dakotas".


  • History 1
  • Dakota War of 1862 2
    • Casualties 2.1
  • References 3
  • Further reading 4
  • External links 5


Because the original location was prone to flooding, a new fort was built at a higher location in 1860, north of the original location. It was besieged by the Dakota (Sioux) Indians for more than six weeks during the Dakota War of 1862. The fort was abandoned in 1877 and the town of Abercrombie, North Dakota, was founded a half mile west in 1884. Abercrombie Township was settled, in part, due to the early presence of the fort.[2]

The fort served as a transportation hub as it guarded the Red River Trails used by the Red River ox cart trains of the late fur trade, military supply wagon trains, stagecoach routes, and steamboat traffic on the Red River.

The original buildings were either destroyed or sold at public auction when the fort was abandoned, but a Works Progress Administration project in 1939–1940 reconstructed three blockhouses and the stockade (fence) and returned the original military guardhouse to the site. More recent renovations include dismantling the southeast blockhouse and using salvageable materials to renovate the two remaining blockhouses and the guardhouse.

A new stockade was constructed and native grasses are allowed to grow in the locations of the missing buildings for visitors to get an idea about the size and shape of the buildings. A visitor's center was built in the summer of 2007. Today it is known as Fort Abercrombie State Historic Site and includes a modern museum and pavilion in the town of Abercrombie. The fort itself is a quarter mile east.

Dakota War of 1862

During the Dakota War of 1862 a citizen soldiers company was mustered in by Fort Commandant Captain J. Van Der Horck and commanded by Captain T. D. Smith. Another unit was Captain Ambrose Freeman's Company of Mounted Men, the "Northern Rangers." In August 1862 its defenses were tested. When increasing Indian activity by reconnaissance parties, drove nearby settlers into the fort's stockade. The Sioux besieged Fort Abercrombie for almost six weeks, alternating between occasional sniping and all-out attacks on all four sides of the fort. The garrison and settlers with rifles, shotguns, and howitzers held the fort.



  • Sgt Edward Wright (Sept 23, 1862)
  • Corporal James Bennett (with party sent to Breckinridge)
  • Ostler Charles W. Soell (Sept 6, 1862)
  • Private Augustus Ruchenell


  • Private C. P. Lull (Severely; Sept 23, 1862)
  • Private Edwin M. Wright (Severely; Sept 3, 1862)[3]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places.  
  2. ^ Tweto, Alma (1910). Libby, Orin Grant, ed. History of Abercrombie Township, Richland County. Collections of the State Historical Society of North Dakota ( 
  3. ^  

Further reading

  • Barnes, Jeff. Forts of the Northern Plains: Guide to Historic Military Posts of the Plains Indian Wars. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 2008.

External links

  • Fort Abercrombie State Historic Site website
  • Friends of Fort Abercrombie
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.