Fort Abercrombie – Gateway to the Dakotas

Fort Abercrombie-11

Abercrombie, North Dakota

A short and easy 40-minute drive from Fargo, North Dakota south on Interstate-29, and a six-mile jog to the east and south from exit 37 brings you to the community of Abercrombie and then to the banks of the Red River of the North and Fort Abercrombie. Built in the early 1860s, the fort protected oxcart and steamboat traffic along the river. The area became a hub for military and civilian wagon trains and stagecoach traffic. A ferry crossed the river at the east end of the fort. For today’s Travel Tuesday, I submit for your approval, two galleries of images taken during a pleasant afternoon at the fort.

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Three howitzer cannons protected the fort, but during the fort’s longest siege, the fort did not have blockhouses or a palisade. For more than six weeks, Dakota Sioux warriors besieged the fort in 1862. At the time of the attack, the original U.S. Army soldiers had already been reassigned to fight in the Civil War and the fort was manned by soldiers of the Minnesota Volunteer Infantry. The cannon placement above protected the river flank. With no palisade (fence) surrounding the fort at the time, the cannon placement was instrumental in protection from the warring Sioux that approached from across the river and up the river bank.

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Block houses and palisade were added shortly after the major siege of 1862. The original structures were sold and removed after the fort was abandoned in 1877. A Works Project Administration project in the late 1930s reconstructed the stockade and three blockhouses. The original guardhouse was found and returned to the site.

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On Sundays during the summer through August 2, 2015; a presentation is given about the life and times at the fort. The 2 PM CDT presentation on the day of our visit included historians, musicians and re-enactors from the Minnesota Volunteer Infantry. The website for the volunteer infantry is here. You can view a short video of one of the musical selections, Angel Band, via a YouTube link here.

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The site is open year round and is free to the public. The museum is open  May 16-September 15; as of this writing the museum fee is $8 for adults, $3 for children. The Sunday 2PM presentations are open to the public at no charge. I submit for your approval, two galleries. The first is a mixture of standard and HDR images of the site. The second gallery is for fun, a look in black-and-white, hopefully giving the viewer a feel for images taken at an earlier time. Click on one of the images to enlarge it and to scroll through the galleries.


John Steiner



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