Fort Assinniboine
Fort Assinniboine, a fort in Montana
Montana is a state in the Western United States. The western third of Montana contains numerous mountain ranges. Smaller, "island ranges" are found in the central third of the state, for a total of 77 named ranges of the Rocky Mountains. This geographical fact is reflected in the state's name,...

 and within the military Department of Dakota
Department of Dakota
A subdivision of the Division of the Missouri, the Department of Dakota was established by the United States Army on August 11, 1866 to encompass all military activities and forts within Minnesota, Dakota Territory and Montana Territory. The Department of Dakota was initially headquartered at Fort...

, was built in 1879, in the aftermath of the Great Sioux War of 1876-77
Great Sioux War of 1876-77
The Great Sioux War of 1876, also known as the Black Hills War, was a series of battles and negotiations which occurred between 1876 and 1877 involving the Lakota and Northern Cheyenne, against the United States...

 and the disastrous defeat of U.S. Army forces led by General Custer
George Armstrong Custer
George Armstrong Custer was a United States Army officer and cavalry commander in the American Civil War and the Indian Wars. Raised in Michigan and Ohio, Custer was admitted to West Point in 1858, where he graduated last in his class...

 at the Battle of Little Big Horn on June 25, 1876. The fort is located in Hill County
Hill County, Montana
-National protected areas:*Creedman Coulee National Wildlife Refuge*Lake Thibadeau National Wildlife Refuge-Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 16,673 people, 6,457 households, and 4,255 families residing in the county. The population density was 6 people per square mile . There were...

 six miles southwest of Havre
Havre, Montana
Havre is a city in, and the county seat of, Hill County, Montana, United States. It is said to be named after the city of Le Havre in France. The population was 9,621 at the 2000 census.-History:...

 (the county seat) on Highway 87. The fort gets its name from the Assinniboine people.

Fort Assinniboine was established primarily to ward off possible attacks by the Sioux
The Sioux are Native American and First Nations people in North America. The term can refer to any ethnic group within the Great Sioux Nation or any of the nation's many language dialects...

, led by Chief Sitting Bull
Sitting Bull
Sitting Bull Sitting Bull Sitting Bull (Lakota: Tȟatȟáŋka Íyotake (in Standard Lakota Orthography), also nicknamed Slon-he or "Slow"; (c. 1831 – December 15, 1890) was a Hunkpapa Lakota Sioux holy man who led his people as a tribal chief during years of resistance to United States government policies...

, from the Cypress Hills and by the Nez Perce, some of whom were also in Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 following the defeat and capture of Chief Joseph
Chief Joseph
Hin-mah-too-yah-lat-kekt, popularly known as Chief Joseph, or Young Joseph was the leader of the Wal-lam-wat-kain band of Nez Perce during General Oliver O. Howard's attempt to forcibly remove his band and the other "non-treaty" Nez Perce to a reservation in Idaho...

 by the U.S. Army in the Battle of Bear Paw
Battle of Bear Paw
The Battle of Bear Paw was the final engagement of the Nez Perce War. Some of the Nez Perce were able to escape to Canada, but Chief Joseph was forced to surrender the majority of his tribe to Oliver O. Howard...

 in 1877. However, no such attack or raid ever occurred.

The fort was located on a massive reserve and, at its peak, housed over 750 officers, enlisted men, and their families. With 104 buildings, the fort remains one of the largest ever built in the United States. Among the military officers stationed at the fort in the 1890s was John Pershing, who later achieved fame as the leader of the American Expeditionary Force
American Expeditionary Force
The American Expeditionary Forces or AEF were the United States Armed Forces sent to Europe in World War I. During the United States campaigns in World War I the AEF fought in France alongside British and French allied forces in the last year of the war, against Imperial German forces...

 in World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...


In 1916, a portion of Fort Assinniboine was ceded to the Rocky Boy Indian Reservation
Rocky Boy Indian Reservation
The Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation is an Indian reservation of the Chippewa Cree Tribe located in the U.S. state of Montana. The smallest reservation in the state, it was established by Executive Order on September 7, 1916. The Chippewa Cree Tribe of the Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation was...

 (home of the Chippewa Cree
Chippewa Cree
The Chippewa Cree Tribe is a mixed group of Native Americans in Montana, among the last to come into the state. They are descended from Cree that had come south from Canada, and from Chippewa that had moved west from the Turtle Mountains in North Dakota....


Another portion of the reserve was ceded to Hill County to create Beaver Creek Park, the largest county park in the United States. Most of the buildings at the Fort were razed; a handful of surviving structures are now an agricultural extension station associated with Montana State University
Montana State University - Bozeman
Montana State University – Bozeman is a public university located in Bozeman, Montana. It is the state's land-grant university and primary campus in the Montana State University System, which is part of the Montana University System...


External links

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