Fort Ridgely
Fort Ridgely was a United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 outpost (1853–1867) near the Dakota
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...

 reservation in southwestern Minnesota (located near Fairfax
Fairfax, Minnesota
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,295 people, 534 households, and 335 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,006.6 people per square mile . There were 589 housing units at an average density of 457.8 per square mile...

). Built between 1853–1855, it played an important role in the Dakota War of 1862
Dakota War of 1862
The Dakota War of 1862, also known as the Sioux Uprising, was an armed conflict between the United States and several bands of the eastern Sioux. It began on August 17, 1862, along the Minnesota River in southwest Minnesota...

. The Battle of Fort Ridgely
Battle of Fort Ridgely
Fort Ridgely was built in 1851 in the territory of southern Minnesota. It wasn't much of a fort, but it was the only military post between the Sioux Reservations and the settlers. On August 18, 1862, the Lower Sioux Agency in Renville County, Minnesota, was attacked by Indians...

 was fought there in two engagements over August 20–22, 1862 between Army volunteers and refugees from the Minnesota River
Minnesota River
The Minnesota River is a tributary of the Mississippi River, approximately 332 miles long, in the U.S. state of Minnesota. It drains a watershed of nearly , in Minnesota and about in South Dakota and Iowa....

 valley, and Dakota forces.

The Army abandoned the Fort in 1867 and moved westward. Civilians occupied the remaining buildings and later dismantled the structures for their own use.

Today the building foundations are preserved by the Nicollet County Historical Society and owned by the Minnesota Historical Society
Minnesota Historical Society
The Minnesota Historical Society is a private, non-profit educational and cultural institution dedicated to preserving the history of the U.S. state of Minnesota. It was founded by the territorial legislature in 1849, almost a decade before statehood. The Society is named in the Minnesota...

 within the boundaries of Fort Ridgely State Park
Fort Ridgely State Park
Fort Ridgely State Park is a Minnesota state park on the Minnesota River south of Fairfax, Minnesota. It preserves Fort Ridgely and a site important to the Dakota War of 1862....

. The old commissary building (partially reconstructed by the Veteran Conservation Corps in the 1930s) now houses the museum. The fort was added to the National Register of Historic Places
National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places is the United States government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation...

in 1970, while much of the park was added in 1989.

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

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