In July of 1864, Fort Rice was established on the Missouri River, about thirty miles south of present-day Mandan. Built of log huts with sod roofs and located 85 miles from the nearest post office, most soldiers considered it an undesirable post. Six years later, however, the fort had been rebuilt to include two-story houses and a library, and a musical band was stationed there. On August 18th, 1873, the Fort Rice Band obtained a pass to travel to the new town of Bismarck. There, they played at a grand ball in the Capitol Hotel to wide acclaim; they also visited the offices of the Bismarck Tribune and played for the journalists, who wrote reviews calling it “…one of the best bands in the army.”
Dakota Datebook written by Jayme L. Job
The Bismarck Tribune. Wednesday, August 20, 1873: p. 1.