Dakota Datebook

Fort McKeen to Fort Abraham Lincoln

Saturday, November 19, 2011


On this day in 1872, the name of Fort McKeen was changed to Fort Abraham Lincoln. Construction on Ft. McKeen was commenced in June by companies B and C of the 6th Infantry under the command of Lt. Col. Daniel Huston Jr. The chosen location was five miles south of Mandan near the On-a-Slant Mandan Indian village, and was activated primarily to provide protection and support for Northern Pacific Railroad workers, as well as settlers.

At the time of the name change, the fort was expanding to include a cavalry post about a quarter mile north. Construction was rushed to accommodate the arrival of George Custer and the 7th Cavalry in the following fall. The combined facilities became a nine-company post, which also included the 17th Infantry, for a total of about 655 men.

Source: MacGregor, Gordon. N.D. Recapturing Drama of History: Fort Lincoln State Park restoration projects recreating romantic days of both white and red men for generations to come. The Bismarck Tribune. 28 Oct 1938.

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Dakota Datebook is a project of Prairie Public, in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota, with funding from the North Dakota Humanities Council.

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