OTHER IOWA FORTS
The first fort on Iowa land at
Fort Madison was built to help traders. After it was
destroyed no other forts were built until the Government
bought land west of the Mississippi from the Indians. There
was one new fort, however, that was very near to Iowa land.
That was Fort Armstrong, which was built in 1816 on Rock
Island. This island is located in the Mississippi River
between the present cities of Rock Island, Illinois, and
Davenport, Iowa. Because of its fine position on the island
and its nearness to Iowa, this fort played an important part
in our early history.
After eastern Iowa had been
bought from the Indians in 1833, through what is known as the
Black Hawk Purchase, white settlers came into Iowa and
soldiers were needed to protect them from possible Indian
attacks. They were needed, too, because a new country usually
has some bad or lawless people who take advantage of the fact
that there is no real government. When a company of soldiers
was sent to a new region it would build a fort for protection.
THE FORTS DES
The second fort to be built on
Iowa land was named Fort Des Moines. It was built on the
present site of the town of Montrose and not at the present
city of Des Moines. Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Kearny, with
three companies of cavalry, built the fort during the fall and
winter of 1834-35, but did not stay long with his soldiers.
By the summer of 1837 they were all gone and the colonel's
house had become a hotel.
In 1842 the Government bought
from the Sac and Fox tribes all the land which those Indians
then had in Iowa. The Red Men were allowed to stay in Iowa
for three more years. A fort was built to keep white people
off the Indians' land and to keep peace among the Indians.
This new fort was at the place where the Raccoon River flows
into the Des Moines River. Captain Allen was sent from Fort
Sanford, with a few soldiers, to build it. He arrived at the
place in May, 1841, and named it Fort Raccoon. General Scott
changed the name to Fort Des Moines.
Settlers usually located near
the forts because of the protection they could have from
attacks. During the first summer, while the fort was being
built, a trader, a tailor, a blacksmith, a farmer, and a
doctor located at the second Fort Des Moines. That was the
beginning of our present capital city. The soldiers were
taken from the fort in 1846.
The Winnebago Indians, were
moved onto the Neutral Strip in northeast Iowa in 1840. A
fort was needed to protect them from tribes that were
unfriendly. Soldiers were also needed to keep the Indians on
their own land or reservation.
In the spring of 1840 Captain
Lynde, with 82 men, came from Fort Crawford, at Prairie du
Chien, Wisconsin. He went into camp on the Turkey River and
began building a fort. The present town of Fort Atkinson is
located on the site. The next year more soldiers were sent
because it was feared that the Sac and Fox tribes would make
an attack. The soldiers were taken from Fort Atkinson in
Citizens of Boone County asked
Congress to send them soldiers and to build a fort. They
feared an Indian attack but also thought that other settlers
would come if they had protection. Captain Woods was sent
from Fort Snelling, near St. Paul, Minnesota, with 68 men. In
August, 1850, he started Fort Clarke. The name was later
changed to Fort Dodge. The present city of Fort Dodge is
located on the site. Soldiers were withdrawn from the fort in
Soldiers were stationed for a
few months at the Indian agency, now Agency, Iowa. They did
not build a fort because they were permitted by Mr. Sanford,
agent for the American Fur Company, to use the company's
buildings. The station was named Fort Sanford.
Council Bluffs was the site for
military posts in southwestern Iowa. Forts Fenwick and
Croghan were occupied by soldiers in 1842 and 1843.
Several men who later became
prominent in military or political life came to Iowa.
Jefferson Davis, later President of the Confederacy, was
stationed at one time on Rock Island and made trips into Iowa
land. Robert E. Lee, later the leader o the Southern troops
in the Civil War, made a surveying trip in southeastern Iowa.
Winfield Scott, leader of the American forces in the Mexican
War, was in command of Fort Armstrong and made a treaty with
the Indians on the present site of Davenport. Zachary Taylor,
later President, was stationed at Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin,
and visited Iowa land.