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The establishment of a military post at this point was the result of a petition 
of the citizens of Boone county, Iowa, to the Unite'd States senate and house of 
representatives, praying that a post be established somewhere on the Des Moines 
river at or about the Lizard Forks, for their better security against the Indians, 
and for the encouragement of settlers. By general orders No. 19, war depart- 
ment adjutant general's office, May 31, 1850, it was ordered: 

"For the protection of the frontier settlements of Iowa, a new post will be 
established under the direction of the commander of the Sixth department, on 
the east bank of the Des Moines, opposite the mouth of Lizard Fork; or pre- 
ferably, if an equally eligible site can be found, at some point twenty-five or 
thirty miles higher up the Des Moines. The post will be established by a company 
of the Sixth Infantry, to be drawn from Fort Snelling, which will for the present 
constitute its garrison." This order was supplemented by Orders No. 22, head- 
quarters Sixth military department, St. Louis, AIo., July 14, 1850, which directed 

In pursuance of General Orders No. 19, current series, from the war 
department. Brevet Major Woods, Sixth Infantry, will select a suitable site in 
the state of Iowa, near the mouth of the Lizard Fork of the Des Moines river, 
for the establishment of a military post; which with his Company E, Sixth 
Infantry, he will proceed to construct and garrison, without, however, with- 
drawing his personal attention from the duty of removing Indians, on which he is 
now specially engaged. A military reserve eight miles in length (four miles 
above the post, and four miles below), along the river, and two miles in depth on 
either side, will be marked off and appropriated exclusively to the present use 
of the government. The proper staff departments will forthwith provide the 
stores and the supplies necessary in the construction of the post on the Des 
Moines, and for the subsistence and temporary shelter of the garrison." 

Immediately on receipt of this order at Fort Snelling, Capt. Samuel Woods, 
with his Company E, of the Sixth Infantry, two officers and sixty-six men who 
were then in the field, broke camp and proceeded to the point designated, where 
they arrived August 2, 1850, and established a post, which they named Fort 
Clarke, in honor of Brev. Brig. Gen. Newman S. Clarke, colonel of the Sixth 



Infantry, then commanding the Sixth military department. According to Pro- 
fessor Tuttle (History Iowa, 1876), the first encampment was on the ground now 
lying between the Public Square and Walnut street, between Fourth and Fifth 
streets in the present town of Fort Dodge. Materials for building the necessary 
quarters for the troops were at once prepared, and their construction so rapidly 
pushed that by the first of December they were in condition for occupancy. Early 
in the spring of 185 1, we find Major Woods urging upon the war department the 
necessity of establishing a postoffice at the fort, around which settlers were 
commencing to congregate, and recommending Mr. William Williams, the post- 
trader, as a suitable person to assume its charge. During the session of congress 
of 1850-51 we find the merchants of Dubuque petitioning for the building of a 
road from their town to Fort Clarke, but beyond an estimate of the topographical 
engineers of the approximate cost of such a road, no action seems to have been 
had in the matter during the lifetime of the post. 

Correspondence between the fort and the authorities at St. Louis and Wash- 
ington appears to have been limited to mere requisitions for supplies, the rendition 
of statistical returns, and such formal reports as afiford little information regard- 
ing the events of the occupation, none of which seem to have been at all removed 
from the ordinary events of an extreme frontier post. It was regarded at no 
time at more than a temporary post, although as was customary in all such estab- 
lishments, as set forth in the order already cited, a reservation was laid off with 
the flag staff of the fort as an initial point, with lines runnmg four miles to the 
north and south, along the Des Moines river, and two miles to the east and 
west on either bank; but before this could be surveyed and properly laid 
out and declared, the courts had decided that the so-called "Des Moines grant" 
extended above Raccoon fork to the source of the Des Moines; which decision 
gave every alternate section to the state of Iowa for internal improvements; thus 
throwing the post and its buildings beyond the limits of the public domain. There 
is evidence, however, that Major -^Woods and his command, found few idle 
moments, in the routine of camp duty; in restraining the Indians from their 
inclination to commit depredations on the settlements, and in controlling their 
district, which embraced all the frontier of Iowa from the Des Moines to the 

June 25, 1 85 1, by General Orders No. 34, from the headquarters of the army, 
the name of the post was changed to Fort Dodge, in compliment of the Dodges, 
father and son, who at that time were United States senators from the states of 
Wisconsin and Iowa, and who were among the pioneers of the northwest. At 
the same time there were several other forts, occupied by troops, named Clark 
or Clarke, the effect of which was to cause no little confusion in the forwarding 
of mail and supplies. 

Several causes operated toward the breaking up of the post, which was con- 
templated at intervals during the whole period of its existence. It was urged 
that the necessity for the presence of troops in that vicinity was of less impor- 
tance than at a point further north, and that for all practical purposes the troops 
at Crawford (Prairie du Chien), were amply sufficient to protect that vicinity. 
The country was being rapidly settled up, and Indian incursions were becom- 
ing less frequent in this section, and more troublesome on the north line of the 
new purchase from the Sioux in the Minnesota country, where it had been 

determined to locate one or more strong posts. It was not, however, until the 
spring of 1853 that plans were finally adopted by the war department for the 
building of the fort, — which was afterwards known as Fort Ridgeley, — on the 
Minnesota. Under date of -March 16, 1853, General Clarke was charged with the 
construction of the new fort, which was directed to be simultaneous with the 
breaking up of Forts Scott and Dodge. General Clarke's Order (No. 9), is dated 
Headquarters Sixth Military Department, Jefferson Barracks, Mo., March 30, 
1863, and directs that: 

"In pursuance of instructions from general headquarters. Forts Scott and 
Dodge will be broken up; the garrison of the former will be marched to Fort 
Leavenworth, and that of the latter by the most practicable route at the earliest 
moment the season will permit, to the new post on the Minnesota. The com- 
manding officer \\ill take immediate measures for carrying this into effect, and 
for sending to the neighboring posts such of the public property as may be needed 
at them, and for selling the remainder." 

Accordingly on April 18, 1853, Major Woods left the post with the larger part 
of the command for the new site on the Minnesota, leaving Second Lieutenant 
Corley with twenty men to dispose of the property. On June 2, 1853, Lietttenant 
Corley with the remainder of the troops, marched out of the camp, pulling down 
the flag from its staff, and before noon that day Fort Dodge as a military post, 
had been wholly abandoned. Such of the buildings as remained, including a 
steam sawmill, were disposed of at public sale, the principal purchaser being 
Mr. Wjn. Williams, the late post trader and postmaster, who remained at the 
site with a view of becoming its owner as soon as the lands could be surveyed and 
placed on sale. "On the 27th of March, 1854," says Prof. Tuttle "the first town 
plat was surveyed on the premises known as the fort site, the land having become 
the property of Major Williams, who had made the purchase in January, 1.854." 
There had been no change in the garrison of the post, from its first occupa- 
tion until its final abandonment, Company E of the Sixth Infantry performing 
that duty during the whole period. Of the officers Brev. Maj. Samuel Woods, its 
first commandant, was also its last. A few years later that officer was transferred 
to the pay department, in which he subsequently reached the rank of colonel and 
assistant paymaster general, and was retired from active service January 24, 1881,. 
at his own request, having been over forty years in active service. Colonel 
Woods died September 22, 1887, at Oakland, California. 

First Lieut, and Brev. Maj. Lewis A. Armistead, second in command, and 
acting assistant quartermaster and commissary of subsistence during the whole 
period of occupation, reached his captaincy March 3, 1855, but, together with 
Second Lieut. James L. Corley, who joined the command upon the resignation 
of Second Lieutenant Tubbs, resigned the service in May, 1861, to cast his lot 
with the south. 

Major Armistead became a brigadier general in the Confederate army and 
was killed at the battle of Gettysburg, July 3, 1863. 

Lieutenant Corley became a colonel and quartermaster in the Confederate 
service and died March 28, 1883. 

Lieutenant Tubbs was captain of Griffin's battalion, Texas \^olimteers in the 
Confederate army. 



The first militia company organized in Fort Dodge was Company "G," Fourth 
regiment, Iowa National Guard. Its organization was largely due to the efforts 
of Cyril Wade King, who became the first captain. At that time the armory was 
on the second floor of the Parsons building, at the corner of Central avenue and 
Fourth street. 

At the breaking out of the Spanish war the company was mustered into the 
volunteer service, as Company "G," Fifty-second Iowa Volunteer Infantry, thus 
continuing the enumeration of Iowa regiments from those serving in the Civil 

For a short time after the Spanish-American war, Fort Dodge was without a 
militia company. Interest, however, was soon aroused and the company was 
reorganized and mustered in April 4, 1899. The company still retained the same 
company and regimental designation which it had during the war. In order to 
avoid conflict because of this use of the same company letter and regimental 
number, it was thought best to keep the militia regiments separate from the war 
regiments. Accordingly, the local company became Company "G," Fifty-sixth 
regiment, I. N. G. Besides their war service, Company "G "was twice called upon 
to perform guard duty, on the occasion of the Pomeroy cyclone, and during the 
railroad strike at Sioux City. The present officers of the company are: Captain, 
Fred R. Frost; first lieutenant, Hans Frederickson; second lieutenant, James 
Barton. The enlisted men number fifty-nine. 

Company "F" was organized in Fort Dodge, when the company of the same 
letter was mustered out at Algona. It was mustered in January 20, 1910. At 
the present time it has fifty-eight enlisted men; and its officers are: Captain, 
H. R. Heath; first lieutenant, R. P. Wakeman; second lieutenant, T. A. Strand. 

The armory in Fort Dodge was built in 1904, and is equipped with a gym- 
nasium, swimming pool and bowling alley. 

In 1903, Fort Dodge secured the regimental band of the Fifty-sixth Regiment, 
Iowa National Guards. This organization was composed of members from a 
number of local musical organizations. Under the leadership of Carl Quist, the 
band reached a high stage of efficiency, and soon became known among the 
musical organizations of the state. For five years they played at the Iowa State 
Fair. Three times they were the official band at the head camp of the Modern 
Woodmen of America, attending the encampments at Indianapolis, St. Louis and 
Milwaukee. They were the official band of the Iowa delegation to the national 
convention of the B. P. O. E. held at Detroit in 19 10. They were also the official 
band for American Day at the Dominion Fair in Calgary, Alberta, during 1908; 
and were also the official band for Iowa Day at the World's Fair at St. Louis. 
During the year 1910 the band was mustered out of the service of the militia, 
and since that time has maintained its organization under the name of the Iowa 
Military Band. 

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