Fort Assinniboine records, 1879-1906  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Creator
Fort Assinniboine (Hill County, Mont.)
Title
Fort Assinniboine records
Dates
1879-1906 (inclusive)
Quantity
18 linear feet of shelf space
Collection Number
MC 46 (collection)
Summary
Established by the United States Army in 1879, Fort Assinniboine served to secure the Canadian border, and enforce a policy of intimidation and containment of the Native American nations. Over its 32 years as a military post, many hundreds of soldiers garrisoned there, including African American companies from the 24th and 25th Infantries and the 10th Cavalry. Records (1879-1906) include incoming correspondence regarding the Riel Rebellion, Canadian Indians, and other topics regarding the Fort and military business. The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence registers, reports, orders, and miscellany.
Repository
Montana Historical Society, Research Center Archives
Montana Historical Society Research Center Archives
225 North Roberts
PO Box 201201
Helena MT
59620-1201
Telephone: 406-444-2681
Fax: 406-444-5297
mhslibrary@mt.gov
Access Restrictions

Collection open for research.

Languages
English
Sponsor
Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Historical NoteReturn to Top

On December 30th, 1878 the site was dubbed Fort Assiniboine, with one “n”; the fort retained that spelling until officially changed to Fort Assinniboine December 3, 1884. Between 1879 and 1903, Fort Assinniboine served as a key component of a national military strategy to secure the International Border with Canada with respect to an overall policy of intimidation and containment of Native American nations. It represents one of several open-planned post (fort) complexes constructed between 1877 and 1879 in Montana, the Dakotas, Wyoming, Nebraska, and Idaho. Fort Assinniboine’s primary function was border patrol and engagement with the Cree, Metis, Blackfeet, and Sioux. Its location between the Blackfeet reservation to the west and Fort Belknap to the east, led to interaction with the Gros Ventre and Assiniboine nations as well. While fort personnel rarely engaged in battle, the fort’s role in the United States’ military and diplomatic relationships with tribes and Canada proved crucial. The mere fact of the fort’s existence undoubtedly dissuaded, or at least caused pause to consider, possible actions by Native Americans. As Fort Assinniboine personnel were charged not only with patrol, seizure, deportation, and combat, but also protection and assistance, they effectively influenced national Indian policy and impacted the lifeways of those native populations.

The size and scale of Fort Assinniboine’s military post and 220,000-acre military reservation established it as one of the most massive in the United States. The large number of soldiers stationed there over the majority of its lifetime, and the allocation of Congressional funding for upgrades, renovation, and new construction testify to the post’s primary importance in the larger military mission of containment and border control. The district stands at a critical location, chosen to secure the northern tier, to protect settlers, and to maintain International relations by thwarting what was considered unauthorized crossing of the boundary between Canada and the United States by Native Americans, mostly the Cree and Métis.

Beginning in April 1892, one or a combination of companies from the 24th and 25th Infantries or 10th Cavalry served continuously at the fort through August 1900. Formed in 1866 after the Civil War, these regiments for black enlisted men, led by white officers, were instrumental to the United States’ military campaigns and policy enforcement in the West. Not only did the troops fully participate in the military aspects during their stay, they engaged with, and in some cases, chose to remain in the surrounding communities after their service.

With the near-containment of tribal nations in the area by the late 1890s, the purpose of the post began to change. The Spanish American War’s outbreak in 1898 initiated the transfer of companies including the 10th United States Cavalry, a unit of all African American Buffalo Soldiers commanded by Lt. “Black Jack” John J. Pershing, to military action overseas. A measurably smaller number of military personnel manned the station, but continued to conduct patrols, intercede in tribal affairs, and work with and support other forts in the region. In 1903, Congress designated Fort Assinniboine a training facility, and invested in new construction and renovation at the base. However, its remoteness and harsh winters combined with shifts in military priorities thwarted the fort’s training facility role. In 1911, the United States military abandoned Fort Assinniboine and transferred it to the Department of the Interior. After 1913, some of the fort property transitioned to state ownership as an agricultural experiment station. A large amount of its acreage was set aside for Rocky Boy’s Reservation, and additional land became Beaver Creek Park.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Records. 1879-1906. 18 linear feet. This collection consists of the records generated through the normal activities of a military post. Included are letters to the commanding officer regarding the Riel Rebellion, activities of Native Americans north of the Candadian border, and other topics regarding the Fort and military business. The largest portion of the materials is bound volumes, including correspondence registers; orders; morning reports; court records; and other miscellaneous volumes and records.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Alternative Forms Available

Included are letters to the commanding officer regarding the Riel Rebellion, Canadian Indians, and other topics regarding the Fort and military business, original copies of letters on MF 54.

Restrictions on Use

Researchers must use collection in accordance with the policies of the Montana Historical Society. The Society does not necessarily hold copyright to all materials in the collection. In some cases permission for use may require additional authorization from the copyright owners. For more information contact an archivist.

Preferred Citation

Item description and date. Collection Title. Collection Number. Box and Folder numbers. Montana Historical Society Research Center, Archives, Helena, Montana.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection

Outgoing Correspondence Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Volume
1
Quartermaster's Department: copy book
1887 September- 1889 March
2
Quartermaster's Department: copy book
1890 September- 1892 August
3
Quartermaster's Department: copy book
1892 August- 1893 December
4
Miscellaneous: copy book
1885 September- 1886 May
5
Miscellaneous: copy book
1891 September- 1892 March
6
Miscellaneous: copy book
1892 September- 1893 April
7
Miscellaneous: copy book
1893 April-October
8
Miscellaneous: copy book
1893 October- 1894 May
9
Miscellaneous: copy book
1894 May- 1895 September
10
Miscellaneous: copy book
1902 January-December
11
Miscellaneous: copy book
1902 December- 1903 September
12
Miscellaneous: copy book
1904 April-September
13-13A
Miscellaneous: copy book and index
1904 September- 1905 July
14
Miscellaneous: copy book
1905 July-December
15
Post index of letters sent
undated
Box/Folder
1 / 1
Register of letters sent: Subsistence Department
1891 January- 1892 August

Incoming Correspondence Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
1 / 2
Miscellaneous (correspondents include W.L. Lincoln, Fort Belknap Indian Agent; George S. Hoyt, Fort Assiniboine)
1879 September, November
1 / 3
Miscellaneous (correspondents include G.L. Turner, District of Montana; W.L. Lincoln, Fort Belknap Indian Agent; Robert B. Benham, post surgeon; Thomas H. Ruger, District of Montana; J.M. McElree, Fort Walsh)
1881 September, November
1 / 4
Miscellaneous (correspondents include Thomas Lloyd, Fort Assiniboine)
1882 August
1 / 5
Jacob Kline, Camp Morris
1883 April-May
1 / 6-10
Miscellaneous (correspondents include H.G. Burton, post surgeon; G.S. Hoyt, Fort Assinniboine; Louisa G. Woods, Fort Assinniboine; Carroll H. Patten, Fort Belknap; Joseph Brady, Fort Assinniboine; J.N. McIlree, Maple Creek; Lloyd Wheaton, Fort Assinniboine; John B. Rodman, Fort Assinniboine; Edward Hunter, field camp; George W. Goode, field camp)
1885 March-October
1 / 11
Miscellaneous (request for stores)
1886 June
1 / 12
Miscellaneous (correspondents include R.B. Gordon, Regina, Saskatchewan; Edwin C. Fields, Fort Belknap)
1887 July, October
1 / 13-14
Miscellaneous (correspondents include C.S. Otis, Fort Assiniboine; H.A. Greene, Fort Assinniboine; Charles D. Curtis, Helena; F.D. Sharp, fort Assinniboine; L.A. LeGarde, Fort Assinniboine; W.A. Nichols, U.S. Military Prison at Fort Leavenworth)
1888 January, August
2 / 1
Miscellaneous (correspondents include H. Foster, Ft. Assinniboine; Leslie Smith, Fort Maginnis; R.E.A. Crofton, Fort Buford, Lloyd Wheaton, Camp Poplar River; H.A. Greene, Fort Assinniboine; J.N. Coe, Fort Assinniboine; W.S. McCaskey, Fort Assinniboine)
1888 September
2 / 2
Miscellaneous (correspondents include J.M. Hamilton, Fort Assinniboine; A.W. Greely, U.S. Signal Corps; J.N. Coe, Fort Assinniboine; C.H. Alden, Department of Dakota medical director re barracks ventilation)
1889 January-December
2 / 3-4
Miscellaneous (correspondents include J.C. Kelton, Adjutant General's Office; M. Barber, Department of Dakota; Thomas M. Vincent, Adjutant General's Office; Thomas Woodruff, Department of Dakota; C. McKeever, Adjutant General's Office)
1890 January-December
2 / 5
Miscellaneous (correspondents include Sedgwick Rice, Fort Assiniboine; R.G. Rutherford, Fort Assinniboine)
1903 August, September
2 / 6
Miscellaneous (correspondents include Samuel Cole, Fort Assiniboine; William S. Spangler, Fort Assinniboine)
1904 April, November
2 / 7
Miscellaneous (correspondents include M. Lesher, Fort Assiniboine; V.L. Wills, Northern Division)
1905 January-November
2 / 8-10
Register of letters received [incomplete]
1879, 1881, 1887-1895
Volume
16
Register of letters received
1889 August- 1890 April
17
Register of letters received
1891 March-September
18
Register of letters received
1892 December - 1893 July
19
Register of letters received
1894 February-August
20
Register of letters received
1895 January- 1901 January
21
Register of letters received
1901 January-December
22
Register of letters received
1902 January-September
23-26
Register of letters received
1903 January-December
27-28
Register of letters received
1904 April-November
29
Register of letters received
1904 November- 1905 February
30-32
Register of letters received
1905 February-October
oversizebox-folder
3 / 1
Index to letters received [1:5-5]
1887 June-November
3 / 2
Index to letters received
1890 April-September
3 / 3
Index to letters received
1893 June- 1894 February

Reports Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Volume
33
Consolidated morning reports: daily
1880 April-October
34
Consolidated morning reports: daily
1880 October- 1881 April
35
Consolidated morning reports: daily
1881 September- 1882 March
36
Consolidated morning reports: daily
1882 March-September
37
Consolidated morning reports: daily
1883February-June
38
Consolidated morning reports: daily
1883 October- 1884 January
39-40
Consolidated morning reports: daily
1884 March-November
41
Consolidated morning reports: daily
1884 November- 1885 April
42
Consolidated morning reports: daily
1885May-August
43
Consolidated morning reports: daily
1885 August- 1886 January
44-45
Consolidated morning reports: daily
1886 January-June
46
Consolidated morning reports: daily
1886 November- 1887 February
47-48
Consolidated morning reports: daily
1887May-October
49
Consolidated morning reports: daily
1887 December- 1888 March
50-51
Consolidated morning reports: daily
1888 March-November
52-55
Consolidated morning reports: daily
1889 February-November
56
Consolidated morning reports: daily
1889 November- 1890 February
57-58
Consolidated morning reports: daily
1890 May-October
59
Consolidated morning reports: daily
1890 October- 1891 January
60-63
Consolidated morning reports: daily
1891 January-November
64
Consolidated morning reports: daily
1891 November- 1892 February
65-68
Consolidated morning reports: daily
1892 February-December
69-70
Consolidated morning reports: daily
1893 June-November
71-72
Consolidated morning reports: daily
1894 February-July
73
Consolidated morning reports: daily
1894 October- 1895 March
74
Consolidated morning reports: daily
1895 March-September
75
Consolidated morning reports: daily
1895 September- 1896 February
76-77
Consolidated morning reports: daily
1896 February-December
78-79
Consolidated morning reports: daily
1897 January-November
80
Consolidated morning reports: daily
1897 November- 1898 April
81
Consolidated morning reports: daily [telegrams removed to Box 2, Folder 10]
1898 April-June
82
Consolidated morning reports: daily
1899 June- 1900 August
83
Consolidated morning reports: daily
1900 August- 1901 October
84
Consolidated morning reports: daily
1901 October - 1902 June
85
Consolidated morning reports: daily
1902 October- December
86
Consolidated morning reports: daily
1902 December- 1903 March
87-88
Consolidated morning reports: daily
1903 May-November
89
Consolidated morning reports: daily
1903 November- 1904 January
90-91
Consolidated morning reports: daily
1904 January-December
92-95
Consolidated morning reports: daily
1905 February-December
96
Consolidated morning reports: daily
1906 July-September
97
Consolidated morning reports: Camp Otis
1887 June, 1901 September

Miscellany Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Volume
98
Duty roster
1902 January- 1905 July, 1901
99
Duty rosters [dates overlap]
1902 January- 1905 July, 1901
100
Endorsement book
1881 March- 1884 April, 1901
Box/Folder
4 / 1A
General Order #18
1906 July 25
4 / 1
Post orders: general and special
1880 October- 1882 December
4 / 2-3
Post orders: general
1883 January- 1887 June
Volume
101
Post orders: general
1887 June- 1888 June
102
Post orders: general
1889 August- 1891 February
103-104
Post orders: general [dates overlap]
1902 January- 1904 February
Box/Folder
4 / 4-5
Post orders, memoranda, and circulars
1883-1890
4 / 6
Department of Dakota: general orders
1884-1885
5 / 1
Department of Dakota: general orders
1885
5 / 2
Department of Dakota: general orders, court martial orders, circulars
1883, 1892-1893, 1905
5 / 3-4
Department of Dakota: special orders
1884, 1886
Volume
105
Post guard reports: daily
1879 May-November
106
Post guard reports: daily
1879 November- 1880 May
107
Post guard reports: daily
1880 November- 1881 April
108
Post guard reports: daily
1881 April-October
109
Post guard reports: daily
1882 April-August
110
Post guard reports: daily
1882 August- 1883 February
111-112
Post guard reports: daily
1884 February- 1885 January
113-114
Post guard reports: daily
1885 January-December
115
Post guard reports: daily
1885 December- 1886 June
116
Post guard reports: daily
1886 December- 1887 May
117
Post guard reports: daily
1887 May-November
118
Post guard reports: daily
1887 November- 1888 May
119
Post guard reports: daily
1888 May-October
120
Post guard reports: daily
1888 October- 1889 April
121
Post guard reports: daily
1889 April-October
122
Post guard reports: daily
1889 October- 1890 March
123
Post guard reports: daily
1891 March-August
124
Post guard reports: daily
1891 August- 1892 February
125
Post guard reports: daily
1892 February-August
126
Post guard reports: daily
1892 August - 1893 January
127-128
Post guard reports: daily
1893 January- January 1894
129-130
Post guard reports: daily
January-December 1894
131-132
Post guard reports: daily
1894 December- 1895 December
133-134
Post guard reports: daily
1895 December- 1896 November
135-136
Post guard reports: daily
1896 November- 1897 November
137
Post guard reports: daily
1897 November- 1898 November
138
Post guard reports: daily
1899 December- 1900 June
139-140
Post guard reports: daily
1900 November- 1901 November
141-142
Post guard reports: daily
1901 November- 1902 October
143
Post guard reports: daily
1905 December- 1906 May
Box/Folder
6 / 1
Post guard reports
1909 December- 1910 June
6 / 2
Post Council of Administrators: proceedings
1879-1886
Volume
144
Post Council of Administrators: record
1901 September- 1906 September
Box/Folder
6 / 3
Chaplain's report: Second Cavalry
1906 August
Volume
145
Description book of recruits
1896 June- 1907 April
Box/Folder
6 / 4
Field return: Third Cavalry
1904 December
6 / 5
Map and plan of Fort buildings and area
circa 1885
6 / 6
Military records: individual
1905-1906
6 / 7
Muster roll: 25th Infantry Detachment
1906 February
6 / 8
Proceedings of Board of Survey: target practice records
1884 May- 1894 June
6 / 9
Records of company skirmish firing
1887 August- 1888 August
6 / 10
Records of subsistence stores
1879 September- 1891 December
6 / 11
Roster of officers and organizations
1889 March- 1894 May, 1891
Volume
146
Summary court record
1891 March- 1893 December
147
Summary court record
1898 June- 1902 December
148
Summary court record
1906 Janunary-October
Box/Folder
6 / 12
Witnesses' statements: murder in Havre
1902 August
6 / 13
Prisoners: monthly reports
1881-1883, 1902- 1903
Volume
149
Prisoners lists
1903 December- 1904 January
150
Prisoners lists
1905 January-June
Box/Folder
6 / 14
Miscellaneous
1888-1889, 1904, undated

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • African Americans
  • African Americans
  • African Americans Soldiers
  • Armed Forces--Civil Action
  • Military
  • Military bases
  • Montana
  • Native Americans
  • Soldiers
  • Corporate Names :
  • Fort Assinniboine (Hill County, Mont.) (creator)
  • Geographical Names :
  • Fort Assinniboine (Mont.)
  • Havre (Mont.)