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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Fairfax in Nicollet County, Minnesota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

Fort Ridgely

 
 
Fort Ridgely Marker image. Click for full size.
By K. Linzmeier, October 25, 2013
1. Fort Ridgely Marker
Inscription. Fort Ridgely both contradicts and fits the popular culture stereotype of a frontier fort. Following its 1855 completion, the Fortís primary role was to assist the federal government with an orderly transition of land ownership from American Indians to the growing number of European immigrant farmers. Nothing in that definition suggests the need for a stockade for defense against dramatic attacks.

Yet that is what happened. When the six-week U.S.-Dakota War began in August, 1862, the fort assumed great importance as the only military post in the area. On August 20 and 22, 1862, as many as 400 Dakota warriors attacked the fort, defended by just 280 soldiers and refugees. The use of artillery compensated for the lack of a stockade and for the fortís vulnerable location, compelling Dakota forces to withdraw.

Up until the events that led to war in 1862, loneliness and boredom afflicted the Fort Ridgely soldiers: records described complaints about housekeeping detail and harsh winters. With the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, Minnesotaís citizen soldiers relieved regular Army soldiers needed in the South. When the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 erupted, those same volunteer soldiers were among the first to respond and the first to fall in combat. Hundreds of European immigrant families fled to Fort Ridgely for protection.

The
Fort Ridgely Marker image. Click for full size.
By K. Linzmeier, October 25, 2013
2. Fort Ridgely Marker
two-sided marker with duplicate text
U.S. military abandoned the fort in 1872, and most of the buildings deteriorated or were converted for other uses. The state erected a battle monument in 1896. In 1911, the Minnesota Legislature created Fort Ridgely State Park. Excavations in 1935 revealed eight building foundations. The fortís stone commissary was preserved and today serves as a visitor center.

2012
Clean Water, Land & Legacy Amendment
Minnesota Historical Society

 
Erected 2012 by the Minnesota Historical Society.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Minnesota Historical Society marker series.
 
Location. 44° 27.202′ N, 94° 44.106′ W. Marker is near Fairfax, Minnesota, in Nicollet County. Marker is on County Highway 30 1.1 miles west of State Highway 4, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is in Fort Ridgely State Park; fee area – a Minnesota state park vehicle permit is required. Marker is at or near this postal address: 72404 County State Aid Highway 30, Fairfax MN 55332, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A Minority in Their Homeland / U.S.-Dakota Conflict (a few steps from this marker); This Fort Had a Purpose (a
Fort Ridgely Marker image. Click for full size.
By K. Linzmeier, October 25, 2013
3. Fort Ridgely Marker
few steps from this marker); Economic Engine (within shouting distance of this marker); Four Days From Fort Snelling (within shouting distance of this marker); Fort Ridgely Closes (within shouting distance of this marker); Reinforcements Arrive (within shouting distance of this marker); Who Lived in the Barracks? (within shouting distance of this marker); Officers' Quarters—C (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Fairfax.
 
More about this marker. A previous historical marker with outdated language was replaced with this marker in 2012. The content of this sign was reviewed by a Minnesota Historical Society historical marker committee, as well as by Dakota consultants and the Minnesota Historical Society Indian Advisory Committee. Funding for the marker provided from the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment through the vote of Minnesotans on November 4, 2008.
 
Also see . . .
1. Fort Ridgely. Minnesota Historical Society. "Built in 1853 as a police station to
Fort Ridgely Marker image. Click for full size.
By K. Linzmeier, October 25, 2013
4. Fort Ridgely Marker
Commissary / Visitor Center
keep peace as settlers poured into the former Dakota lands, it withstood several attacks in the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 and became a training ground for Civil War recruits." (Submitted on November 10, 2013.) 

2. Fort Ridgely State Park. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. (Submitted on November 10, 2013.) 

3. The U.S. - Dakota War of 1862. Minnesota Historical Society. (Submitted on November 10, 2013.) 
 
Categories. Forts, CastlesNative AmericansSettlements & SettlersWars, US Indian
 
Fort Ridgely Historic Site image. Click for full size.
By K. Linzmeier, October 25, 2013
5. Fort Ridgely Historic Site
National Register of Historic Places #70000304
Fort Ridgely Battle Monument image. Click for full size.
By K. Linzmeier, October 25, 2013
6. Fort Ridgely Battle Monument
Erected in 1896
Fort Ridgely Historic Site Sign image. Click for full size.
By K. Linzmeier, October 25, 2013
7. Fort Ridgely Historic Site Sign
An original log powder magazine can be seen in the distance. Fort Ridgely was one of the few military forts west of the Mississippi to withstand a direct assault.
Road to State Park image. Click for full size.
By K. Linzmeier, October 25, 2013
8. Road to State Park
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 10, 2013, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 324 times since then and 51 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. submitted on November 10, 2013, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin.
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