State of Nebraska - Genealogy Trails




Nebraska Forts  









Fort Atkinson


Was originally called Camp Missouri, then Cantonment Missouri. Because of flooding, the post was moved on June 12, 1820, to the top of Council Bluffs, more than one mile from the original site, and the name changed to Cantonment Council Bluffs.  


The post was designated Fort Atkinson by the explicit order of Secretary of War John C. Calhoun to Colonel Atkinson, dated January 5,1821.


Abandoned on June 6,1827, on the recommendation of Colonel George Croghan, inspector general, U. S. Army, who held that the post served no useful purpose, was unhealthful, and was too far from the starting point of the Santa Fe Trail. The garrison was transferred to Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, and the post itself was superseded by Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.






Established September 8, 1855.  


Located at the mouth of Ash Hollow south of the North Platte River on the Oregon Trail. Erected by Colonel William S. Harney, 2nd U. S. Dragoons, immediately after his engagement with the Sioux in the so called Battle of Blue Water.


Named for Brevet Second Lieutenant John L. Grattan, 6th U. S. Infantry, killed by the Oglala Sioux near Fort   Laramie, Wyoming, on August 19, 1854.


Fort was an earthwork, about one hundred feet across, with two bastions.


According to Colonel Harney, the post was intended to provide protection for emigrant trains and the monthly mail passing between Forts Kearny and Laramie.


Abandoned on October 1, 1855.







Established September 5, 1874.


Located on the left side of the North Loup River near the present town of Burwell. Established to quiet the fears of the settlers of the Loup Valley who were concerned about the Brule and Oglala Sioux.


Established by Captain Samuel Munson, 9th U. S. Infantry, on a site selected by Brigadier General Edward 0. C. Ord, commanding the department.


Originally called "Post on North Loup," it was designated Fort Hartsuff in November. 1874. in honor of Major General George Lucas Hartsuff, who died on May 16. 1874.


Abandoned on May 1, 1881, as it was considered unnecessary after Fort Niobrara was established. The post buildings were sold on July 20, 1881, and the military reservation was transferred to the Interior Department on July 22, 1884.


Kearny I


Established in May, 1846.


Located on the right bank of the Missouri River, some fifty miles below Omaha, at the mouth of Table Creek, where Nebraska City now stands. Colonel Stephen Watts Kearny, 1st U. S. Dragoons, and Colonel George M. Brooke, 5th U. S. Infantry, selected the site on May 23, 1846. Kearny and Captain Nathan Boone, 1st U. S. Dragoons, had recommended that a post be established on the site in 1838.  


Established by Major Clinton Wharton, 1st U. S. Dragoons.  Wharton returned to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, shortly fter the post was established, and the only significant building erected, a blockhouse, was constructed under the directiof of First Lieutenant William E. Prince, 1st U. S. Infantry, who succeeded Wharton in command.


Abondaned in June or July, 1846, and reoccupied on September 15, 1847.  


The post was intended to protect the Oregon Trail but was too far removed from the general route of travel.  


Named for Colonel Kearny.  Permanently abandoned in May 1848, and repliced by Fort Kearny II.



Kearny II


Established in June, 1848.


Located on the right side of the Platte River, about eight miles southeast of the present town of Kearney. The site, chosen by First Lieutenant Daniel P. Woodbury, Corps of Engineers, in the fall of 1847, was purchased from the Pawnee Indians for $2,000 in trade goods.


Established by two companies of Mounted Riflemen. Constructed under the direction of Lieutenant Colonel Ludwell E. Powell, Missouri Mounted Volunteers. First called "Post at Grand Island ," it was soon referred to, although never so designated officially, as Fort Childs in honor of Major Thomas Childs, 1st U. S. Artillery. It was designated Fort Kearny on December 30, 1848. The post was frequently referred to as New Fort Kearny to distinguish it from its predecessor.  


It was one of the most important posts on the Oregon Trail, providing portection, for emigrants and serving as a depot for munitions for use between Forts Leavenworth and Laramie.  It served also to protect the peaceable Indians from hostile Inidans and outlaws.  


Abandoned on May 17, 1871, as no longer necessary.  The military reservation was transferred to the Interior Derpartment on December 2, 1876.



McKean  See McPherson





Established September 27, 1863.


Located on the right bank of the South Platte River, two miles west of Cottonwood Springs, eight miles above the confluence of the North and South Platte. Established to protect travelers from Indian attack and to prevent the Indians from crossing the South Platte at a point which they had long used as a ford.   


Established by Major George M. O'Brien, 7th Iowa Cavalry. Originally called Cantonment  McKean, for Major Thomas McKean, 38th Pennsylvania Militia, commandng officer for the territory. The post was designated Post of Cottonwood in February, 1864; Fort Cottonwood on   May 18, 1864; then, on January 20, 1866, it was named Fort McPherson, in honor of Brigadier General James B. McPherson, killed near Atlanta on July 22, 1864.


The burial ground at the post was declared a national cemetery in 1873 and is still maintained as such.


Abandoned on March 29, 1880, except for a small detachment which remained until June 20, 1880, to dispose of post property. The post buildings were sold on May 23, 1881, and the military reservation was transferred to the Interior Deparetment on January 5, 1887.






Established in August, 1864.


Located on the left bank of the north Platte River above Scott's Bluff, some twelve miles east of the Wyoming line. Intended to protect the area against hostile Indians.


Established by Captain Jacob S. Shuman, 11th Ohio Cavalry, by order of Brigadier General Robert B. Mitchell, commanding the District of Nebraska. Originally called Camp Shuman, the name was changed (prior to August 31, 1864) to Camp Mitchell by Captain Shuman.  


The post was never officially designated.  


Abandoned in 1867.





Established April 22, 1880.  


Located on the right bank of the Niobrara River near the mouth of the Minnechaduze, a few miles east of the present town of Valentine.  


Established to provide the settlers and cattlemen of the area with protection gainst the Sioux Indians, who were by this time a broken people but were still feared, and to control the Indians at the Spotted Tail Agency.  


Established by Major John Jacques Upham, 5th U. S. Cavalry.  


Abandoned on October 22, 1906.  The military reservation is now a National Wildlife Refuge.





Established December 5, 1868.


Located on the right bank of the Missouri River above Omaha, although within the present city limits.


Established by Captain William Sinclair. 3rd U. S. Artillery. The post was originally called Camp Sherman, in honor of Lieutenant General William Tecumseh Sherman. In 1869 the name was changed to Omaha Barracks, and on December 30, 1878, the post was designated Fort Omaha.


The garrison was withdrawn in 1895 when the post was replaced by Fort Crook. Two officers and thirty-five men remained at the post until September, 1896, to dispose of removable public property. Efforts to sell the post were given up when it proved impossible to get what was considered a reasonable price for the property.


The post has been reactivated and discontinued several times and the military reservation has been retained.



Plum Creek


Established in 1864 as a subpost of Fort McPherson.


Located south of the Platte River at Plum Creek. Established as an intermediate station between Forts Kearny II and McPherson and supplied from Fort Kearny.


Intended to protect the emigrant route and the mails. This was one of several posts along the Oregon Trail, usually, and more properly, referred to as stations and actually serving as such for the stage route.


Abandoned in 1866.





Established March 8, 1874. Located north of the White River, near the confluence of Soldier Creek, west of the present town of Crawford, at the Red Cloud Agency headquarters.


Established by order of Lieutenant General Phil Sheridan during the difficulty with the Sioux Indians over the Black Hills region. The post was also a center for the control of the Indians at the Red Cloud and Pine Ridge agencies.


Erected under the direction of Colonel John E. Smith, 14th U . S. Infantry. First called Camp Red Cloud Agency, the post became Camp Robinson on March 29,1874, and was designated Fort Robinson in January, 1878. Named for First Lieutenant Levi H. Robinson, 14th U . S. Infantry, killed by Indians in Wyoming on February 9, 1874.


The post was used as a training center for dogs of the K-9 Corps during World War II and later as a quartermaster's depot.


Abandoned in 1948.


The Fort Robinson State Park and Museum are located on the post reservation.





Established November 19, 1867.


Located at the present town of Sidney, in the Lodgepole Creek Valley.


Established to protect the construction crews of the Union Pacific Railway.


Originally an outpost of Fort Sedgwick, Colorado, it became a separate post in 1870. Until 1879 it was called Sidney Barracks, then it was designated Fort Sidney.


Abandoned on May 24, 1894. The military reservation was transferred to the Interior Department on November 14, 1894.






Transcribed and Contributed by:    Jo Ann Boyd Scott

Forts of the West to 1898, Robert W. Frazer, 1965