Fort Abercrombie was at a crossroads of oxcart and wagon trails, and the Red River. It served as a gateway for supplies and goods headed for the Canadian West; miners heading to the gold fields of the Fraser River in Canada, Montana, Washington, and Oregon; military roads followed by Sibley; and later by settlers into Dakota. With the arrival of the railroad at Moorhead and Fargo, Fort Abercrombie waned in importance.
On August 28, 1858, Lieutenant Colonel John J. Abercrombie established the fort bearing his name on the flat bottomland of an ox bow loop of the Red River. On July 25, 1859, the post was abandoned, but was re-occupied in July 1860. Because of the threat of flooding, this site was abandoned in 1859 when construction commenced on the higher ground of the river’s west bank
When the Civil War broke out, soldiers of the regular U.S. Army were withdrawn from Fort Abercrombie, and replaced by units of the Minnesota Volunteer Infantry. When Captain John Vander Horck of Company D., 5th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry, arrived on March 29, 1862 to take command of the garrison, only three buildings had been completed: the Men’s Quarters (barracks), Commissary (food storehouse), and Commanding Officer’s Quarters. By late August a stable and guardhouse had also been added.
Site is open year-round.
Interpretive Center is open May 16 - September 15,
9am - 5pm, Thursday - Monday.
P.O. Box 148
Abercrombie, ND 58001