Strategically positioned at the confluence of the Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers, Fort Buford was erected to replace nearby Fort Union. It was the site of several attacks between Native American tribes and settlers in the late 1800s as well as the place of Sitting Bull’s surrender. The fort is currently listed as a State Historic Site.
Built in 1866, Fort Buford was commanded by enlisted members of the U.S. military. Over the years, the fort expanded and grew to fortify for the increased number of settlers moving westward on the open plains. The western divisions of the military often used this fort to resupply and prepare for the drastic weather seasons.
While the local Native Americans and settlers had made treaties and agreements that allowed them to live in peace for some time at Fort Union, the case for Fort Buford was not as well accepted. Sitting Bull led several attacks on Fort Union during the winter of 1866. This made the United States convinced to reinforce the fort with more men, supplies and structures.
Soon enough, the railroad decided to push through the region. Natives argued that the railroad would disrupt the wildlife and thus intervene in their food sources. Meanwhile, the United States promoted the idea of westward expansion and faster transit.
These occurrences prompted the Sioux Wars in retaliation for the U.S. government’s violation of the Treaty of 1868. The wars lasted for several years. The leader of the Sioux, Sitting Bull, surrendered to the United States at this site on July 20,1881.
Fort Buford has since been declared a landmark and turned into a state historical site.
How to Visit
Fort Buford is located on the North Dakota and Montana state border. It’s address is 15349 39th Lane NW in Williston, North Dakota. For more information about admission and hours, be sure to visit the official website here.
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