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Fort Shaw

Fort Shaw

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Fort Shaw

Montana 200, MP 133, west of FortShaw

Barring fur trading posts, the first important white settlements in Montana were the mining camps in the western mountains. Everything to the east belonged to the plains Indians and was buffalo range. To protect the miners and settlers from possible incursions of hostile tribes, a series of military posts was established around the eastern border of the mining camps and settlements. FortShaw, established in 1867, was one of these. It also protected the stage and freight trail from FortBenton, head of navigation on the Missouri, to the Last Chance Gulch placer diggings at Helena. Everything north of the Sun River was Blackfeet Indian Territory at that time. The fort was built by the 13th U.S. Infantry, under Major Wm. Clinton.

General Gibbon led his troops from here in 1876 to join General Terry and General Custer on the Yellowstone just prior to the latter’s disastrous fight with the Sioux and Cheyenne Indians at the Battle of the Little Big Horn.

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