Contact Info
Missouri River Institute
The University of
South Dakota
414 E. Clark Street
Science Center
Vermillion, SD 57069

Financial support for website development provided by the
Living River Group
of the
Sierra Club




Site Description:

On the south side of Ft Randall Dam lie the Fort Randall Military Post ruins. The post was established by General William S. Harney and named for the late Deputy Paymaster General of the US Army, Colonel Daniel Randall. The Fort Randall Military Post was operational between 1856 and 1892 and served as an important post during military operations against the Sioux in 1863-65. The post also served as a central Army depot, providing supplies and troops throughout the area. The military post was strategically located on the Missouri River to provide protection for settlements and to those traveling across the plains. Soldiers stationed at Fort Randall maintained peace between newly arrived settlers and Native Americans, as well as between the tribes themselves. Some famous visitors to Fort Randall were "Buffalo" Bill Cody who was traveling west with his "Wild West" show and Sitting Bull, a Lakota Sioux Indian who was actually a prisoner at the fort. Sitting Bull is best known for his role in the Battle of Little Big Horn and the defeat of Col. George Custer.

Although not a military structure, The Fort Randall Chapel was built on the post in 1875 by volunteers using donated funds. The chapel was built to provide a spiritual as well as a social setting, serving as a church and meeting hall. The nearby Fort Randall Cemetery holds the remains of settlers, Indian interpreters and soldiers. Today, a self-interpretive trail guides visitors around Fort Randall's old building foundations, the chalkstone church, and cemetery.

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