Fort Rice
North Dakota (1864)

Established during the Sioux campaigns in 1864 on the western bank of the Missouri River, Fort Rice had a brief and uneventful life as an Army post. The Secretary of War named the fort for Brig. Gen. James Clay Rice, who had been killed in Virginia in May 1864. The original buildings, cottonwood logs with sod roofs, were built by the 30th Wisconsin Infantry. In 1868 the post was rebuilt; the original buildings were destroyed and new ones erected on their sites. The new fort was a quadrangle, 864 by 544 feet, surrounded by a 10-foot-high stockade. By 1875 the post included 4 company quarters, 7 buildings for officers, a hospital, a bakery, 5 storehouses, a library, a magazine, and a guardhouse. There were corrals, stables, and another storehouse outside the stockade.

Although the Inspector General reported in 1872 that the post was "generally very healthy," in 1870 the Surgeon General had portrayed the area surrounding Fort Rice as being "generally sterile, and sparsely timbered and watered. . . . Drought is one of the chief difficulties, but not the only one--for what the drought spares, the grasshoppers are apt to devour."
By 1878 Fort Rice had outlived its usefulness, and the Army abandoned it. In 1884 it was turned over to the Interior Department. Today part of the site is a state park that included several reconstructed buildings from the fort.