Guarding the Northwest Frontier: The U.S. Military Post at Sauk Centre Minnesota 1862-1865

Michael Penrod



The intent of this project was to explore the history of the U.S. Military Post at Sauk Centre, Minnesota (Site # 21SN0198). The aim was to find out when it was built and why and to uncover any remaining physical evidence of the Post and the people who passed through it.

Archival research confirmed this fort and its soldiers were part of a thought-out War Department plan to keep the peace in central Minnesota during the American Civil War. This site and several others in the region were built and garrisoned with the intent of projecting United States power into the region.

Archaeological research confirmed the long-suspected site of the fort is correct, not that there was any real doubt. We now know how the stockade and the buildings it enclosed fit on the site. Using metal detectors, we located artifacts from the fort which helped us confirm the location of the stockade and associated structures. Conducting excavations of some of those structures we also found evidence of the fort’s people. We have an idea of the clothing they wore, of the dishes they used and of the food they ate. There is more work that could be done on this site and with the artifacts we collected.