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Missouri Forts of the Old West

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Fort D, Cape Girardeau, MissouriCape Girardeau Forts and the Battle of Cape Girardeau

Fort Belle Fontaine

Fort Cap-Au-Gris

Fort Carondelet

Fort Charette

Fort de Cavagnal

Fort Davidson and the Battle of Pilot Knob

Fort Hovey (Curtis)

Fort Leonard Wood

Fort Orleans

Fort Osage (Clark)

Fort Zumwalt

Buildings at Jefferson Barracks, MissouriJefferson Barracks

Joseph Robideaux' Trading Post

Liberty Arsenal

St. Louis Arsenal



Missouri Forts:


Cape Girardeau Forts and the Battle of Cape Girardeau -- See Full Article HERE.


Fort Belle Fontaine - -- See Full Article HERE.


Fort Cap-Au-Gris - Also called Fort Independence and Capo Gray, this fort was a temporary post built in the summer of 1813 near Troy, Missouri during the War of 1812. It was erected by Missouri Rangers upon the advisement of the inhabitants of Fort Howard to observe the Indian movements on the Mississippi River. Built under the direction of Nathan Boone, son of Daniel Boone, the fort was located about 18 miles east of Troy, Missouri.


After the defeat of Fort Johnson, U.S. Army soldiers under the command of Zachary Taylor retreated to Cap au Gris in October 1814. The Battle of the Sink Hole was fought near near the fort on May 24, 1815, after the official end of the War of 1812, between Missouri Rangers and Sac Indians led by Black Hawk. The Sac were unaware, or did not care, that their British patrons had signed the Treaty of Ghent with the U.S. The battle was fought in a low spot near the mouth of the Cuivre River near present day Old Monroe near Fort Howard and Fort Cap au Gris. An ambush by the Sac Indians on a group of rangers led to a prolonged siege in which seven Rangers and one Sac were killed.  In 1824 the Sac and Fox finally gave up all claim to the region.


A small village called Cap Au Gris grew up around the old fort and was officially laid out in 1845. It soon boasted two stores, a school and a population of about 60 people. The town was incorporated in 1876 under the name of "The Inhabitants of the Town of Wiota;" however, the people never became accustomed to the new name, and continued to use the old name. It became an early day shipping point for Troy and became a town of some importance, boasting a number of businesses. However, when the railroads arrived, they took away the village's trade and by 1888, the town was entirely gone.




Jean Pierre ChouteauFort Carondelet (1787-??) - Built about 1787 by Pierre Chouteau, this non-military fort was a trading post situated on the high ground known as Halley's Bluff, on the south bank of the Osage River, in Vernon County, Missouri. Later, the post became known as Fort Carondelet, named for Baron de Carondelet, the Spanish governor of Louisiana. Though no accurate description of the fort has been found, it  was probably the customary log trading-building, a blockhouse, a couple of cabins, surrounded by palisades, and garrisoned by a dozen or more of the employees of the fur trade company. Years after it was abandoned by the fur traders, early settlers found the remains of a stone wall, which is believed to have been the ruins of the old fort. Today, there is nothing left of the old post and Halley's Bluff is occupied by the Church of Christ at Zion's Retreat, a small denomination within the Latter Day Saint movement.


Fort Charette (1790-1804) - Established by French fur trader Joseph Chadron, this trading post near present-day Washington, Missouri was noted by Lewis and Clark during their Corps of Discovery exploration of the Missouri River. Stopping at the small outpost, they wrote in their diaries that it was the last white settlement they encountered. A village called La Charette grew up around the trading post and was one of the earliest melting-pot communities in the West, including Native Americans; African-Americans, French, Spanish, and German immigrants. In addition to Lewis and Clark, several other notable historic characters also passed through here, including Daniel Boone, Zebulon Montgomery Pike, John Colter , and a number of others who helped to shape history.


Unfortunately, the fort and the village was later washed away by the Missouri River in the floods of 1842-43. However, after several artifacts and remains of the old trading post were discovered in a farm field, the old post was painstakingly relocated and rebuilt in Washington. Today, the restored trading post, which is divided into a trade room, blacksmith's shop and frontier living quarters, houses an impressive collection of  artifacts and period furnishings.


More Information:


Fort Charrette Historic Village
4515 Old Highway 100 East
Washington, Missouri 63090


Kaw Indian Conference, 1857Fort de Cavagnal (1744-1760?) - Also known as Fort Cavagnolle, Post of the Missouri, and Fort de la Trinité, this was a French fort on the Missouri River, situated somewhere between Kansas City, Missouri and Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Built in 1744, the fort was the furthest west on the Missouri River at the time and was first commanded by François Coulon de Villiers. The fort also doubled as a trading post operated by Joseph Deruisseau who had a monopoly on trade on the Missouri River  from January 1, 1745 to May 20, 1750. It was described as: a small but substantial fort with a surrounding stockade of stout piles and with bastions at each of the four stockade corners. Internal buildings included a commandant's house, a guardhouse, a powder house, a trader's house, and a house for the trader's employees. The buildings were constructed of logs and most were covered with mud.


The exact location of the fort is not known because of conflicting reports about its relationship to trade with the Kanza tribe. British reports placed it below the confluence of the Kansas River and Missouri River in what is today Kansas City. However, most reports place it on the bluffs above the confluence of Salt Creek and the Missouri River just north of modern day Fort Leavenworth. This was a site of a major Kanza village, which Lewis and Clark visited on July 2, 1804. The fort was abandoned by France after Louisiana Territory was ceded to Spain in the treaties concluding the French and Indian War.




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