Camp Sturgis

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Camp Sturgis (1878-1878) - A US Army Camp established in 1878 near Sturgis, Meade County, South Dakota by Colonel Samuel D. Sturgis (Cullum 1303), then commander of the 7th U.S. Cavalry. The post was named Camp Sturgis after 2nd Lt. James G. Sturgis (Cullum 2578) who was killed on 25 Jun 1876 at Battle of Little Big Horn. Lt. Sturgis was the son of Colonel Sturgis. Abandoned in 1878. Also known as Camp J. G. Sturgis.

Camp Sturgis Marker with Bear Butte in the background. Camp Sturges was located along Spring Creek below.


In the aftermath of the Custer Massacre at the Little Big Horn, a decision was made to construct a major U.S. Army post to monitor the Sioux reservation and to protect the mining interest developing in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Several of the newly formed towns in and around the Black Hills vied for the post and the economic benefits that would result. Some of the established towns like Spearfish and Rapid City were rejected for a relatively undeveloped area that became the city of Sturgis. The townsite was just a short distance from the fort site at a spot selected by Lt. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan, (Cullum 1612). Sheridan also laid out the fort plan from a nearby hilltop by pointing his sword where he wanted the buildings placed.

Two Temporary staging camps were to be established near the area's most prominent geographic feature, Bear Butte.

Captain Leslie Smith reached Bear Butte with Company F, 1st U.S. Infantry, and a supply train from Fort Abraham Lincoln on 25 Jun 1878 and was soon followed by five more companies of infantry to set up a support base for the cavalry. Smith established the infantry Camp at Bear Creek on the southeast side of Bear Mountains.

On 18 Jul 1878 after a 12 Day march from Fort Abraham Lincoln Colonel Sturgis himself reached Bear Butte with the headquarters company and companies A, C, D, E, G, I, K and M of the 7th U.S. Cavalry. The camp was set on Spring Creek on the northwest side of Bear Butte opposite the infantry camp. The camp was named for Lt. J. G. Sturgis, Colonel Sturges' son who had been killed at the Little Big Horn.

The temporary camps were abandoned on 28 Aug 1878 with the troops moving to the construction camp, Camp Ruhlen now Fort Meade (1),

Current Status

Camp Sturgis Marker Text.
Colonel Sturgis Statue in Sturgis City Park.

Marker only, the site of the camps is on private property and not accessible to the public. The GPS location is the marker location.

A statue of Colonel Sturgis is located in the Sturgis City Park on the east end of town Hwy 34/79.

Location: Sturgis, Meade County, South Dakota.

Maps & Images

Lat: 44.48874 Long: -103.44736

  • Multi Maps from ACME
  • Maps from Bing
  • Maps from Google
  • Elevation: .....'

GPS Locations:

See Also:


  • Roberts, Robert B., Encyclopedia of Historic Forts: The Military, Pioneer, and Trading Posts of the United States, Macmillan, New York, 1988, 10th printing, ISBN 0-02-926880-X, page 731.
  • Lee, Robert, Fort Meade and the Black Hills, University of Nebraska Press, 1 May 1991, 321 pages, page 18-30. Google Books


Visited: 26 Jun 2020

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