Fort Ripley (1)

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Fort Ripley (1) (1849-1877) - Construction began in November 1848 and the post was first garrisoned 13 Apr 1849. The Fort was initially named Fort Marcy (1), and then renamed Fort Gaines after General Edmund P. Gaines the following year. In 1850 it was renamed in honor of Brigadier General Eleazar W. Ripley. Abandoned on 11 Jul 1877.

Looking Across the Mississippi River toward the Fort Ripley site on the Other Side
Fort Ripley Marker Text
Fort Ripley Marker Site


Fort Ripley was built for the purpose of establishing a presence on the frontier of the Minnesota Territory; to oversee the Winnebago Indians, (Ho-chunks) who were being moved to a new reservation nearby; and to serve as a buffer between the feuding Dakota (Eastern Sioux) and Ojibwa (Chippewa) tribes.

The fort site is south of Brainerd, Minnesota on the west side of the Mississippi River. The historic Fort Ripley site is located within the boundaries of active Camp Ripley Military Reservation in Morrison County. The original boundary of the Fort extended across the Mississippi River to the east. Construction began in November 1848 on the west side of the upper Mississippi River opposite the mouth of the Nokasippi River.

On 13 Apr 1849, the post's first garrison, Company A, 6th U.S. Infantry, arrived from Fort Snelling under the command of Captain John B. Todd.

Fort Ripley like many other Forts kept weather records. Many surgical personnel passed through the doors of the Fort’s hospital during the years of operation. Under orders of the Surgeon General, the surgeon at each post was responsible for keeping a weather log.

In January 1877, the laundry, commissary, and officers quarters were destroyed as the result of a chimney fire. No longer needed on the western frontier and no longer troubled by Indians, the War Department decided to close the post permanently rather than rebuild. The post was abandoned on 11 Jul 1877.

Current Status

The site contains an historical information sign. There are remaining ground depressions and remnants of a magazine. Visitors must enter the Camp Ripley grounds and be ESCORTED to the old fort site. The Camp Ripley entrance is near the junction of Highways 115 & 371. There is a Military Museum at Camp Ripley. Camp Ripley Cemetery in the Camp has graves of persons contemporary with the Fort such as first area Postmaster Martin Hall (escort required). Fort Ripley Cemetery is east of the town of Fort Ripley and Hwy 371.

Location: South of Brainerd, Minnesota at Camp Ripley Military Reservation, Morrison County, Minnesota.

Maps & Images

Lat: 46.175699 Long: -94.373051

  • Multi Maps from ACME
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  • Maps from Google
  • Elevation: 1161'



Visited: Visited area 10 Sep 2013

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