Fort Williams (12)

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Fort Williams (12) (1862-1863) - A U.S. Civil War era Fort established in response to the 1862 Sioux uprising. Located near Iowa Lake, Emmet County, Iowa. Named Fort Williams after Captain William Williams the first fort commander. Abandoned in 1863. Also known as Chain Lakes Fort, Iowa Lakes Fort, Fort Webster (6), Camp Iowa Lakes, Camp Williams, and Fort Schuyler (6)

Fort Williams Sketch.


Fort Williams was established on the eastern shore of Iowa Lake just 500 feet south of the Minnesota border in Emmet County, Iowa.

This fort and five others were established as a result of the 1862 Sioux Indian uprising and the slaughtered of some 800 settlers by raiding Sioux warriors in August 1862. This line of forts provided large stockades to hold local settlers during times of Indian alarm. Each of the forts was manned by a detachment of troops of the Northern Iowa Border Brigade, who were organized by the Iowa governor to deal with the crisis. Captain William Williams was commissioned as Commander of Company A, who were posted to build the Fort at Lake Iowa.

Fort Williams was built as a rectangular fort with sod and log walls. Construction was slow and the winter of 1862-63 was difficult for the officers and men of Company A with the quarters and the stockade incomplete. Captain Williams and company A were relieved in December 1862 by Captain Ingham and company B who completed the fort.

Fort Replica Blockhouse at Fort Dodge.

The west line of the fort consisted of seven log cabins each with windows and doors facing the parade. Four of the cabins housed the enlisted men while the remainder were used as a kitchen, mess room, and orderly room. Opposite the seven cabins across the parade were the stables with room for 52 horses in 26 double stalls. The northwest corner bastion was a two-story structure housing the officers. The southeast corner bastion likely served as a tack room.

When Captain Williams left in late December the fort was complete except for roofing on three of the buildings. When finished it was the first of the brigade forts completed and was probably the best of them. As-built, it could hold a complete company of men with their horses.

The post was abandoned late in 1863.

Current Status

Fort Williams Replica in Fort Dodge.

Archaeological remains only at the original site of the fort. A replica of the fort stands now at the site of Fort Dodge in the city of Fort Dodge. Some liberties were taken in the construction of the replica and some major features are absent such as the sod wall on one side. Within the fort structure is a museum that more attuned to the Fort Dodge era (1850-1853) than the Fort Williams era (1862-1863)

Location: Iowa Lake, Emmet County, Iowa.

Maps & Images

Lat: 43.49889 Long: -94.44529

  • Multi Maps from ACME
  • Maps from Bing
  • Maps from Google
  • Elevation: 1,232~'

GPS Locations:

See Also:


  • Whittaker, William E., Ed., Frontier Forts of Iowa: Indians Traders and Soldiers, 1682-1862, University of Iowa Press, Iowa City, 2009, ISBN 978-1-58729-831-8, 287 pages.
  • Ingham, William H., The Iowa Northern Border Brigade of 1862-3, The Annals of Iowa 5, 1902, Pdf, pages 496-497, 500
  • McKusick, Marshall, The Iowa Northern Border Brigade, 1973, Office of the State Archaeologist, University of Iowa, Iowa City, 74-20374, 172 pages, page 68-72, 103-107.
  • McMusick, Marshall. Major William Williams at Iowa Lake in 1862. The Annals of Iowa 42 (1975), 569-582.Pdf


Visited: 29 Jul 2020 Reproduction fort in Fort Dodge City

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