Fort McPherson (1)

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Fort McPherson (1) (1863-1880) - First established in 1863 as Cantonment McKean by Maj. George M. O'Brien, 7th Iowa Cavalry, and named for Maj. Thomas McKean (Cullum 647). Renamed Fort McPherson in 1866 after BG James B. McPherson (Cullum 1579). Abandoned in 1880. Also known as Fort Cottonwood Springs and Fort Cottonwood.


This post was established on 18 Sep 1863 to provide protection to travelers along the westbound trails to western destinations. At this point in Nebraska, many of the westbound trails followed the same path along the Platte River including the Oregon Trail and the Mormon Trail. As the Union Pacific Railroad expanded westward the role of Fort McPherson changed to included protection of the railroad surveyors, construction crews, and finally the operating trains.

The post was eventually built out to house five cavalry companies and continued to be active until abandoned on 29 Mar 1880. The buildings were sold on 23 May 1881 and the reservation was turned over to the Department of Interior on 5 Jan 1887. The site of the post cemetery was designated as Fort McPherson National Cemetery in 1873 and, as other forts in the area closed, the dead veterans were reinterred at Fort McPherson.

Current Status

A 1928 monument to the fort and U.S. Civil War veterans is located near the original post about 1 mile south of the Fort McPherson National Cemetery. The original log post headquarters building is located at the Lincoln County Historical Museum in North Platte, Nebraska. Building Image

Location: Four miles south of Maxwell in Lincoln County, Nebraska.

Maps & Images

Lat: 41.0161111 Long: -100.5175

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  • Elevation: 2,736'



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