Rock Island Military Reservation

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Rock Island Military Reservation (1809-Present) - A U.S. Army Military Reservation established in 1809 by Act of Congress on Rock Island in Rock Island County, Illinois. Active military reservation.


The United States government obtained Rock Island as a part of the 1804 treaty with the Sauk and Mesquakie Indian Tribes. Congress made the island a military reservation in 1809 and the U.S. Army constructed Fort Armstrong (3) on the Island in 1816. Fort Armstrong (3) was garrisoned with federal troops until 1836 and by militia troops until 1845 when it was abandoned.

In 1862, during the U.S. Civil War, the reservation was designated Rock Island Arsenal by an act of Congress. The first commander, Major Charles P. Kingsbury (Cullum 1018), designed and built the Clock Tower Building which remains today as the headquarters of the U.S. Corps of Engineers, Rock Island District. In December 1863 Rock Island Barracks was established on the reservation as a Confederate prisoner of war camp that housed some 12,192 prisoners during the war. A hospital complex was built to treat the sick prisoners and a Confederate Cemetery was established to bury the 1,964 prisoners that died at the camp. In 1863, a post cemetery was established to bury Union soldiers who died at the post. That cemetery became the Rock Island National Cemetery and now occupies some 70 acres.

After the U.S. Civil War the Rock Island Barracks was removed and the Arsenal began a long period of expansion that continues today. Many of the early buildings remain as a part of the Arsenal or other activities.

Current Status

Active military reservation on Rock Island, Rock Island County, Illinois.

Location: On Rock Island, Rock Island County, Illinois.

Maps & Images

Lat: 41.5187907 Long: -90.5416115

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  • Elevation: 587'



Visited: No

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