Camp Three Forks Owyhee

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Camp Three Forks Owyhee (1866-1871) - A Snake War U.S. Army Camp established in 1866 as Camp Winthrop in Owyhee County, Idaho. Renamed Camp Three Forks Owyhee in 1867. Used as a prison camp for Indians toward the conclusion of the war. Abandoned in 1871. Also known as Fort Winthrop.


Established on 26 Sep 1866 during the Snake War by Bvt. Lt. Colonel (reg. Captain) John J. Coppinger, 23rd U.S. Infantry with some 200 men of the 23rd U.S. Infantry. The post was ordered built by Bvt. Major General Frederick Steele, (Cullum 1196) in response to hostile Indian activities in the area. The post was located on Soldier Creek at the base of present day South Mountain south of Triangle, in Owyhee County, Idaho.

The camp took six weeks to construct. The log buildings included a large barracks, two sets of officers' quarters, a quartermaster storehouse, and other support structures.

Once established, the Camp sent out scouting parties in response to reports of hostile Indian activities throughout 1867 and 1868 in all kinds of conditions including deep snow. Sometimes these scouting parties reported encounters with hostiles such as an 23 Apr 1868 when Bvt. Lt. Colonel K. Brady led a force of 26 men and 6 Indian scouts against hostiles and reported 5 Indians killed and 3 captured. More often than not the scouting parties reported no hostiles encounters. In September 1868 scouting parties captured 16 Indians and Two families turned themselves in at the camp. As the war wound down in 1868, the post was used as a temporary prison camp for "lately hostile" Indians who turned themselves in or were captured.

The post was abandoned by the U.S. Army on 23 Oct 1871 and the buildings auctioned off. The site became a part of a cattle ranch after 1884.

Current Status


Location: Owyhee County, Idaho.

Maps & Images

Lat: 42.71583 Long: -117.02444

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  • Elevation: 5,105'

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