Cantonment Stevens

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Cantonment Stevens (1853-1854) - A U.S. Army Cantonment established by 2nd Lieutenant John Mullan, (Cullum 1550), 1st U.S. Artillery, in 1853 near present-day Stevensville, Ravalli County, Montana. Named Cantonment Stevens after Territorial Governor Isaac I. Stevens, (Cullum 986), of Washington who headed the expedition that established the Cantonment. Abandoned in 1854.

Cantonment Stevens from the Railroad Survey Report. Cantonment Stevens is shown on the left with Flag Flying. The post on the right surrounded by teepees is presumed to be Fort Owen


Established in 1853 by 2nd Lieutenant John Mullan and a detachment of regular soldiers during the exploration and survey of possible railroad routes from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean headed by Territorial Governor Isaac I. Stevens of Washington. Governor Stevens later wrote in glowing terms of Lt. Mullans exploits and leadership in the official report, including the description of the establishment of Cantonment Stevens:

"On the 8th of October, 1853, he (Lt. Mullan) established his camp ten miles above Fort Owen, at a point where there was excellent grass, wood, and water, and where, in consequence of its being a little removed from the Indian camps, he could better regulate the intercourse of his men with them; and in November, notwithstanding his trip in the meantime to the Jefferson Fork of the Missouri River, he succeeded in getting into a state of forwardness the erection of four log buildings for the accommodation of his party, one being a storehouse. Leaving a portion of his party behind to continue the work, he started for Fort Hall, and on his return found the buildings ready for his reception. This was all done by the labor of his own party, the only additional expense being the hire of some oxen to haul logs, and the purchase of hardware, not exceeding in all twenty-five dollars. There was a corral attached for animals. To this post, he gave the name of Cantonment Stevens."

Cantonment Stevens was abandoned sometime in 1854. Lt. Mullan departed the expedition on 28 Feb 1855 for other duties but returned later as construction superintendent of the Mullan Wagon Road from Fort Walla Walla, Washington, to Fort Benton (1), Montana between 1860 and 1863.

Current Status

No remains and no markers were found.

Location: Stevensville, Ravalli County, Montana.
The map point is the GNIS coordinates and may not be accurate.

Maps & Images

Lat: 46.34159 Long: -114.13149

  • Multi Maps from ACME
  • Maps from Bing
  • Maps from Google
  • Elevation: 3,435'

GPS Locations:

See Also:



Fortification ID:

  • MT0188 - Cantonment Stevens

Visited: Area 21 Jul 2015

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