Fort Cascades

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Fort Cascades (1855-1861) - One company sized post using blockhouses, established 30 Sep 1855. The compound was enclosed by a fence measuring 590 feet on the north by 338 feet on the west. The south and the east were bordered by the Columbia River. The U. S. Army abandoned the fort on 6 Nov 1861 to turn its attention to the U.S. Civil War.

Fort Cascades Plan
Fort Cascades View


Fort Cascades was one of four forts established to protect the required portage around the Cascade Rapids of the Columbia River. Fort Cascades was built at the lower end of the rapids to protect the portage road. Fort Rains was built to protect the middle section of the portage and Fort Lugenbeel was located at the beginning of the portage.

On March 26, 1856, a group of Yakama and Cascade Indians attacked the white settlements at the Cascades. Settlers took refuge at Fort Rains and Bradford's Store. Fort Cascades was burned to the ground.

On March 27, 40 dragoons arrived from The Dalles under Lieutenant Philip H. Sheridan. Sheridan attempted to attack Indians engaged in horse races at the upper landing, but his movement was compromised by the bugles from a larger force under Lieutenant Edward J. Steptoe. Gunfire was exchanged and the rest of the 27th and 28th, with the Indians surrendering late in the evening on March 28, 1856. The Yakamas fled leaving the Cascades behind. The Cascade Indians surrendered without a fight. Steptoe summarily tried and hanged nine of the Cascade Indians.

Location: Hamilton Island, Columbia River,
Skamania County, Washington.

Maps & Images

Lat: 45.63143 Long: -121.98136

GPS Locations:



Fortification ID:

  • WA0100 - Fort Cascades

Visited: Sep 2005

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