History of Fort Lapwai
Established 6 Aug 1862 by Major Jacob S. Rinearson, Company E, 1st Washington Territory Volunteer Infantry and Company F, 1st Oregon Volunteer Cavalry, to prevent violence between miners and the Nez Perce Indian Tribe on the reservation. The post was garrisoned by the 1st Oregon Volunteer Infantry through June 1866 when they removed to Fort Dalles to be muster out. The post was reestablished on 23 Nov 1866 by 1st Lt. John H. Gallager and Company E, 8th U.S. Cavalry from Angel Island, California.
The Nez Perce War broke out in June 1877 and Fort Lapwai was the center of operations until the Nez Perce crossed the Bitterroot Mountains into western Montana. After the surrender of the Nez Perce in October 1877, the fort’s stockade held captured Nez Perce prisoners returning to the reservation.
Abandoned on 8 Aug 1884 in accordance with S.O. 109, HQ Department of the Columbia, dated 26 Jul 1884. The garrison marched 364 miles to Boise Barracks arriving on 29 August 1884.
Part of the Nez Perce National Historical Park, Nez Perce County, Idaho. A few original structures still stand, including the 1883 duplex Officers' Quarters which is closed to the public at this time.
Location: Nez Perce National Historical Park, Nez Perce County, Idaho.
Maps & Images
Lat: 46.45 Long: -116.8175
- Roberts, Robert B., Encyclopedia of Historic Forts: The Military, Pioneer, and Trading Posts of the United States, Macmillan, New York, 1988, 10th printing, ISBN 0-02-926880-X, page 252
Fort Lapwai Picture Gallery
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