Fort Lugenbeel

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Fort Lugenbeel (1856-1861) - One of three U.S. Army forts established to protect the portage around the Cascade Rapids of the Columbia River. Named after Captain (Bvt. Major) Pinkney Lugenbeel. Abandoned in 1861.

Fort Lugenbeel Blockhouse at Cascade Rapids, 1867 (University of Washington Archive)

Fort Lugenbeel History

Fort Lugenbeel was the last of three forts established to protect the required portage around the Cascade Rapids of the Columbia River, Skamania County, Washington. 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 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.

Col. Wright who had commanded the relief expedition ordered that two new blockhouses be built, one to replace the burned out Fort Cascades and a new blockhouse at the start of the portage that became Fort Lugenbeel. Capt. Winder was left with orders to defend the portage.

Location: Cascade Rapids of the Columbia River, Skamania County, Washington

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Lat: 45.67036 Long: -121.90876



Visited: Sep 2005

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