The story of Fort Atkinson is not the stuff of which legends are made. No famous battles were fought here. No glorious victories or ignoble defeats occurred in its vicinity. No great decisions were made within its walls. In this way, the story of Fort Atkinson is like that of most of the army posts in the upper Mississippi Valley. Fort Atkinson was built to keep the Winnebago Indians on Neutral Ground (a 40-mile-wide strip of land established by the Treaty of 1830) after their removal from Wisconsin in 1840, and to provide protection for them from the Sioux, Sauk, Fox and from white intruders on Indian land. On May 31, 1840, a camp was made on the site of the future fort. The camp was named Atkinson in honor of the commanding officer in charge of the Winnebago resettlement efforts. Of the six years regular army troops were garrisoned at Fort Atkinson, half were spent garrisoned at Fort Atkinson, half were spent constructing the fort. Despite crowded conditions, the fort was essentially complete by the end of summer, 1842. It included 24 buildings and a stockade wall. Outside the 11'9" wall were 14 additional buildings. On June 20, 1846, the regular army troops were pulled out of Fort Atkinson to fight in the war with Mexico. On July 15, 1846, Iowa volunteers staffed the fort and continued to carry out their duties until the post was abandoned. In June, 1848, the Winnebago Tribe was removed from Iowa just as they had been from Wisconsin. With their removal from Iowa, the reason for Fort Atkinson was removed as well and the last company of infantry marched out of its gates on February 14, 1849. *Excerpts from the Fort Atkinson Technical Report, by Bradley Williams.

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