• 1875 St. Louis to St. Paul to Bismarck

  • General discussion about locomotives, rolling stock, and equipment
General discussion about locomotives, rolling stock, and equipment

Moderator: John_Perkowski

  by garykoos
During the 1875 to 1876 period cavalry troops were transported by train from Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis thru St. Paul and on to Bismarck, ND where they were then dispatched to local cavalry and infantry posts.

I am trying to identify specific engines and cars that would have been in service at that time on that line and if possible a picture and description of the engine, passenger and freight cars.

Can anyone identify the equipment and a link to photos and/or diagrams of them?

Thanks in advance for your assistance


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  by mtuandrew
Good evening, Gary,

I'd try the Northern Pacific Railway Historical Association (http://www.nprha.org/) and Great Northern Railway Historical Society (http://www.gnrhs.org/) for sure, since the troop trains would have traversed the NP from Fargo to Bismarck and the GN predecessor St. Paul and Pacific from St. Paul to Fargo. Also, both of those historical societies are well-established and have a fairly extensive set of photo archives.

Beyond St. Paul, the troops probably traversed the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul (Milwaukee Road Historical Association - http://www.mrha.com/.) From Wisconsin, Iowa or Illinois onward, the Chicago & Alton would be a decent but not sure bet. Do you know whether they boarded at the barracks proper (which would also include the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern - http://www.mopac.org/) or marched to St. Louis?

It sounds like you're working on a book or other project - what about? Best of luck!
  by garykoos
Thanks for the repy and the leads. Yes, a book. Most of the troops that were assigned to the 7th Cavalry the summer and fall of 1875 were killed at the Little Big Horn with Custer. As new recruits they had little training or experience in indian warfare or life in the cavalry. I thought looking at the last year of their life on a day to day basis might be interesting. Going on 5 years of research now and am getting down to the smaller details, ie, their train ride from Jefferson to Ft. Lincoln.

Thanks again for the assistance.

Gary Koos
  by mtuandrew
With that in mind, I'd also suggest combing the Library of Congress photo and map archives, and contacting the Minnesota Historical Society. With the US-Dakota War of 1862 a recent memory, it's very possible that a Minnesota newspaper or government entity felt the 7th Cav's train movement to be photo-worthy. Perhaps you can dig up some photos of them at Fort Snelling or in downtown St. Paul if they disembarked there?