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Fort Robinson (Neb.) Reference Collection

RG1517.AM:  Fort Robinson (Neb.) Reference Collection

Records and papers:  1876-1993, n.d.
Dawes County, Neb.:  Military post
Size:  1.0 cu.ft.; 2 boxes


In March 1871, the United States Government authorized the establishment of a military camp at the Red Cloud Indian Agency on the White River. Home of some 13,000 Indians, the agency was one of the most troublesome spots on the Plains. The camp was named Camp Robinson in honor of Lt. Levi H. Robinson, who had been killed by Indians the previous month. In May 1874, the camp was relocated west of the agency and in June 1878, was officially designated Fort Robinson.

Between 1876 and 1890 Fort Robinson played an active role in the Indian Wars. In May of 1877, Crazy Horse surrendered at Fort Robinson and was killed there on September 5, 1877, while resisting imprisonment in the post guardhouse. The following year, Cheyenne Indians led by Chief Dull Knife escaped from their reservation in the Indian Territory and a group of some 150 were finally captured by troops from Fort Robinson. Imprisoned in a cavalry barracks, the Cheyenne refused to return to the Indian Territory and attempts were made to starve them into submission. Finally, on the night of January 9, 1879, the Cheyenne escaped and began a running fight with the Fort Robinson garrison. During the next two weeks troops from the fort pursued the Indians in the nearby Butte country, and finally killed or captured the last of them on January 22.

During the 1880s, Fort Robinson reverted to garrison life and in 1885, the Ninth Cavalry, an all Negro unit, arrived to occupy the post. During this time, the fort was enlarged and military training was a major activity. With the advent of the Ghost Dance religion among the Sioux in 1890, troops from Fort Robinson served in the campaign that culminated in the Battle of Wounded Knee on December 29, 1891. Following this, the last major battle of the Indian Wars, the Fort was garrisoned by the Tenth, Eighth, and Twelfth Cavalries. During World War I, activity at the Fort was reduced due to the demand for troops to serve in Europe.

In 1919, Fort Robinson became a quartermaster remount depot, eventually becoming the largest such facility in the world. Thousands of horses and mules were bred and trained for use by the Army, and remount stallions were distributed to breeders throughout the area, greatly improving the local stock. The Fort was also home of the Fourth Field Artillery Battalion from 1928-1932, and during the Second World War became the site of a K-9 corps training center and a German prison-of-war camp. In 1948-1949, Fort Robinson was deactivated as a military post, and the reservation became a beef cattle research station operated by the United States Department of Agriculture. Today, in conjunction with the beef cattle research, Fort Robinson is a Nebraska State Park. Both the University of Nebraska and the Nebraska State Historical Society operate branch museums at the Fort, which is jointly administered with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.


This collection of the records relating to Fort Robinson is arranged in the following way:

Series 1 - Narratives of Fort Robinson, undated

Series 2 - Newspaper articles, 1886-1974, undated

Series 3 - Correspondence, 1928-1930, undated

Series 4 - Prisoners of war, 1943-1961, undated

Series 5 - Interviews, 1965-1966

Series 6 - Pamphlets and programs

Series 7 - Miscellany, 1876-c.1993, undated

The materials in this collection relate to the operation of Fort Robinson, Nebraska, a military camp in Nebraska that was started in 1871 and deactivated in 1949. It is now a place of beef cattle research and museums.

The materials in this collection are associated only with certain functions of Fort Robinson. Most of the official Fort records are Public Records (RG0501), which are described and housed in a separate collection. There are several biographical sketches and newspaper articles (both in German and English). A larger portion of this collection deals with prisoners-of-war and the miscellany series. This collection would be helpful to those who need/want research dealing with the basics of Fort Robinson. Any details should be gotten from the public manuscript records. See also RG0501: Fort Robinson, Nebraska for official public records relating to the Fort.  The Nebraska History Blog contains additional information about Fort Robinson.


Series 1 - Narratives of Fort Robinson, undated

Box 1
  1. Carter, Major General William Harding - original & copy
  2. Danker, Donald F.
  3. Latrom, R. J.
  4. McLaughlin, James
  5. Nelson, Vance E.
  6. Olson, James C.
  7. Robinson, H. S.

Series 2 - Newspaper articles, 1886-1974, undated

  1. 1886, 1934, 1936, 1938, 1959, undated
  2. 1886-1887, 1936-1937, 1942, 1947-1949, 1955, 1974, undated (see OB060)
  3. German Newspaper, undated (see OB060)

Series 3 - Correspondence, 1928-1930, undated

  1. "Memory Leaves", 1928-1930
  2. Christmas Cards, undated
  3. General, undated (see also: Series 4, Subseries 2, Folder 1; and Series 4, Subseries 3, Folder 4)

Series 4 - Prisoners of war, 1943-1961, undated
Subseries 1: Wolfgang Dorsch (originals in German; English translations as indicated)

  1. Daybook, 1943
  2. Diary, January 1, 1944 - January 28, 1946 (with translation)
  3. Passport (with translation)

Subseries 2: Karl Koehler (materials in German, transcribed in English)

  1. Correspondence, undated

Subseries 3: Karl Deyhle (materials in German, typed out in English)

  1. Correspondence, undated

Subseries 4: Albert Biegel (materials in German)

  1. Certificate of completion for courses in American history and geography, 1945; ticket for "Political Enlightenment" lecture, undated
  2. "Kleiner Fuhrer durch Amerika" ("Little Guide Through America") - booklet given to each prisoner-of-war
  3. English language practice notebook
  4. Diary kept at Fort Robinson, ca. 1944-1945 (table of contents, in English, provided); Diary of trip from Fort Robinson to England, 1946 (loose translation provided)
  5. List of purchases by Biegel in prisoner-of-war canteen, 1945; color drawing of prisoner-of-war camp, 1946; biographical note on Albert Biegel

Subseries 5: Josef Topp (materials in German)

  1. Reminiscence, covering 1943-1947; Typescript of diary, May-November 1943; official questionnaire re: captivity, 1961.

Subseries 6: Heinz Moderhack (materials in German; itinerary and ID card translated)

  1. Certificates of Achievement (for class on American History, for credit balance, and for discharge); copy of itinerary of travel as P.W. (with translation); copy of identification card (with translation); identification double photo; pass for "Political Enlightenment" lecture, stamped June-July 1945

Subseries 7: General, 1944, 1946, 1949, undated

  1. Certificates
  2. Visitor Pass
  3. Correspondence - materials in German, 1946, 1949, undated
  4. Evidence of Support
  5. Miscellany Papers in German
  6. Christmas Pamphlets, 1944
  7. Post-war letter of former P.W. Kurt Hockmuth, 1946

Series 5 - Interviews, 1965-1966

  1. Mann, Simpson, 1965
  2. Willy, H. (re: Robert Anderson), 1966

Series 6 - Pamphlets and programs

Box 2
  1. General
  2. Holiday

Series 7 - Miscellany, 1876-c.1993, undated

  1. Scrapbook items (see OB060)
  2. Certificates - Allen Upton, 1876 & Joseph H. Hobson, 1880
  3. Excerpts from "The Orphans & Bastards of the S.S.D."
  4. "Intimate Glimpses Behind the Olympic Team Jumping"
  5. "Exhibition at Fort Robinson" - Margaret Phipps Leonard
  6. Section of my Horse Army Collection - J. C. Stratton
  7. "Walter Reed at Fort Robinson" - Roger T. Grange
  8. Minutes of Meeting to Locate Last Camp of Crazy Horse
  9. Articles
  10. Eighth Grade Question Book & World History Exam
  11. Miscellany
  12. Veterinary procedures manual, c. 1925
  13. The Chronilian (civilian employees newsletter), Jan., June, 1943
    a. The Chronilian (civilian employees newsletter), June-July, 1943
  14. Materials relating to Arlene Erlanger, one of the founders of the Dogs for Defense program (K-9 Corps)
  15. Materials relating to K-9 Corps member "Bozo", trained at Fort Robinson, c.1943
  16. Correspondence and clippings relating to the use of Fort Robinson during the 1960s (collected by Dr. S.C. Eittreim, a veterinarian for the U.S.D.A. at Fort Robinson)
  17. Basic Service Dog Training instructions (Lesson 1, 8 pages)
  18. War Dog Certificates: "Mike"
  19. Special Orders, no. 204, 1943, Sept. 11
  20. Newsletters - "Ft. Robinson Hoof Beats & Barks"
  21. Daniel Raymond, 8th Cavalry
  22. Dogs for Defense, Inc. and misc. K-9 training brochures and forms
  23. Letters from soldiers to Margaret Norman, Whitney, Nebraska, 1939-1944
  24. Henry L. Jack, 1st Cavalry, Troop L, 1899
  25. Misc. reunion materials, 1981-1993
  26. Letter to "Lucile" from cousin "William" written from Fort Robinson, Oct. 6, 1902
  27. Charles H. Lieurance, Remount Detachment, Quartermaster Depot, 1945-1948



Crazy Horse
Forts and fortifications
Indians of North America
Military Facilities
Prisoners of war
World War, 1939-1941


12-26-2006   Revised TMM
06-21-2013   Revised TMM


For additional information about this collection, please contact our Library Staff.

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Last updated 21 June 2013

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