Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sibley Island or Burnt Boat Island?

This image is taken from the hilltop at Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park looking south southeast. In the center line is Sibley Island.
Sibley Island or Burnt Boat Island?
One North Dakota Landmark, Two Names
By Dakota Wind
BISMARCK, N.D. - In the 1830s, Prinz Maximilian ascended the Missouri River with the artist Karl Bodmer. On coming up the Missouri River, they noted a burned out steamboat which had run aground on a sandbar. The steamboat as called "The Assiniboine," it was the second steamboat to travel upriver from St. Louis to Fort Union. It became grounded and overheated and burned. The sandbar grew to an island and is new part of the west bank of the Missouri River.

A different view of Sibley Island, looking west from the University of Mary, Bismarck, ND.

The island was renamed after General Sibley and his campaign against the Dakota in 1863. On July 29, 1863, Sibley engaged a force of perhaps as many as 2600 Dakota and Lakota warriors and fought them for three days in a battle larger and lasting longer than the Little Bighorn. Sibley was unable to take prisoners and could not estimate how many his men killed. The Sioux were encamped on the bluff overlooking the Missouri River and Apple Creek and held their ground until their women and children escaped. The "battle" was essentially a stalemate.

North of the Bismarck Landing is Burnt Boat Recreation and boat landing.

There is a Burnt Boat Drive in north Bismarck, ND. It was named for an incident on a sandbar island on the Missouri River north of the Bismarck Landing.

In the 1860s, miners descended the Missouri River from Fort Benton, Dakota Territory (Montana), to spend their loot somewhere downriver. The miners' keelboat was either hung up on a sandbar or they decided to rest for a bit on the sandbar. A Lakota woman was bathing her baby on the same sandbar. She and her baby were shot and killed by the miners. Lakota warriors retaliated by firing on the keelboat. The miners returned fire. On the keelboat was a small cannon mounted on a swivel and secured to the bottom of the boat. The cannon came loose and fired into the floor of the keelboat, firmly keeping the boat from going anyway. The boat caught fire and the miners were all killed. Several pounds of gold dust was lost.

The sandbar island became known as Burnt Boat Island, and later a nearby road became known as Burnt Boat Drive. For a virtual tour of Burnt Boat Landing Recreational Area visit: http://www.realnd.com/burntboatlanding1.htm.

1 comment:

  1. So was the island named for the burned boat in the 1830s or the miners boat in the 1860s?