1873 Northern Pacific Railroad Survey

1873 Northern Pacific Railroad Survey

1873 Northern Pacific Railroad Survey

Funded by a grant from National Park Service, Our Montana board members, Howard Boggess, Mike Penfold as well as Dave Eckroth recently completed a ten year extensive study of the Northern Pacific Railroad survey of 1873. The Yel­low­stone Expe­di­tion, as it was called, was an attempt to develop a rail­road through the wild coun­try along the Yel­low­stone River. Sit­ting Bull, Crazy Horse, Gull and their bands of Sioux war­riors were ready to resist any attempt to build a road for the ‘iron horses” through their hunt­ing grounds. George Arm­strong Custer and 1500 men were enlisted to pro­tect the railroad sur­vey­ors. Sev­eral bat­tles and skir­mishes occurred that sum­mer of 1873, including one where Custer and a small con­tin­gent of his cav­alry came very close to get­ting sur­rounded by sev­eral hun­dred Sioux, a les­son he seemed to for­get when he returned to the Yel­low­stone three years later.

The Yel­low­stone Expe­di­tion had a pho­tog­ra­pher by the name of Pywell. He took many pic­tures of the Expe­di­tion which are located in the National Archives in Washington, DC. A few of Pywell’s images are displayed on this page.

Read more on this his­toric doc­u­ment in the July 27, 2013, Billings Gazette arti­cle, “Researchers uncover details of 1873 North­ern Pacific survey”.

Copies of the 600 page study of the history and battles of the 1873 Railroad Survey are avail­able for $25.00 each. Please send a check and your address to: Our Mon­tana, P.O. Box 699, MT 59103 and we will send one to you.