Fort Keogh
Fort Keogh is located on the western edge of Miles City, Montana. Occasionally spelled Fort Keough. Originally a military post, today it is a United States Department of Agriculture livestock and range research station. It is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was the development of Fort Keogh as a military installation that brought about the formation of the City of Miles City.

The need for a military fort
Shortly after the defeat of General George Armstrong Custer at the Battle of the Little Bighorn on June 25, 1876, the Army sent General Nelson A. Miles to the plains of Eastern Montana to establish a military fort. The order for the development of the fort was signed on August 28, 1876. The main goal of the Army at the post would be to bring the Indians in the region under control and onto reservations. The original site of the fort had actually been scouted in 1873 by Colonel D.S. Stanley while he led an expedition though the area. He felt that the location was good to supply troops throughout the region. However it wasn't until Custer's Last Stand that the Army took action to build an encampment. As plans were made to bring the Great Northern Railway to the region, the army went out to survey the land and develop maps. The troops came into contact with two tribes of Indians, the Sioux and the Crow. The Sioux had pushed the Crow out west of their lands as civilization moved west. The Crow proved to be great allies of the Army. General Miles established the Cantonment Tongue River at the confluence of the north flowing Tongue River (Montana) and the east flowing Yellowstone River. The selection of this site would provide easy access to the boats that would bring supplies up the Yellowstone to the fort. The original cantonment was referred to by several names during the first two years of existence. It wasn't until November 8, 1878 that the government officially named the fort Keogh. General Miles was a perfect pick for the command of the fort. He was a well respected leader not only within his troops, but with the Indians as well. With the promise of fair treatment and a better life, General Miles was able to bring Indian nations to the reservations. Not all of those nations immediately surrendered. But General Miles was in battle right beside his troops, even in the extreme cold of winter. With the Indians moving throughout the wide-open spaces of the Montana Territory, battles often took the troops hundreds of miles from the fort.

Honoring a fallen soldier
The fort was named for an adjutant of General Custer's, Myles Keogh, who was also killed in the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Keogh was born in Ireland on March 25, 1840. He had 12 brothers and sisters, and came from a very comfortable background. Feeling the need for adventure, Keogh opted to leave the farming to his brother and enter into battle. In 1860 he went to Italy after the Pope called for Irish men to come take up the fight to save the Papal States. In those battles he won two medals, and later went to Rome to join the Papal Guard. But after the action was over, Keogh still felt the need to be in the thick of the battle. He resigned his post, and in March 1862 he headed to the United States to take up battle in the American Civil War. He was given the rank of Captain in the Union Army, and proved his ability again and again. He won many commendations, and his bravery in the Battle of Gettysburg earned him the rank of brevet Major. Keogh took a placement in the west wars in 1863 and began working under Custer's command until his death in battle. Keogh's last minutes of battle were as tense as Custer's. He too was surrounded by Indians and stood his ground with the company he commanded around him. His body was later found in the center of all of the soldiers. He also was the rider of the famous horse "Comanche" that was found walking around the battlefield. The horse was nursed to health and became a legend.

With the Army comes the Wild West
The arrival of the Army brought the need for business. Soldiers needed to dine, relax and sometimes have a wild time. Named after the fort's leader, Milestown was developed, in a very nondescript way, to meet those needs. The Miles City Chamber of Commerce web site noted: "According to the diaries kept by George Miles, the nephew of the Colonel who traveled with his uncle, a man named Mat Carrol set up some barrels under a tarp and started selling whiskey. When Colonel Miles got tired of having his guard house filled to overflowing--whiskey causing him, Miles said, more trouble than the Indians--he ordered Carrol and the other purveyors of liquor to leave the military reservation. "An employee of Carrol's, one John Carter, rode east on his big bay horse until he was the required two miles (3 km) away, beyond the edge of the reservation. He found a flat spot along the Yellowstone, built a crude log hut out of driftwood and started selling whiskey. The soldiers soon found the place, other merchants followed, and Miles City was born." Milestown soon developed a rowdy side and was responsible for many a drunken soldier. About a year after settling in the area, General Miles moved the fort to the present location just a couple of miles southwest of the original site. He hoped that the extra distance from the town would slow the unruliness. It was a worthy effort, but quite ineffective. Now the original town site was even further from the fort, so the town picked up and moved to its current location. In the book "Recollections of Old Milestown" by Samuel Gordon, an incident of frontier confrontation was noted. It seems that Riverside Park, which still stands today, was rumored to be up for the taking. Old West rule was that if a man were to get 4 logs placed on the ground in a square, he had the foundation of a building, and the land was then his. It seems that one such squatter had only placed 2 of the needed logs, and went to get the other two. Passing by, a second subject observed the two logs, and saw an opportunity. He placed his two logs with the two currently on site, and had the mindset to stand his ground. He did not feel that the first subject was going to do more than object and then leave. But upon the return of the first subject, the reaction was not as expected. The mild mannered first squatter was dismissed by the second squatter with a "two logs counted nothing". But the original claimant reverted to the unforeseen use of a revolver to settle the dispute. Once the gun made its appearance, the second subject realized that all the talking of legal standing would not sway the desperate man, and he abandoned his claim to the area. It wasn't too late into the afternoon that the rumor made its way back to the fort and a group of soldiers were sent to send the group of squatters packing.