Prairie du Chien, United States Garrison

  • George Catlin, Prairie du Chien, United States Garrison, 1835-1836, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr., 1985.66.333

Prairie du Chien has been one of the earliest and principal trading posts of the Fur Company, and they now have a large establishment at that place; but doing far less business than formerly, owing to the great mortality of the Indians in its vicinity, and the destruction of the game, which has almost entirely disappeared in these regions. The prairie is a beautiful elevation above the river, of several miles in length, and a mile or so in width, with a most picturesque range of grassy bluffs encompassing it in the rear. The Government has erected there a substantial Fort, in which are generally stationed three or four companies of men, for the purpose … of keeping the peace amongst the hostile tribes, and also of protecting the frontier inhabitants from the attacks of the excited savages.” George Catlin probably sketched this landscape in 1835 during his visit to Prairie du Chien in present-day Wisconsin. (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 2, no. 52, 1841, reprint 1973; Truettner, The Natural Man Observed, 1979)

Prairie du Chien, United States Garrison
Not on view
19 1227 12 in. (49.570.0 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr.

Mediums Description
oil on canvas
  • Architecture – military – fort
  • Landscape – river
  • Landscape – Wisconsin – Prairie du Chien
Object Number
Linked Open Data
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