Establishement of Fort Dearborn – August 17, 1803

On August 17, 1803, members of the 1st infantry, under Captain John Whistler, established Fort Dearborn. Fort Dearborn was the first permanent military presence in Chicago, IL. In March 1803, the Secretary of War instructed Colonel Hamtramck, commander of the 1st Infantry and commandant of Detroit, to dispatch one officer and six men to survey Chicago. Interest had increased in Chicago, since native tribes withdrew as a result of the 1795 Treaty of Greenville. The positive findings of the survey resulted in construction of Fort Dearborn. The fort, named for the Secretary of War who commissioned it, took one year to complete. Whistler was named commandant of Chicago and remained there until 1810.