Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
From 1875-1883, the U.S. Army made a concerted effort to subdue indigenous people and explore portions of Montana. During this period, they crossed vast areas of Montana. In the company of some of these operations were surgeon/naturalists and possibly some professional biologists. One surgeon/naturalist was Valery Havard. An excellent botanist and keen observer, he traveled throughout eastern Montana along the Yellowstone, Musselshell, Missouri, and Milk Rivers during 1877 identifying plants and describing plant communities and their distribution as he went. Havard was again in Montana with a military operation in 1879. Also traveling with a military expedition up the Yellowstone River to the Billings area in 1875, were several Smithsonian Institute professors on the steamboat Josephine, but at present we have not located the results of their work. Many of the military officers kept journals that give general natural history descriptions of the areas they traveled through. Some of these include Captain William Stanton, who in 1876, describes the terrain, mentions beaver dams on the rivers and creeks, and states that game was scarce along the Rosebud and Tongue River drainages. Lieutenant Hare traveled between the Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers and found large herds of bison in some areas as well as many pronghorn, mule and white-tailed deer. Colonel Nelson Miles and Lieutenant Long also have notes covering similar subjects in the same areas.
Annual report of chief of engineers, U.S. Army for 1878. Series 1846. Appendix QQ. pp 1672 - 1689. Forsyth, J.W. and F.D. Grant. 1875. Report of an expedition up the Yellowstone River: made in 1875. War Dept., U.S. Govt. Print. Off., Washington, DC. Havard, V. 1878. Botanical outlines of the country marched over by the Seventh United States Cavalry during the summer of 1877. in: Annual report of chief of engineers, U.S. Army for 1878. Vol. II, part III. Series 1846. Appendix QQ pp. 1681-1687. U.S. Govt. Print. Off. Havard, V. 1880. List of plants found on the plains of western Dakota and eastern Montana during the summer of 1877 and spring 1879. Annual report of chief of engineers, U.S. Army for 1880. appended SS pp. 1-20. Washington. McChesney, C.E. 1879. Report on the mammals and birds of the general region of the Bighorn River and Mountains of the Montana Territory. Report of the Chief of Engineers, U.S. Army. Appendix SS3. [The only early list of birds from this section of the State which also includes birds found in the mountains.] McFarling, L. 1955. Exploring the northern plains, 1804-1876. Caxton. Caldwell, ID. Sheridan, Lt. Gen. D.W. 1882. Report of an exploration of parts of Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana in August and September 1882. Washington, DC.