Fort Philip Kearney

Fort Philip Kearney
   Fort Philip Kearny (1866-1868) - Established as Fort Carrington by Col. Henry B. Carrington of the 18th U.S. Infantry in Jul 1866. Renamed for popular Union General, Philip Kearny, finally abandoned 31 Jul 1868.
   Built to protect emigrants traveling the Bozeman Trail north to the gold fields of Montana, and also to prevent inter tribal warfare between Native American tribes.
   Fort Philip Kearny was the largest of three forts constructed along the Bozeman Trail. The stockade enclosing the fort was 8' high, 1,496' long, 600' wide on the North end and 240' wide on the South end. Construction of the stockade required more than 4,000 logs. In 1867, the building construction required over 606,000 board feet of lumber and 130,000 adobe bricks.
   The fort was under continuous construction and was nearing completion in December 1866, when its garrison was due to be re-designated the 27th Infantry. At its peak strength the garrison numbered 400 troops and 150 civilians: 9 officers, a surgeon, and 329 enlisted men of five infantry companies of the 18th/27th Infantry, including the newly-recruited Company K, 27th; one officer and 60 men of Company C, 2nd Cavalry, and 150 civilian quartermaster and contractor employees.
   The fort, known to the Indians as the "hated post on the Little Piney", played an important role in Red Cloud's War. The area around the fort was the site of the Fetterman massacre and the Wagon Box Fight. By 1868, the Union Pacific Railroad had reached far enough west that emigrants could reach the Montana gold fields through present-day Idaho, rendering the dangerous Bozeman Trail obsolete. The fort was the focal point of the violent Sioux War of 1866-1868 between the U.S. Army and the Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapaho Indians lead by Chiefs Red Cloud and Crazy Horse. Fort Phil Kearny was abandoned after the Indians defeated the forces allied against them and and agreed to the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868. Shortly after federal troops abandoned the post, it was burned to the ground by the Cheyenne Indians.

Fort Philip Kearney ca. 1867


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