FORTS AND MILITARY POSTS
|Early Trading Posts—Fort Laramie—Fremont's Description—Parkman's First Glimpses—General Kearney and the Indians—Early Explorers—The Fort Established—Tide of Emigration—Expeditions and Treaties—The Romance of AH-HO-AP-PA—Unique Burial Ceremonies—The Sequal—Forts Bridger, Walbach, Halleck, Casper,Reno, Sanders, Phillip Kearney, Fetterman, Fred Steele, Washakie, Stambaugh, McKinney, Mackenzie—Forts in Adjoining States ... 305|
|In the chapter on Fur Traders are given descriptions of many of the early trading posts, notably Forts Adams, Bonneville, Fraeb, Hall, Henry. John, Platte, William, the Portuguese Houses, as well as some of lesser note. These were not military posts in the true sense of the term, as they were not authorized by the Government, though they played a conspicuous part in the early history of Wyoming,|
| For more than half a century Fort Laramie was the most important historical point in the great Northwest region between the Missouri River and the Pacific Coast. It was the central base of supplies and a military station on the overland trails across the plains and mountains to Oregon, California and Utah, over which the "forty-niners," Mormons and Oregon emigrants treked in huge trains and cavalcades. For many years it was the rendezvous of the most powerful Indian tribes of the Northwest. It was the headquarters of the most famous explorers, hunters, trappers, scouts, guides and fur traders known in western history, including such men as Kit Carson, Jim Bridger, Jim Baker, Bordeau, Chatillion, La Ramie, St. Vrain. etc., and later Buffalo Bill, Frank Grouard, Big Bat and others.|
Among the noted explorers and authors who at different times made camps or visits at Fort Laramie may be mentioned Captain Bonneville, Gen. John C. Fremont, Theodore Winthrop, Captain King, Francis Parkman, the historian, Henry M. Stanley, the African explorer, Marcus Whitman, Captain Stansbury, Eugene F. Ware and many others. Nearly all of the early United States geological surveys and reconnaissances made Fort Laramie a base of operations or supplies. Many important military expeditions were organized there and some of the most noted Indian treaties were there concluded.
As a midway station on the old Government trail, it afforded protection and a resting place to thousands of emigrants crossing the plains bound westward, who recuperated their stock on the grasses of the valleys of the North Platte and Laramie rivers and here they purchased needed supplies before entering on their long and tedious journey through the mountains. When the Indians were on the war path they were here given military escort. During its early days as a military post many of the most famous generals of the Civil war were stationed here, such as Merritt, Gibbon, Crook, Dodge, Sumner and others.
|THE OLD TRADING POST|
| The old fort or trading post was built in 1834 by Smith, Jackson & Sublette and afterward sold to Robert Campbell, who named it Fort William after his partner, William L. Sublette. Mr. Campbell soon after named it Laramie, in-honor of a brave French trapper who was killed on the river which also bears his name. The names, Adams, John and Platte have also been attributed to Fort Laramie, but they were simply other trading posts in that vicinity and were independent establishments. Investigation shows that they were not located at the point where Fort Laramie stood and were not transferred with the old trading post when it was sold to the government Robert Campbell sold the trading post which he had named Fort Laramie, to the American Fur Company in 1836.|
To establish the separate identity of Forts Adams, John and Platte it is sufficient to say Fort Adams is described by Fremont as being two miles from Fort Laramie; that Fort John was built several miles away in 1839, and abandoned in 1846: and Fort Platte, three miles distant on the Platte, was not built till 1840.
|DESCRIBED BY FREMONT|
| The fort as built by the American Fur Company is described by Fremont on his first expedition in May, 1842. He says: "This was a large post having more the air of military construction than Fort Adams, at the mouth of the river, being some twenty-five feet above the water, and its lofty walls whitewashed and picketed, with large bastions at the angles, gave it quite an imposing appearance in the uncertain light of evening. A cluster of lodges belonging to Sioux Indians was pitched under the walls outside and with the fine background of the Black Hills and the prominent peak of the Laramie Mountains, strongly drawn in the clear western sky, where the sun had already set, the whole formed at the moment a strikingly beautiful picture.|
"I walked up to visit our friends at the fort, which is a quadrangular structure built of clay adobe, after the fashion of the Mexicans, who are generally employed in building them. The walls are fifteen feet high, surmounted by a wooden palisade and form the outside portions of the rows of houses which entirely surround a yard of about one hundred and thirty feet square. Every apartment has its door and window opening inside. There are two entrances, the main entrance having two gates with an arched passage intervening. A little square window high above the ground opened from an adjoining chamber, so that when the inner gate is closed and barred anyone inside may communicate with outside parties. This obviated the necessity of admitting suspicious persons."
| Francis Parkman, the historian, visited Fort Laramie in the spring of 1846, with Flenry Chatilhon as a guide. He started from St. Louis, went on the south side of the Platte and forded the Laramie River directly at the fort. Parkman stayed at the fort for a while and then went out and lived among the Indians to study their habits and customs. The Indian Village where he lived was at the point on the Laramie River now called Uva. some twenty-five miles from the fort, with which he always kept in touch. When he reached Fort Laramie with his party, Bordeaux was in charge, Papin, the manager of the fur company's affairs, being absent. He welcomed Parkman's party and took them into the fort. Parkman's description of the fort agrees with Fremont's. He describes the scene as they came in as follows: "Tall Indians in their buffalo robes were striding across the area or reclining at full length on the low roofs of the buildings. Numerous squaws gaily bedizened sat grouped about in front of the rooms they occupied, their mongrel offsprings, restless and vociferous, rambled in every direction, and the trappers, traders and employees of the establishment were busy in their labors or amusements."|
He says the officials of the fur company had absolute sway over the vast region around them, as the nearest United States troops at that time were 700 miles to the east, while the west was practically an unexplored wilderness. Looking from the walls upon the surrounding hills, he observed scaft'olds rising in the distance against the red western sky. They bore upon them the dead of the Dakota chiefs whose remains were placed in the vicinity of the fort for protection from enemy tribes, yet frequently the Crows ranging through had broken down the scaft'olds and thrown the bodies to the wolves. Around many of these scaffolds were placed white buffalo skulls arranged in a mystic circle.
Parkman bravely took his chances in living among the Indians, but he saw that the country must soon be garrisoned with troops, for he observes: "A military force and military law are urgently needed in this perilous region, and unless troops are speedily stationed at Fort Laramie or in the neighborhood, emigrants and travelers will be exposed to imminent risks."
|GENERAL KEARNEY AND THE INDIANS|
| The first troops to reach Fort Laramie before it became a military post was an expedition organized under Gen. Stephen W. Kearney in 1845. Kearney, with several companies of dragoons, left Fort Leavenworth and marched to Fort Laramie. From there he sent a part of his command to the Sweetwater, while he remained at the fort. Then, for the first time, the Indian tribes of that vicinity saw white warriors and were lost in astonishment at their fine equipment and gay attire, and at the regular order of their marches and evolutions.|
The Arapahoes at that time having committed several murders, General Kearney had them called in, and told them he would annihilate the whole tribe if they killed any more white people. To add to the efFect of his threat, he ordered a howitzer fired and a rocket thrown up. This created the utmost consternation among them. Many threw themselves on the ground and others ran away in terror and amazement. It is related that on his trip across the plains Kearney had a mountain howitzer loaded on his rear wagon and concealed by the canvas wagon cover. On one occasion the train was attacked by a large band of Indians on horseback, who rode up behind and began to shoot arrows into the train. The howitzer was turned loose on them with great effect. Many were knocked off their horses and killed. It was as if a bolt of lightning had come out of a clear sky. They were terribly surprised. As a frontiersman would say, they "hit the breeze" with great suddenness and unanimity. For a long time they would not go near a wagon, as they had a superstition that a "white man's wagon heap shoot."
| Captain Bonneville's party encamped on the Laramie River, May 25, 1832, and spent six weeks between Fort Laramie and the Sweetwater examining the country. An account of this expedition is given in another part of this history.|
The Oregon expedition, undertaken by Nathaniel J- Wyeth in 1834, reached Fort Laramie on June ist of that year. On this expedition Wyeth built a fort near Jackson's Hole.
The first considerable emigration across the continent by the Oregon Trail began in 1841. and most of it went to Oregon up to about 1847, when the Mormon influx began, which was followed by the California gold seekers in 1849. The caravans were mostly made up of ox teams which traveled slowly. All the trains made a stop at Fort Laramie, whether it was a trading post or a fort.
In 1846 Congress passed an act providing for the building of forts along the Oregon-California Trail. The Mexican war, then in progress, stimulated overland travel to the Pacific coast, and the new explorations of the West and the increasing trade with the Indian tribes aroused the ambition and enterprise of Americans to plunge into the frontier.
|THE FORT ESTABLISHED|
|It was not until 1848, however, that Lieut. Daniel P. Woodbury of the United States Engineer Corps was sent out to select sites for the new forts. He first recommended the site of the American Fur Company at the fork of the Laramie and Platte rivers as a proper and needed location for a fort, and having obtained an offer of the property for $4,000, he was authorized to make the purchase from the fur company. Soon thereafter new buildings were constructed, the first structure of good size being the building which afterwards was named "Old Bedlam," the lumber for its construction having been brought 800 miles in wagons from Fort Leavenworth at a cost of $60,000. This building was used for quarters and clubhouse of bachelor officers and was the scene of Captain King's story entitled "Laramie, or the Queen of Bedlam," and was one of the earliest of his popular military novels. The first United States troops garrisoned at the fort were Companies C and D, Third Cavalry, under Major Sanderson. A little later they were followed by Company G, Sixth L'nited States Infantry. The Government afterwards set apart a military reservation of fifty-four square miles, being a parallelogram nine miles north and soutli and six miles east and west. A timber reserve was also established near Laramie Peak, about fifty miles west of the fort, where the post thereafter secured its wood and lumber supplies. Other buildings were added from time to time, mostly built of concrete. Officers' quarters, cavalry and infantry barracks, large supply warehouses, stables, blacksmith and other workshops were substantially built. Numerous small cottages were built for married sergeants and civil employees, together with a guardhouse and hospital, which in early days were utilized by citizens, settlers and civilian employees. Many settlers located on ranches nearby, to be under the protection of the military forces. They engaged in raising grain, vegetables, cattle, horses and hay, and working teams on Government contracts. Thus Fort Laramie became not only a military post, but a busy emporium of trade for the whole surrounding region–a city in the wilderness.|
|THE TIDE OF EMIGRATION|
| The Oregon emigration was greatest from 1841 to 1845. The Mormon immigration began in 1847, the first Mormon colony reaching the fort in the spring of that year. They were followed by another Mormon party, which reached Fort Laramie in June, both expeditions moving on to Salt Lake after a brief stay at the fort. It is estimated that one hundred thousand Mormons crossed the plains by way of Fort Laramie in the succeeding five years.|
But the high tide of emigration was reached about 1850-51. A new era in the life and settlement of the mountain West began with the discovery of gold in California. To the dull routine of ox team travel over the Oregon Trail was added the zest of fortune hunting and adventure. The rush of the gold seekers was one of the most unique phases of American history and led to the rapid settlement and development of all the far western states. In the early season of 1850. Langworthy says 60,000 gold seekers went over the Government Trail, and teams had gone forward before he arrived at Fort Laramie on June 13th of that year. He says the excitement and hurry of the travelers were so great that they threw away much of the freight which impeded their progress. Thus the trail was marked with anvils, crowbars, drills, axes, grindstones, trunks, clothing, etc. Another estimate says that ninety thousand animals went over the trail during one season. One traveler, in going five miles, counted 429 wagons with their human freight and supplies. One might travel a hundred miles and never be out of sight of moving trains. Thus Fort Laramie became the center, the "Midway Plaisance," of all these trains and the immense traffic they brought.
|EXPEDITIONS AND TREATIES|
| The various expeditions fitted out for Indian campaigns at Fort Laramie and the important Indian treaties made there are described in other portions of this history. It will be sufficient to mention them without details. Passing over the early expeditions of Bonneville, Marcus Whitman, Wyeth and Fremont, which became history before the United States made Fort Laramie a military post, we can refer to the following:|
Captain Stansbury's expedition in 1849, to make a reconnaisance for a railroad from Fort Laramie to Fort Bridger; General Harney's expedition in 1855 against the Sioux; Lieutenant Warren's expedition in 1857 from Fort Laramie to the Black Hills for geologic and topographic investigations; General Sumner's expedition in 1857 to suppress Indian outbreaks; General Connor's expedition in 1865 against the tribes of Western Wyoming and Utah; Colonel Carrington's expedition in 1865 to establish Forts Phil Kearny, Reno and C. F. Smith; and General Crook's expeditions of 1875 and 1876 against the Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull bands of Indians.
Of the treaties made at Fort Laramie, that of September, 1851, was the first. Col. D. D. Mitchell, superintendent of Indian affairs, called a council at the fort to fix the boundaries of the different tribes. The council was in session twenty-three days and was attended by 10,000 Sioux, Cheyenne, Arapaho and Crow Indians. When the provision trains arrived the Indians and whites joined in a grand feast. Under this treaty the Government paid the Indians $50,000 annually for ten years for a trail and right of way over their lands, and each tribe accepted certain boundaries as hunting territory.
On June i, 1865, Col. H. F. Maynadier, commandant at Fort Laramie; E. B. Taylor, superintendent of Indian affairs; Thomas Wister, of Philadelphia; and R. N. McLaren, of Minnesota, as United States commissioners, met the principal chiefs of that section and concluded a treaty of peace and the concession of a right of wa^ over the Bozeman Road to Montana. Red Cloud refused to sign this treaty and withdrew from the council, resulting in further Indian wars. Another treaty was made in 1866, which was not ratified by the Government. The Indians began to get bad and committed many depredations. Early in 1868 all the ranches between Fort Laramie and Fort Fetterman were destroyed and several settlers were killed at Horse Shoe, Twin Springs and La Bonte.
|FAMOUS TREATY OF 1868|
| This condition precipitated the famous treaty of 1868, when Generals Sherman, Terry and Augur, representing the army, and John Sanborn, Samuel F. Tappan, Nathaniel G. Taylor and J. B. Henderson, civilians, were appointed a committee to negotiate with the Indians. Henry M. Stanley accompanied the commission as newspaper correspondent. They came to Fort Laramie in May and called the Indians together. The treaty gave the Indians the country north of the Platte as hunting ground. The Indians who signed the treaty were the Sioux chiefs. Red Cloud. Medicine Eagle, Black Tiger, Man-Afraid-of-His-Horse, and a number of minor chiefs.|
A treaty made by the same commission with the head men of the Crow nation gave that tribe a reservation in Southern Montana, and they in return ceded the greater part of their lands in Wyoming to the whites. Three days later the commission concluded a treaty with the Cheyennes and Arapahoes by which they relinquished all claims to lands and agreed to accept homes and Government aid on specified reserves. Later in 1875 the Arapahoes agreed to accept homes on the Wind River reserve, where they are now located.
|THE ROMANCE OF AH-H0-AP-PA|
| The romance of the love story and death of Spotted-Tail's daughter has been made the basis of much writing, interspersed with fact and fiction.|
For several years Ah-ho-ap-pa lived in the Indian village near the fort and became a constant visitor, until she was well known to the officers and soldiers. She especially enjoyed seeing dress parade and guard mount.
It seems to be a well authenticated fact that she fell in love with a cavalry officer, Captain Rhinehart, and became deeply infatuated with him, although he showed her only polite attention, which was her due as daughter of a celebrated chief. The captain was killed in an expedition against the Sioux, and the Indian maid mourned him inconsolably. In the meantime Spotted-Tail took his band up into the Powder River country and moved backwards and forwards to Big Horn, Rosebud and Tongue rivers, taking his daughter with him.
Eugene F. Ware, afterwards United States commissioner of pensions, who was then adjutant at Fort Laramie, wrote at that time as follows of the situation in Spotted-Tail's camp:
"Ah-ho-ap-pa was living in a chilly and lonesome tepee among the pines on the west bank of Powder River. She had not seen a white person since her visit to Laramie in August, 1864. Ah-ho-ap-pa's heart was broken. She could not stand up against her surroundings. In vain her father had urged her to accept the conditions as they were, to be happy and contented, and not worry about things out of her reach. She had an ambition—a vague one; but her hopes were gone.
"Shortly before her death a runner from Fort Laramie announced to the Indians on Powder River that commissioners would come, with the grass, who would bring the words of the Great Father to his Indian children. Shan-tag-alisk (Spotted-Tail) was urged to send runners to all the bands south and west of the Missouri River and to meet at Fort Laramie as soon as their ponies could live on the grass.
"Ah-ho-ap-pa heard the news, but it did not revive her. She told her father that she wanted to go, but she would be dead; that it was her wish to be buried in the cemetery at Fort Laramie, near the grave of 'Old Smoke,' a distant relative and a great chief among the Sioux in former years. This her relative promised her.
"When her death took place, after great lamentations among the band, the skin of a freshly killed deer was held over the fire and thoroughly permeated and creosoted with smoke. Ah-ho-ap-pa was wrapped in it and it was tightly bound around her with thongs so that she was temporarily embalmed."
This was in the spring of 1868. Spotted-Tail started with the body on their sad journey to Fort Laramie, 200 miles distant. When the funeral party arrived within fifteen miles of Fort Laramie it camped and a runner was sent in to announce its coming to Colonel Maynadier. That officer was a prince at heart, as well as a good soldier. Moreover, he had been sent to Fort Laramie to smooth the way for the big peace commission. Spotted-Tail still stood high among his people. Why not take pains to impress him with the good intentions and peaceful views of the whites? The post commander at the time was Maj. George IM. O'Brien, a graduate of Dublin University, subsequently brevetted to the rank of general. He afterwards practiced law at Omaha and died there. He was a brother of Col. "Nick" O'Brien of Cheyenne, now known as the hero of Julesburg.
| The result of a consultation held by the officers was that an ambulance was dispatched to the Indian camp, guarded by a company of cavalry in full uniform, followed by two twelve-pound mountain howitzers with postilions in red chevrons. When the camp was reached, Ah-ho-ap-pa's body was placed in the ambulance, her two white ponies were tethered behind the vehicle, and the procession slowly moved toward the fort. Concerning what follows, Eugene F. Ware says:|
"When the cavalcade had reached the river, a couple of miles from the post, the garrison turned out and, with Colonel Maynadier at the head, met and escorted them into the post, and the party were assigned quarters. The next day a scaffold was erected in the military cemetery near the grave of "Old Smoke." It was made of tent poles, twelve feet long, embedded in the ground and fastened with thongs, over which a buffalo robe was laid and on which the coffin was to be placed.
"To the poles of the scafifold were nailed the heads and tails of the two white ponies, so that Ah-ho-ap-pa could ride through the fair hunting grounds of the skies. A coffin was made and lavishly decorated. The body was not unbound from the deerskin shroud, but was wrapped in the coffin mounted on the wheels of an artillery caisson. After the coffin came a twelve-pound howitzer, and the whole was followed to the cemetery by the entire garrison in full uniform.
"The tempestuous and chilly weather moderated somewhat. The Rev. Mr. Wright, who was the post chaplain, suggested an elaborate burial service. Shan-tag-a-lisk was consulted. He said he wanted his daughter buried Indian fashion, so she would go not where the white people went, but where the red people went. Every request of Shan-tag-a-lisk was met by Colonel Maynadier with a hearty and satisfactory 'Yes.' "
The Indian customs were adopted, according to the chief's request, but in his honor the military burial service was added, with the post band, flags, detachments of troops, etc. When the parade reached the burial ground each of the Indian women came up, one at a time, and talked to Ah-ho-ap-pa. Some of them whispered to her long and earnestly as if they were sending by her a hopeful message to a lost child. Each put some little remembrance in the coffin. One put in a little looking glass, another a string of colored beads, another a pine cone with some sort of embroidery of sinew in it. Then the lid was fastened on, the women took the coffin, raised it and placed it on the scaffold. The Indian men stood mutely and stolidly around looking on, and none of them moved a muscle or tendered any help.
The sequel to this interesting story is told in the return of Spotted-Tail to the fort for the remains of his daughter in 1875. John S. Collins, who was post trader at the time, says in his book of "Frontier Experiences":
"Spotted-Tail came to the fort in 1875 for his daughter, who had died several years before and had been placed in a box and set up on four posts at the sand bluffs. At her head was nailed the head of her favorite white pony and at her feet its tail, to travel with her to the happy hunting grounds. In the box were placed trinkets and ornaments she wore when alive.
" 'Spot' said to me, "My daughter was buried here where my Indians lived and many of our children were born. We traded here, raced our ponies here and the soldiers were good to us. Now that has passed, we want our dead at one place. I came to take her to my agency at Beaver Creek."
Thus the story of Ah-ho-ap-pa ends. Her father, Spotted-Tail, was greatest among the chiefs of his day. He was a born orator and a natural diplomat and statesman.
Up to August, 1865, Fort Laramie was headquarters of the military division called the "District of the Plains." The district was abolished by General Pope and the District of Nebraska was formed to include Montana, Nebraska and Wyoming, with Major General Wheaton in command.
The fort was abandoned by the Government in the spring of 1890, and the reserve opened to homestead settlers. The last troops left the fort April 20, 1890. The Government sold the military supplies by an auction sale in March and the buildings were sold at another sale in April, that year. Following this, homestead filings were made on the best lands of the reserve, John Hunton, the last post trader at the fort, locating the most central and valuable quarter section, containing a number of fort buildings, some of which he built at his own expense for carrying on his trade at the post. Joe Wilde, another old-timer, got by purchase and entry other valuable lands and buildings. Together they projected a fine irrigation system, and constructed a large canal from a point on the Laramie River several miles southwest, and thus the new Fort Laramie was made "to blossom as the rose."
The writer visited the fort in May, 1918, as the guest of Mr. Hunton and his estimable wife, and while the vestiges of the old fort are still standing, some of the buildings in ruins and others rehabilitated, the scene was indeed an attractive one. The glistening waters of the Laramie winding in and out through grassy meadows and cottonwood groves, the fields of alfalfa, beautifully green, from which the meadow larks were rising and singing, the surrounding hills in -the distance cut through into deep gorges by the big Government Platte River project, and showing piles of sand resembling the great pyramids, made a new and impressive picture of nature in its quiet and serene moods, in which the Indian, the trapper, the soldier and the mule skinner faded from view and the memories of those old, stirring, heroic times became but a fleeting vision of "a tale that is told."
|FORT D. A. RUSSELL|
| For the protection of the men engaged in the construction of the Union Pacific Railroad, military camps were established along the line in advance of the working forces. A year before the road was completed to the present site of Cheyenne, Gen. Grenville M. Dodge with his corps of engineers and a company of soldiers, encamped on Crow Creek where Fort Russell is now located. They lived in tents but soon began to erect log cabins. Early in 1867, the Government decided to make Fort Russell a permanent post and erect substantial buildings. The first trip made by John Hunton into Wyoming was when he took a freight train with finishing lumber from Julesburg to be used in the construction of the fort. This was in the spring of 1867. before Cheyenne was on the map. Therefore the origin of Fort Russell antedates Cheyenne.|
Fort Russell thus established over fifty years ago, has been from time to time enlarged and improved until it has become one of the most important, permanent military establishments of this country. Including its new, modern construction, military reserves and water supply system, it has cost the Government about $7,000,000.
It is centrally located at the base of the Rocky Mountains on two great continental railway systems, the Union Pacific and Burlington, running north, south, east and west, thus giving direct connection with every section of the country. Its elevation is 6,000 feet above sea level with climatic conditions unsurpassed for healthfulness, being cool in summer and moderate in winter. Its pure air and bright sunshine are a perpetual tonic and the surrounding region is admirably adapted to the rough and hardy physical exercises and open air life pertaining to the school of the soldier.
The reserve proper on which the post is located consists of 5.560 acres or nine and one-seventh square miles, giving ample room for any enlargement in the future. Crow Creek, a fine mountain stream flows centrally through the reserve. The buildings are nearly all new, substantial, brick structures expressly built for and adapted to, the various branches of military service, including infantry, cavalry, artillery, signal service, pack trains, hospital service, target practice, etc., together with all the necessary auxiliary equipment of stables, warehouses^ workshops, gymnasium, guard houses, club houses, riding school building, etc. It has a fine hospital training school building for the education of nurses and medical assistants. Its main hospital building is the largest structure at the fort and is probably the largest military hospital in the country.
Auxiliary to Fort Russell the Government has established the largest military maneuver reserve in this country covering an area of nearly one hundred square miles. This reserve is ideal in topography and situation for handling large bodies of troops in brigades and divisions, for military exercises, mimic battles and marches, being remote from settlements and comprising hills, valleys, ravines, open and rolling ground, mountain streams and timbered areas.
Two secretaries of war (Stimson and Garrison), have personally visited this reserve and have expressed their admiration not only of its scenic beauty but of its rare, practical adaptability for military maneuvers on an extended scale, and as a beautiful summer and winter camp for large bodies of troops. These maneuver grounds are situated about twenty-five miles west of Fort Russell.
|FINE WATER SYSTEM|
| Fort Russell has the largest, finest and most complete water system of any army post in this country. It has an unlimited supply of pure mountain water piped some twenty-five miles from reservoirs filled from running streams. This is brought to the fort through a new sand filter and purifying plant built by the city of Cheyenne at a cost of $80,000. The entire water system cost about $2,000,000 of which the United States Government paid $400,000 and thus became a partner and co-owner with the city of Cheyenne under a contract which assures to the fort a perpetual supply of pure water for all purposes for domestic, irrigation and garrison uses.|
The total supply of water from the mountain streams of the water shed is estimated by the engineers at 20.000,000 gallons daily. In ordinary seasons with a garrison of 5,000 men the city and fort together use about 5,000,000 gallons daily, leaving 15,000,000 gallons daily surplus unused. The reservoirs of the system contain 4,178,093,000 gallons, enough to supply the city and fort for nearly three years without any rain or inflow at all. An army of 50,000 can be assembled here and be amply supplied with water for all purposes. The City of Cheyenne pays the entire expense of the upkeep of the system for itself and the garrison at the fort. The Government contract with the city reads as follows:
"It is understood that the City of Cheyenne grants a perpetual water right in the system to the extent required for the use of the military post and its appurtenant reservation, and it hereby agrees to furnish to the United States perpetually a sufficient supply of potable, wholesome water for the uses of said militarv post and reservation through its connecting mains and service pipes."
In addition to this the fort has five artesian wells, one being connected with a pumping plant with facilities for supplying water at any time. This well alone flows sufficient water to supply the entire domestic wants of the fort at any time should an emergency arise when it would be needed.
This fort being practically in the center of the continent remote from any probable war zone and exempt from foreign invasion by armies advancing from either the Atlantic or Pacific coasts, is the most admirably situated of any army post in this country for the mobilization and assemblage of troops and supplies and with its great reserve camp for drill and practice in the school of the soldier where long marches and maneuvers of large army divisions are required. Its other important advantages have already been cited.
| Shortly after the establishment of Fort Russell and the completion of the railroad across the continent, supplies that were formerly transported by wagon were shipped by rail and it became necessary to establish distributing points for handling army freight. Accordingly a quartermaster's depot was located at Cheyenne, or more properly, on the Fort Russell reserve about half way between the city and the fort. When first located it was given the name of Camp Carlin, but when enlarged and completed it obtained the official name of "Cheyenne Depot."|
The central situation of Cheyenne between Omaha and Salt Lake City and its military trails going into the mountains and connecting with ten different army posts made it an especially advantageous location for an army depot, and in a short time it became the second in size of the military depots of this country, having sixteen large warehouses and many workshops for wheelwrights, blacksmiths, carpenters, saddle and harness makers, painters, etc. Two lines of railway side track ran through the depot connecting with the platforms of the warehouse for shipping or receiving freight. From three hundred to five hundred civilian laborers and teamsters were employed.
But its principal feature was the handling of wagon transportation to ten or twelve military posts, some of them four hundred miles away. Over one thousand mules were kept in the corrals of the depot and five trains of twenty, six-mule wagons and from three to five pack trains were a part of the regular equipment of the camp. The workshops were kept busy shoeing mules and horses, repairing wagons, making saddles and harness and outfitting expeditions into the Indian country.
Millions of dollars worth of supplies were assembled and sent out from this depot, including quartermaster stores, commissary stores, and ordnance and wagon equipment. Various Indian expeditions were outfitted at Camp Carlin, the last being the Milk River expedition, which under General Crook went to the relief of Thornburg forces in 1879. With the peaceful settlement of the Northwest and the subsidence of Indian outbreaks many forts were abandoned and the necessity for a supply depot disappeared, and Camp Carlin was abandoned by the Government in the spring of 1882.
| Some time in the year 1842 James Bridger and Benito Vasquez established a trading post on Black's Fork of the Green River, about thirty miles east of the present city of Evanston and gave it the name of Fort Bridger. Here was made the second permanent settlement in Wyoming. The post was several times attacked by Indians, one of the most disastrous occurring in August, 1843. The fort was surrounded by a number of Shoshone Indian lodges, that tribe being on friendly terms with the old trader and his partner. While the men were absent on an antelope hunt a large party of Cheyenne and Arapaho made a descent upon the place, killed several squaws and ran off a herd of ponies. They were pursued by the Shoshone warriors, the horses were recovered and several Arapaho Indians were killed in the encounter. Lieut. John C. Fremont, then on his Rocky Mountain expedition, encountered the same war party shortly after the fight and reported that a number of wounded men "were trailing along in the rear." These savages made a hostile demonstration against Fremont, but a shot from the howitzer put them to flight.|
Joel Palmer, who led a company of Oregon emigrants westward in the summer of 1845, made this entry in his journal for July 25th: "This day we traveled about sixteen miles, crossed the creek several times, and encamped near Fort Bridger. This is a trading post owned by Bridger and Bascus (Vasquez). It is built of poles and daubed with mud; it is a shabby concern. The fort is surrounded by about twenty-five lodges of Indians, or white trappers who have married Indian wives."
In 1854 Bridger sold his fort and a Mexican grant of thirty square miles of land to a Mormon named Lewis Robinson, for $8,000. The next year the Mormons built a bowlder wall fourteen feet high enclosing a space 100 feet square and a large corral for live stock. They changed the name of the post to "Fort Supply," the new post being intended as a supply point for westbound emigrant trains. When Col. Albert Sidney Johnston's expedition reached this place in the fall of 1857, the Mormons evacuated the fort and returned to Salt Lake. Part of Johnston's men wintered there during the winter of 1857-58, and when Colonel Johnston moved on toward Salt Lake City, Lieut.-Col. William Hofifman was left with a detachment of troops at Fort Bridger.
During the summer of 1858 Lieutenant-Colonel Hoffman erected a number of log buildings, cleaned up the place and the Government then established there a military post and reservation bearing the old name of Fort Bridger. A garrison was maintained there for about thirty years, during which time numerous changes were made in the fort and the adjacent country. In May, 1861, soon after the beginning of the Civil war. Colonel Cook sold the Government supplies at Fort Bridger to the Mormons and left the post in charge of an orderly sergeant. About a year later the Indians began to assume a threatening attitude toward emigrants, and a detachment of the Third United States Cavalry was ordered to Fort Bridger. During the next three years these soldiers were kept busy in guarding the mails, escorting trains and holding in check the hostile Indians in the vicinity.
In the fall of 1867 five companies were stationed at Fort Bridger to protect the surveyors and construction camps of the Union Pacific Railroad. The following summer Gen. W. T. Sherman, Gen. A. H. Terry, Gen. C. C. Augur and Gen. W. S. Harney all visited the fort and there concluded a treaty with the chiefs of the Shoshone and Bannock tribes on July 3, 1868, by which those Indians relinquished all their lands in Wyoming except the reservation in the Wind River Valley. A full account of the negotiation of this treaty is given in another chapter of this work.
After the treaty a portion of the garrison was removed to other posts and for a number of years only a small detachment was kept at Fort Bridger. In 1881 Post Trader Carter constructed a road from the fort to Fort Thornburg, which was located at the junction of the Du Chesne and Green rivers in Utah. Two years later new barracks and quarters were erected and in 1884 the garrison was increased. Fort Bridger was finally abandoned about 1890.
|Under an order dated September 20, 1858, Fort Walbach was established on Lodge Pole Creek, near Cheyenne Pass, eighty-five miles southwest of Fort Laramie. It was named in honor of Brig.-Gen. John DeB. Walbach, a distinguished soldier of the War of 1812. As the post was not intended as a permanent institution, only buildings of a temporary nature were constructed. The fort was abandoned on April 19, 1859. The site of this old fort was marked by the Wyoming Daughters of the American Revolution in 1914.|
|Fort Halleck, named in honor of Gen. Henry W. Halleck, one of the noted Union .generals in the Civil war, was established on July 20, 1862. It was located near the foot of the Medicine Bow Mountains and was for a time the most important military post in the Rocky Mountain region, being the center of the Indian warfare of that period. In the spring of 1863, when Capt. J. L. Humfreville of the Eleventh Ohio Cavalry was in command of the post, the troops worked both east and west from the fort, guarding mail coaches and emigrant trains, and saw hard service. Early in 1865, when the Indians began their raids on the Overland stations, the garrison at Fort Halleck was increased. A year later the seat of Indian warfare had shifted to the valleys of the Big Horn and Powder rivers, and on July 4, 1866, Fort Halleck was abandoned.|
| Early in the year 1865 a military camp was established near the present City of Casper and was known as "Platte Bridge." Upon the recommendation of Lieut.-Col. W. O. Collins of the Eleventh Ohio Cavarly, it was changed from a small and occasional troop station to a permanent post. In his official communication, Lieutenant-Colonel Collins said: "The permanent cure for the hostilities of the northern Indians is to go into the heart of their buffalo country and build and hold forts until the trouble is over."|
On March 28, 1865, the District of the Plains was established by order of Gen. Granville M. Dodge, with Gen. P. E. Connor in command of the new district. Platte Bridge was then made one of the most important posts of the district. Being located as it was, on the North Platte River, 120 miles west of Fort Laramie, it was in the center of the Indian hostilities. Lieut. Caspar Collins, a son of Lieut.-Col. W. O. Collins, had come west with his father in 1862, and when the latter returned east, remained with his company on the plains. An account of his death at Platte Bridge, in the engagement with the Indians on July 26, 1865, is given in the chapter on Early Military History, and on November 21, 1865, Maj.-Gen. John Pope issued the order changing the name of the post to Fort Casper, in his honor. The fort was finally abandoned in 1867.
|On August II, 1865, when Gen. P. E. Connor reached the Powder River. 23½ miles above the mouth of Crazy Woman Fork, he established there a small post which was named Camp Connor. In the latter part of June, 1866, Col. H. B. Carrington repaired and garrisoned the fort and the name was changed to Fort Reno, in honor of Gen. Isaac Reno, a hero of the Civil war. It was abandoned under an order issued by General Grant on March 2, 1868.|
| By orders from the war department, Fort Sanders was established on July 10, 1866, three miles south of Laramie City, and was at first known as "Fort John Buford." On September 5. 1866, the name was changed to Fort Sanders, in honor of W. P. Sanders, captain in the Second United States Cavalry and later a brigadier-general of volunteers. It was established as a protection for the Denver & Salt Lake stage line and the emigrant trains passing over the Oregon Trail. The Union Pacific Railroad was completed to this point late in the spring of 1868, and on June 28th of that year the reservation was enlarged to embrace a tract of land nine miles square. At that time the buildings consisted of log structures with cjuarters for six companies, officers' quarters, a guardhouse, post store and stables. The fort was abandoned in May, 1882, and in 1889 part of the reservation was granted to the State of Wyoming for a fish hatchery.|
On the highway from Laramie to Denver, where the old fort formerly stood, there is now a monument bearing the following inscription: "This monument marks the site of Fort Sanders, established September 5. 1866. abandoned May 18. 1882. Named in honor of Brig.-Gen. William P. Sanders. Erected by the State of Wyoming and Jacques Laramie Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, June, 1914. From July 10 to September 5, 1866, known as Fort John Buford."
|FORT PHILIP KEARNY|
| This is one of two forts established by order of Maj.-Gen. John Pope on the Bozeman Road in 1866. Col. H. B. Carrington was commissioned to select the sites and build Forts Phil Kearny and C. F. Smith. The former was staked off on July 15, 1866, and the latter, ninety miles northwest, in Montana, early in August. Fort Phil Kearny was completed on the 21st of October and for several months the posts and the country immediately surrounding it were the scene of several conflicts with the hostile Indians. An account of the massacre of Capt. W. J. Fetterman and his command on December 21, 1866, is given in the chapter on Early Military History.|
On March 2, 1868, Gen. U. S. Grant issued an order for the abandonment of all the forts on the Bozeman Road and the withdrawal of all troops from the Indian country in Northern Wyoming. Fort Phil Kearny was abandoned under this order in August, 1868, and the buildings were afterward burned by the chief Little Wolf. A monument commemorating the Fetterman Massacre was unveiled on the site of the fight on July 4, 1908. The massacre occurred seven miles from the fort, which was located on Piney Creek, four miles from the Big Horn Mountains and about fifteen miles northwest of the present City of Buffalo. After the fort was abandoned, George Geier purchased that part of the reservation where the buildings formerly stood and established thereon a ranch.
|On July 19, 1867, Fort Fetterman was established at the mouth of the La Prele Creek and was named in honor of brevet Lieut.-Col. W. J. Fetterman, captain in the Twenty-fourth Regular Infantry, who was killed near Fort Phil Kearny on December 21, 1866. By 1872 it had been enlarged to a post of four companies and was one of the best equipped military establishments in the state. At that time the nearest Indians were the Ogallala Sioux, 385 lodges; the Cheyenne, 300 lodges; the Arapaho, 150 lodges; and a few straggling bands of other tribes. A small garrison was maintained here until 1878, when the necessity for a military post in the locality no longer existed and the fort was abandoned by order of the secretary of war, nearly all of the reservation of sixty square miles being then transferred to the interior department.|
|FORT FRED STEELE|
| This fort was located at the point where the L'nion Pacific Railroad crosses the North Platte River, in Carbon County, and was established by Col. Richard I. Dodge on June 30, 1868. as a protection to the builders of the railroad. It was named in honor of Maj.-Gen. Frederick Steele of Civil war fame. Within forty-eight hours after the completion of the fort, camp followers to the number of five hundred or more had established the town of "Brownsville" near by. Five days later the population of the town was estimated at fifteen hundred.|
On June 28, 1869, the Government established the reservation of thirty-six square miles. The frame buildings of the post provided quarters for four companies and a garrison was maintained here for more than ten years. On January 24, 1878, Gen. George Crook, in his annual report, stated: "While no military necessity now exists for troops at Fort Fred Steele or Fort Sanders * * * yet they are cheap places for the stationing of troops." The fort was finally abandoned in 1881.
|The Shoshone or Wind River Reservation was established by the treaty concluded at Fort Bridger on July 3, 1868, and on June 28, 1869, an order was issued for the establishment of a garrison at some point upon the reservation. A site was selected near the junction of Trout Creek and the Little Wind River and a post was established under the name of Camp Augur, in honor of Gen. C. C. Augur, one of the officers who had negotiated the treaty the year before. On March 28, 1870, the name was changed to Camp Brown and on December 30, 1878, it was changed to Fort Washakie, in honor of Chief Washakie of the Shoshone tribe. As early as 1872 the post consisted of log buildings with accommodations for a garrison of 115 men. A few additional buildings were erected during the next twenty years, and in 1893 Congress made a considerable appropriation for permanent improvements at the fort. Troops were stationed at Fort Washakie until 1909.|
|Soon after the discovery of gold in the South Pass region in 1867, a request was made for troops to protect the miners from Indian depredations. The request was ignored for a time, but in June, 1870, a small military station was established in Smith's Gulch, near .Atlantic City, and given the name of Camp Stambaugh. Two years later it was garrisoned by two companies, which were quartered in four large log buildings. The presence of these troops kept the Shoshone and Bannock Indians from a possible outbreak. On January 27, 1878, Gen. Philip H, Sheridan recommended the removal of the garrison, and on August 17, 1878, the official order for the abandonment of the post was issued l)y the war department.|
| On October 12, 1876, Fort McKinney was established on the northwest bank of Powder River, three miles above and south of the site of old Fort Reno. It was at first called "Cantonment Reno." On July 18, 1877, the location was changed to the north bank of Clear Creek, a short distance west of the present Citv of Buffalo and about two miles above the crossing of the old Bozeman Road. The old site was then used as a depot. The name of Fort McKinney was given to the post on August 30, 1S77, after the removal. The first substantial buildings were erected in the fall of that year.|
Gen. Philip H. Sheridan, in a report dated March 9, 1882, stated that the fort was still incomplete and recommended that it be improved, as it would be a "necessity in Indian warfare for many years to come." Upon this showing Congress appropriated $40,000 for the improvement of the fort. In 1892 three cavalry barracks were destroyed by fire and the following session of Congress made an appropriation to rebuild them.
Even then it was apparent to military experts that no further necessity for the maintenance of the post existed. As early as 1889 a small portion of the reservation had been annexed to the City of Buffalo. In 1895 all of the fort buildings and two sections of land were donated to the State of Wyoming and the remainder of the land was transferred to the department of the interior.
| On January 13, 1899, Francis E. Warren, United States Senator from Wyoming, introduced a bill for the erection of a Government military post near the City of Sheridan. The necessity for such a post had been brought to the attention of President McKinley the year before and an executive order had been issued for the establishment of temporary barracks, under the supervision of Gen. E. V. Sumner. In the debate on the Warren Bill the fact was brought out that there were over twenty-three thousand Indians upon the various reservations tributary to the proposed fort. These included the Fort Benton, Standing Rock, Cheyenne River, Lower Brule, Rosebud and Pine Ridge reservations in the Dakotas; the Blackfoot, Flathead, Northern Cheyenne, Crow, Fort Belknap and Fort Peck Indians in Alontana; the Fort Hall Indians in Idaho; and the Uintah and Uncompahgre Utes in Utah.|
In 1905 the fort had become a well equipped military establishment. In February of that year the State of Wyoming granted to the post a large tract of land for the enlargement of the reservation, taking in exchange other Government lands. The same year the post hospital was built and since then other buildings have been erected. A system of waterworks was constructed for the post at a considerable cost, and Fort Mackenzie became the second post of the state in importance, being exceeded only by Fort D. A. Russell at Cheyenne.
In the spring of 1918 the garrison consisted of Lieut. Herman Hurring and six men belonging to the quartermaster's department, and a movement for the abandonment of the post was inaugurated. In an article contributed to the Cheyenne Leader, the writer says: "Fort Mackenzie, with its 5.000 acres of land, would make an ideal location for a military school. Its buildings are of pressed brick and substantially constructed, and with little expense could be made to serve admirably the purpose of an academy. * * * If proper representations were made by those in authority, it is very probable that the fort could be secured upon most favorable conditions. Naturally, nothing can be done until formal orders come abandoning the fort as a military post, but in my judgment this order may be expected at no distant day."
|In the states adjoining Wyoming were a number of forts that played a part in the military history of the state. Among these may be named Fort Hall, Idaho; Uinta and Thornburg, Utah; Sedgwick (first known as Fort Rankin), Colorado; C. F. Smith and Custer, Montana; and Robinson and Sidney in Nebraska.|