Today the state historic site provides an interpretive center with exhibits, videos, bookstore, and self-guided tours of the fort and outlying sites. No better choice could have been made for the expedition. It was a rectangle, six hundred by eight hundred feet, enclosed by a formidable stockade of heavy pine logs standing eight feet high, with a continuous ban­quette, and flaring loopholes at every fourth log. Fort Phil Kearny was an outpost of the United States Army that existed in the late 1860s in present-day northeastern Wyoming along the Bozeman Trail.Construction began Friday July 13, 1866 by Companies A, C, E and H of the 2nd Battalion, 18th Infantry, under the direction of the regimental commander and Mountain District commander Colonel Henry B. Carrington. Follow road markers. Grummond had a wife in delicate health at the post, and he was cautioned by the officers to take care not to be led into a trap, although his experience on the 6th, when he had so narrowly escaped death, was, it would seem, the best warning he could have had. There were enfilading blockhouses on the diagonal corners, with portholes for the cannon, and quarters for officers and men, with other necessary buildings. The next spring John M. Bozeman and John M. Jacobs blazed the Bozeman Trail. Bodies were strung along the road clear to the western end farthest from the fort. As soon as this occurred, in July and August, the Sioux, unknowingly celebrating the zenith of their power on the northern Plains, jubilantly burned them to the ground. Rarely in the history of the Indian wars of the United States have the Indians, no matter how preponderant in force, conducted a regular siege, Pontiac's investment of Detroit being almost unique in that particular. Captain Frederick Brown, a veteran of the Civil War, had just been promoted, had received orders detaching him from the command, and was simply waiting a fa­vorable opportunity to leave. Be­sides which, details were constantly needed to carry dispatches, to deliver the mail, to get supplies, to succor emigrant trains, and so on. There were no evidences of a very severe struggle right there. Awesome Inc. theme. Spared the circuitous route through Salt Lake City, gold seekers soon poured over the trail, which crossed the heart of the hunting grounds the hostile Sioux had recently seized from the Crow. Red Cloud, Man-Afraid-of-His-Horses, and other chiefs who roamed the Powder and Bighorn country to the West vowed to let no travelers pass unmolested. Such was the melancholy fate of Fetterman and his men. If the Indians appear fire three guns from the twelve-pounder at minute intervals, and, later, sub­stitute a red lantern for the white." During this council, to an­ticipate later events, Carrington, then approaching with troops, arrived in advance, dismounted, and was intro­duced to the members of the council. The fighting there was so fierce that the cavalry, which by a singular circum­stance was without its officers, gave way and retreated headlong across the valley toward the ridge. It is believed, however, that his impetuous counsel, due to his good luck in many a brush with assailing parties, which he had several times pursued almost alone, largely precipitated the final disaster. Carrington, saddled with 21 women and children dependents who had accompanied him from Fort Kearny, Nebraska, maintained a defensive stance. In this particular expedition there were several little children, from some of whom I have gleaned details and happenings. He dashed up to headquarters with a message from Ten Eyck, stating that "the valley on the other side of the ridge is filled with Indians, who are threatening him. Pickets were left on two commanding ridges, as signal observers, as the command moved forward. Fort Phil Kearny was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1962. Prominent among them was Captain William J. Fetterman, who boasted that he and 80 men could ride through the whole Sioux Nation. Southwest of Sullivant Hills was a high ridge called Lodge Trail Ridge, the main branch of the Piney Creek flowing between them, so that the water supply was at the eastern or "Water Gate" of the fort. The youngster accomplished it by lying upon his back with feet braced against the bow, and the general squarely withdrew from the con­test, declining to follow the boy's ingenious artifice. The general had been forced to advance under fire, and meeting the fugitive cavalry, ordered them to fall in behind his own detachment. The strong have ever sought to take from the weak. Be­hind such cover as they could obtain nearby lay the bodies of the oldest and most experienced soldiers in Fetterman's command. Casualties among the men were by no means rare. Civil War Change of Base McClellan Gaines's Mill S... General George Armstrong Custer Little Big Horn Ca... Fort Phil Kearny Fetterman Massacre General Henry ... Jesse & Frank James Great Northfield Minnesota Ban... Digital History Project . Although the story of Fort Phil Kearny and the Fetterman Massacre of 1866 has been fictionalized many times, often inaccurately, it has been largely neglected by formal historians. It was escorted by a guard from a wood train, and brought in the scalped, naked, dead body of one of their comrades, a strange welcome, indeed, to the young wife, who, upon leaving Laramie, had been assured of a beautiful ride through fertile valleys without danger, and sadder yet in its sequel two months later. The fort, known to the Indians as the "hated post on the Little Piney", played an important role in Red Cloud's War. Late in the afternoon Ten Eyck's party returned to the fort with terrible tidings of appalling disaster. Brown and Fetterman were found lying side by side, each with a bullet wound in the left temple. As the fort was still far from completion, the logging operations were continued until mid-winter. If the Government erects a monument that can be destroyed by these people, it should be cared for by the United States. The only modern intrusion of consequence is the highway. Nearly one-fourth of the efficient force of the fort had been wiped out. One of my men fell and his horse on him. The most careful watchfulness was necessary at all hours of the day and night. His men had evidently fought on the road until their ammu­nition gave out, and then had either been ordered to re­treat to the fort, or had retreated of their own motion ­probably the latter. Behind a little pile of rock, making a natural fortification, were the two civilians who had been armed with the modern Henry rifle. The Indians were driven off, and, although he was tempted to pursue them, he was too good a soldier to disobey orders, so he led his men back in safety to the fort. The duty devolved upon Captain Fetterman was ex­actly that which Captain Powell had performed so sat­isfactorily a few days before. So necessary did he think the caution that he repeated it to Lieutenant Grum­mond, who, with the cavalry, followed the infantry out of the gate, the infantry, having less preparation to make, getting away first. He had killed three In­dians before he had been overborne. As old James Bridger, a veteran plainsman and fur trader, a scout whose fame is scarcely less than that of Kit Carson, and the confidential companion ad­viser of Carrington in 1866, was wont to say to him: "Whar you don't see no Injuns thar they're sartin to be thickest.". On the 21st of December, the ground being free from snow, the air clear and cold, the lookout on Sullivant Hills signaled about eleven o'clock in the morning that the wood train had been corralled, and was again at tacked in force about a mile and a half from the fort. At first most of the settlers merely wished to pass through the country and settle in the fair lands upon the other side, but the fer­tility and beauty that met their eyes on every hand irresistibly invited settlement on the journey. The visitor's center has some displays, a film, and a model. The mercury was in the bulb. Lieutenant Bing­ham was not the first officer killed; for, five months be­fore, Lieutenant Daniels, riding ahead of a small party of soldiers escorting several officers and the wife of Lieutenant Wands from Fort Laramie, had been killed in full view of the party. 528 Wagon Box Road By this time all warehouses were finished, and it was estimated that one large wood train would supply logs enough for the completion of the hospital, which alone needed attention. On the 13th of July, 1866, he established his camp on the banks of the Big Piney Creek, an affluent of the Powder River, about four miles from the superb Big Horn Range, with snow-capped Cloud Peak towering nine thousand feet into the heavens, close at hand. Use features like bookmarks, note taking and highlighting while reading The Fetterman Massacre: Fort Phil Kearny and the Battle of the Hundred Slain. The largest of the three posts guarding the Bozeman Trail, it was one of the best fortified western forts of the time. Captain Fetterman, instead of leading his men direct to the wood train on the south side of Sullivant Hills, double-quicked toward the Peno Valley on to the north side. Only the most watchful prudence, the most skillful management, and the most determined valor, prevented the annihilation of successive parties of emi­grants seeking the new and inviting land. The following note was sent to Captain Ten Eyck: "Forty well-armed men, with three thousand rounds, ambulances, stores, etc., left before your courier came in. Men and women dressed in furs made from wolf skins tak­en from the hundreds of wolves which infested the outside butcher-field at night, and which were poisoned by the men for their fur. Com - the home page of author Nicholas L. Vulich. In many of these, in most, in fact, one or more men were killed and a greater number wounded. Engi­neers and road builders, as well as emigrants, demanded the protection of the government. About five miles to its north, along U.S. 87 and about 1½  miles northeast of Story, Wyoming is the spur ridge east of Peno Creek, and the route of the Bozeman Trail, along which Fetterman and his men retreated southward. It cannot be denied that there was much dissatisfac­tion among some of the officers at Carrington's prudent policy. With Richard Egan, Carroll O'Connor, Robert Fuller, Michael Sarrazin. We use cookies. The force was woefully inadequate, and the number of officers had been depleted by detachment and other causes until there were but six left. The mounted infantry stood its ground, and under Fetter-man's intrepid leadership was making a brave fight against overwhelming odds, the number of Indians present being estimated at more than three hundred. Fort Phil Kearny Fetterman Massacre General Henry Carrington by Cyrus Townsend Brady. Title The Indian battle and massacre near Fort Philip Kearney, Dacotah [sic] Territory, December 21, 1866 Summary Large group of Native Americans on horseback surrounding United States Army soldiers. It proved to be not a reinforcement of troops or ammunition supplies, but two ambulances with two contract surgeons and an escort of eight men, besides Bailey, the guide, and Lieutenant Grummond, who had just been appointed to the Eighteenth Infantry, and his young bride. The third pro­jected post was not established. Smith in Montana. I haven't seen a lot of material about Fort Phil Kearny or the Fetterman massacre. The spot was delightful. Your email address will not be published. Perhaps it ill becomes us to censure the dead, but the whole unfortunate affair arose from a direct disobe­dience of orders on the part of Fetterman and his men. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. More than one-half of the sixty-five in the party were frosted, and three amputations, with one death, were the immediate result of the foolish and cruel order. He rightly judged that the moral effect of the battle would be greatly enhanced, in the eyes of the Indians, if the bodies were not recov­ered. Reinforcements finally arrived from the fort with a mountain howitzer and quickly dispersed the opposition. The U.S. military mission was intended to protect travelers on the Bozeman Trail. Enormous herds of buffalo roamed the plains, affording the Indian nearly every­thing required for his support. The Fetterman Massacre: Fort Phil Kearny and the Battle of the Hundred Slain - Ebook written by Dee Brown. A dramatic retelling of the 1866 Sioux victory where 81 soldiers were killed. One stipulation upon which the United States in­sisted was the establishment of military posts to guard the trail, without which it was felt the treaty would amount to nothing. This will involve the provision of a resi­ dence and services of the keeper, the same as has just been found necessary for the monument erected at the birthplace of Washington. Your email address will not be published. The sky was over­cast and lowering, with indications of a tremendous storm. Powell efficiently performed his task. The following order was left with the officer of the day: "Fire the usual sunset gun, running a white lamp to masthead. Since the United States began to be there never was such a post as Fort Philip Kearney, common­ly called Fort Phil Kearney From its establish­ment, in 1866, to its abandonment, some two years later, it was practically in a state of siege. After every campaign poor, wretched women of stranded and robbed emigrant trains or devastated settlements were brought into the various camps, to whom these army women ministered with loving care, and from whom they heard frightful and sickening de­tails that froze the blood; yet the army wife herself never faltered in her devotion, never failed in her willingness to follow wherever her husband was sent. Lieutenant Grummond, after a hand-to-hand fight, was closely pressed by mounted Indians and was barely rescued. The officials in the Far East hugged their treaty, and refused to believe that a state of war existed; and, if it did exist, were disposed to censure the com­manding officer for provoking it. East of the fort proper was a corral of slightly less area, surrounded by a rough palisade of cottonwood logs, which enclosed the wood train, hay, and mis­cellaneous supplies. Called a massacre at the time, the December 1866 clash near Fort Phil Kearny was, in fact, a military triumph by the Plains Indians and the Army's greatest blunder in the West until the Battle of the Little Bighorn 10 years later. Meanwhile the work of erecting the fort was contin­ued. Fort Phil Kearney, Fetterman Massacre and The Wagon Box Fight. At ten o'clock at night, on the return, the white lamp at masthead told its welcome story of a garrison still intact. This body of men was the best armed party at the post a few of those designated carrying the Spencer repeating car­bines. The many rivers which traversed the territory teemed with fish the valleys which they watered were abun­dantly fertile for the growing of the few crops which the Indian found necessary for his support. Ten Eyck very prop­erly stood upon the defensive on the hill and refused to go down into the valley in spite of the insults and shouts of the Indians, who numbered upward of two thousand warriors, until they finally withdrew. - See 137 traveller reviews, 110 candid photos, and great deals for Sheridan, WY, at Tripadvisor. It would have gone hard with them, however, had not Carrington and the first six of his detachment sud­denly swept around a small hill or divide and taken the Indians in reverse. But even had there been a full knowledge of the dan­gers incurred, the army women would have gone with their husbands. There were at one time only forty rounds per man available. . The massacre itself fills only one chapter out of 11, but it is remarkably detailed and by no means is this a criticism. The army woman in a hostile country risked much more than the men. But these are only surmises; what really happened, God alone knows. There they were menaced by the Indians for the first time and every endeavor was made to stampede their herds. No Indians appeared in sight on that date. He was a high-minded Christian gentleman, a soldier of large experience and proven courage, an administrator of vigor and capacity, and, as his subsequent career has shown, a man of fine literary talents. I imagine them vainly protesting, imploring, begging their men to make a stand. Now, trails lead visitors to the sites of the conflicts, and interpretive signs explain the events from the perspectives of both the military and Indian groups. Brown, Dee. Most of the civilians succeeded in safely reaching the post, but four were trapped with the soldiers in an oval barricade that had been formed earlier as a defensive fortification from the overturned boxes of 14 wood-hauling wagons that had been removed from the running gears. 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