Fort Phil Kearny

Fort Phil Kearny

Infobox nrhp
name = Fort Phil Kearny and Associated Sites
nrhp_type = nhl

caption = Fort Phil Kearny, between Buffalo & Sheridan, WY
location = On SR W off U.S. 87
nearest_city = Story, Wyoming
lat_degrees = | lat_minutes = | lat_seconds = | lat_direction =
long_degrees = | long_minutes =| long_seconds = | long_direction =
area =
built = 1866
architect =
architecture =
designated = December 19, 1960cite web|url=
title=Fort Phil Kearny and Associated Sites |accessdate=2008-02-29|work=National Historic Landmark summary listing|publisher=National Park Service
added = October 15, 1966cite web|url=|title=National Register Information System|date=2007-01-23|work=National Register of Historic Places|publisher=National Park Service]
visitation_num =
visitation_year =
refnum = 66000756
governing_body = Wyoming Division of State Parks; Private

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 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 Col. Henry B. Carrington. The post was named for Maj. Gen. Philip Kearny, a popular figure in the American Civil War. The fort should be distinguished from the similarly-named Fort Kearny in Nebraska, which was named for Kearny's uncle Stephen W. Kearny. The fort today is commemorated by the State of Wyoming as the Fort Phil Kearny State Historic Site.

The fort was located along the east side of the Bighorn Mountains in present-day northern Johnson County, approximately convert|15|mi|km|0 north of Buffalo. Along with Fort Reno and Fort C. F. Smith, the fort was established along the Bozeman Trail in the Powder River Country at the height of the Indian Wars to protect prospective miners travelling the trail north from the Oregon Trail to present-day Montana.

Fort Phil Kearny was the largest of the three stockaded fortifications along the trail. Its eight foot (2 m) high log walls enclosed an area of 17 acres (69,000 m²). The walls measured 1,496 feet (456 m) in length, tapering in width from 600 feet (180 m) on the north to 240 feet (73 m) on the south. 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", [ Keenan, Jerry; (2000:8) The Wagon Box Fight: An Episode of Red Cloud's War, Savas Publishing. ISBN 1-882810-87-2] 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. All three forts along the trail were abandoned as part of the Treaty of Fort Laramie (1868). Shortly after, it was burned by Cheyenne Indians.

Fort Phil Kearny, along with the sites of the Fetterman massacre and the Wagon Box Fight, was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960.citation|title=PDFlink| [ National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Fort Phil Kearny and Related Sites] |32 KB|date=January 3, 1976 |author=Stephen Lissandrello |publisher=National Park Service and PDFlink| [ "Accompanying 25 photos, from 1953, 1987, 1960 and undated"] |32 KB]

The future of the site is in doubt as of 2005, as the current owner of most of the site, ChevronTexaco, has decided to sell the convert|26000|acre|km2|-1|sing=on ranch on which the site sits. While the state of Wyoming has offered to do a land swap with ChevronTexaco in order to preserve the convert|1350|acre|km2|0 nearest to the historical sites, ChevronTexaco declined the offer. The two parties, however, are continuing to negotiate a plan to save the site's historical integrity, and ChevronTexaco has said that it is interested in preserving the site.


External links

* [ Fort Phil Kearny National Historic Landmark, at Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office]

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