Dave Walsh 3 Feb ’16
One year after the horrible conflict of the Civil War ended in the east, there was another war going strong here in Wyoming. The Bozeman Trail had turned into a 19th century version of an interstate by the mid-1860’s. Miners and hardy settlers were heading into the area of Wyoming and Montana at a tremendous and growing rate. That was just fine with the miners and settlers. The proud people of the Lakota Sioux, well, they saw things a bit differently, and a conflict between the nations was inevitable.
Under the leadership of the great Chief Red Cloud, Lakota warriors lured a patrol under the command of Captain William J. Fetterman beyond sight of the walls of Fort Phil Kearney, and destroyed them. Yes, December 21st, 1866, is remembered to this day as the Fetterman Massacre.
More than 80 cavalrymen died on that cold winter’s day in northeastern Wyoming. The Army, the Sioux, the Cheyenne and the Arapaho Nations continued to war against one another until the Bozeman Trail and the three cavalry forts established for its protection were abandoned. Fort Phil Kearney was burned to the ground by Cheyenne shortly after the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868. The Fetterman Massacre, Fort Phil Kearney. Wonders of Wyoming.