Fort Laramie in 1876: Chronicle of a Frontier Post at War
Fort Laramie had a long and illustrious history as a way station on the Oregon Trail, trading center, rendezvous point, Indian agency, and military installation. Founded in 1834 on the high plains of present-day eastern Wyoming, the fort evolved into an organizational hub and chief supply center for the U.S. Army in its campaigns against the Sioux and Cheyenne Indians.
Fort Laramie in 1876 focuses on a crucial year in the history of the fort, a year that saw General George Crook's Big Horn, Yellowstone, and Powder River expeditions; the defeat of Lieutenant Colonel George A. Custer at the Little Big Horn; a fevered rush to the Black Hills gold fields; and chaos at the Red Cloud and Spotted Tail Indian agencies. Many historians have written about these events, but Paul L. Hedren is the first to dwell on the operations of the most important military post on the northern plains during that time. He has drawn on the official army records of Fort Laramie—a vast body of correspondence, orders, and directives from all command levels—in addition to diaries and journals. Collectively, they illuminate the scene of a frontier military outpost making history in its support of General Crook in the Great Sioux War.
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Sioux War Geography
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