Monday, March 26, 2012

Ft. Phil Kearny, Wyoming

These are monuments at Ft. Phil Kearny, the command which suffered defeat at the Fetterman Fight, but endured an attack later at the Wagon Box Fight.

This blog does not attempt to document battlefields photographically, and the same is true of historic sites. For this reason, this entry does not attempt to depict all of Ft. Phil Kearny. Those wishing to see more photos of the post should look here. Rather, this only attempts to depict a few things topical to this blog.

The monument depicted above is an early one, placed by the State of Wyoming well before any archeology on the post had been done, and very little about its grounds was known. Now, because of archeology on the site, this monument is in a location where it is probably only rarely viewed.

These photographs depict a common device for historic sites in Wyoming, a pipe used for sighting a distant location. In this case, the location is the location of the post cemetery. The cemetary originally held the bodies of the soldiers, and civilians, killed at the Fetterman Fight, but the bodies were later removed to the national cemetery at Little Big Horn.

These are the monuments and markers at the Wagon Box Fight battlefield. These monuments reflect the evolution of how Indian Wars' battles are viewed, as a marker at the the site of the brass monument notes that this monument wholly omits Indian casualties, which of course is correct. As it notes, at the time it was erected this was simply not a consideration, whereas it would be now.

This is a well preserved battlefield. More photos of the location itself may be viewed here. For some reason, when I took these photos, I did not think to get a photograph of the entire monument, perhaps because I was more focused on the battlefield.

In addition to the bronze monument, there is also this early stone monument erected by the State of Wyoming. This monument is in a location where it is probably that most visitors to this site do not take note of it.

John "Portugee" Phillips Monument

John "Portugee" Phillips was an Azores born civilian who found himself working out of Ft. Phil Kearny at the time of the disastrous Fetterman fight. After the battle, Phillips, together with another civilian, rode over 200 miles to bring the news of the disaster to the Army. Phillips rode slightly further, and therefore is remembered, than his compatriot.

Phillips remained in Wyoming, married, and became a rancher. He's buried in Cheyenne. This memorial to his long ride is located just outside of the grounds of Ft. Phil Kearny in what is effectively a ranch yard. Indeed, my photographs of the monument are not closer, as two ranch dogs from the adjacent ranch were self employed in guarding it, and discretion proved the better part of valor. Besides, it's refreshing to see two such dedicated employees as they, and I honored their objections as to my dismounting from my vehicle.

The Fetterman Battleground, Wyoming

This is one of the very first state monuments in Wyoming and, for a monument of its type, it is the first. It was actually a private project originally, by a group of "interested citizens". The monument commemorates the December 21, 1866 Fetterman battle, in which Fetterman's command was completely eliminated at the hands of the Cheyenne and Sioux. You can read more about the battle, and see more photographs here.

Typical for monuments of its age, this monument notes only the European American causalities, and does not address at all the Indian casualties. The state park, however, covering only a portion of the battleground, does an excellent job fully interpreting the battle.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Oregon Trail Marker and Stuart Cabin

This monument commemorates the Oregon Trail, noting an 1841 date, and the 1812 Stuart cabin, which was at one time commonly noted to be the "first white man's cabin" in Wyoming. It was more likely the first European American cabin, as it could certainly be debated as to whether French Canadians had built prior temporary structures. The cabin itself was what was originally principally commemorated here, and at one time there was a wooden sign of the type placed by the State of Wyoming to mark historic sites here. The sign was removed many years ago for some reason.

The cabin was occupied only briefly, as the occupants, fur trappers, discovered that they had built it in an area that was being contested between two Indian tribes. Upon discovering that, they relocated their winter quarters to a spot near the current town of Torrington, over 100 miles away. As a cabin, it was a primitive structure, with a simple open hole in the roof allowing for a fire to be built on the floor with the smoke venting out the top.

Today, highway construction is going on in this location.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Teton County War Memorial, Jackson Wyoming

This is the memorial to Teton County's veterans, located in the central park in Jackson. The same park also features a John Coulter memorial, a photograph of which is below, dedicated to the memory of the famous mountain man.

American Legion Post 43 Empty Saddle Memorial, Jackson Wyoming

This memorial is in front of Jackson Wyoming's American Legion Post 43 and commemorates the history of the post, and the men who came from Jackson who have made it up over the years. The memorial notes that a "troupe" of Jackson residents traveled to Cheyenne to join the Army in World War One. What "troupe" indicates in this context I'm not sure of, but a photo of those men is included in this memorial.