hh20f.htm =c@8" =c BDGt &H &Ȥ %~ () =c@ 'KTEXTR*chBX\Hd NPS Historical Handbook: Fort Laramie

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Fort Laramie Becomes a Military Post

For some years the Government had considered establishing military posts along the Oregon Trail for the protection of emigrants, and this site at the mouth of the Laramie had often been recommended. In December 1845, such action was proposed by President Polk and in May 1846 the Congress approved "An Act to provide for raising a regiment of Mounted Riflemen, and for establishing military stations on the route to Oregon." Funds were provided to mount and equip the troops, to defray the expenses of each station, and to compensate the Indian tribes on whose lands these stations might be erected.

The Mexican War delayed the projected building of forts on the Oregon Trail, but in 1847 a battalion of Missouri Mounted Volunteers was recruited. Early in 1848 this battalion established Fort Kearny, the first of the posts on the trail, on the south bank of the Platte near the bead of Grand Island. In November, they were mustered out, being relieved by the Mounted Riflemen.

During the following winter the news of the discovery of gold in California was published throughout the land, and the resulting fevered preparations to trek westward the next spring increased the urgency of completing the chain of forts.

In March, United States Adj. Gen. Roger Jones directed Gen. D. E. Triggs at St. Louis to carry out establishment of the second post "at or near Fort Laramie, a trading station belonging to the American Fur Company." Lt. Daniel P. Woodbury, of the Corps of Engineers, was authorized to purchase the buildings of Fort Laramie "should he deem it necessary to do so." Companies A and E, Mounted Riflemen, and Company G, Sixth Infantry, were designated as the first garrison of the new post with Maj. W. F. Sanderson, Mounted Riflemen, in command.

Major Sanderson with 4 officers and 58 men of Company E, Mounted Riflemen, left Fort Leavenworth early in May and arrived at the Laramie on June 16 without incident. On June 27 he wrote to the adjutant general reporting that after making a thorough reconnaissance of the neighborhood he had found this to be the most eligible site and that at his request Lieutenant Woodbury had, on June 26, purchased Fort Laramie from Bruce Husband, agent of the American Fur Co., for $4,000. He reported further that good pine timber, limestone, hay, and dry wood were readily available and that the Laramie River furnished abundant good water for the command.

Company C, Mounted Rifles, consisting of 2 officers and 60 men, arrived at the post on July 26, and on August 12 the 2 officers and 53 men of Company G, Sixth Infantry, completed the garrison and joined in the work of preparing additional quarters.

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