Fort Laramie in Goshen County, Wyoming — The American West (Mountains)
The Cavalry Stables
Fort Laramie National Historic Site
Most of the four generations of cavalry stables constructed at Fort Laramie were located here, just below the rise you are standing on. Measuring as large as 310 by 28 feet, the stables were made of log or board and batten construction. Typically configured with a double row of stalls, each stable housed 80 to 100 animals. Altogether, as many as 350 cavalry horses were kept here.
Mountains of manure produced by the cavalry horses were a continual problem for the garrison. A report dated September 1874 noted:
. . . the heaps of manure from the Cavalry stables, all of which has accumulated and been deposited for many years on the north side of . . . the Post is offensive in every particular and a general nuisance.
Groundwater pollution and the strong odor of horse dung made it essential to locate the stables as far possible from the garrison living quarters – and downwind from the post.
Several times a day the stables became a beehive of activity. At 6 a.m. and again in late afternoon trumpeters sounded stable call summoning cavalrymen to groom, feed, and care for their mounts. Mid-morning and mid-afternoon trumpet calls alerted troopers that it was time to water their horses. Drill call brought cavalrymen to the stables to retrieve their horses to practice mounted tactics.
Indian Ponies and Cavalry Horses
Horses used by the U.S. Cavalry and Northern Plains Indians differed greatly. Army specifications called for cavalry horses to be “geldings [castrated males], of hardy colors, sound in all particulars, in good condition, well broken to the saddle, from 15 to 16 hands high [60 to 64 inches], not less than 5 nor more than 9 years old . . . ”
The typical Indian pony was much smaller, stockier, and more agile. The powerful cavalry horses could easily outrun an Indian pony in short to intermediate distances, but in prolonged pursuits the advantage belonged to the pony. During long summer campaigns the cavalry horse was overmatched. The Indian pony foraged comfortably on native grasses while army horses depended on grains supplied by wagons.
Lightly loaded, the Plains Indian horse carried only the warrior, his fighting equipment, and saddle. Conversely, the fully equipped cavalry horse bore not only the rider, but equipment, supplies, and a much heavier saddle that averaged 125 pounds in total.
Erected by National Park Service.
Location. 42° 12.377′ N, 104° 33.383′ W. Marker is in Fort Laramie, Wyoming, in Goshen County. Marker can be reached from State Highway 160, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is located at Fort Laramie National Historic Site. Marker is in this post office area: Fort Laramie WY 82212, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Noncommissioned Officers’ Quarters (here, next to this marker); ‘Where’s the Wall?’ (within shouting distance of this marker); The Rustic Hotel (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Post Hospital (about 400 feet away); Cavalry Barracks (about 700 feet away); The Rustic Hotel “ . . . No Second-Rate Affair” (about 700 feet away); The Sutler’s House (approx. 0.2 miles away); Fort Laramie National Historic Site (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Fort Laramie.
More about this marker. The bottom of the marker features an 1870 photo of Fort Laramie and points out the Cavalry Stables. A photo of an unidentified cavalry trooper and mount appears at the upper right of the marker.
Also see . . . Fort Laramie National Historic Site (Submitted on August 11, 2015, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
Categories. • Forts, Castles •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 11, 2015, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 218 times since then and 4 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on August 11, 2015, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.