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A monument Honoring John “Portugee” Phillips Marker image, Touch for more information
By Bill Coughlin, July 23, 2015
A monument Honoring John “Portugee” Phillips Marker
Wyoming (Sheridan County), Banner — A monument Honoring John “Portugee” Phillips
One of history’s great but little celebrated rides was made between midnight December 21st and Christmas night December 25th in the year 1866. From here at Fort Phil Kearny, where annihilation of Fetterman’s force had left the garrison in desperate . . . — Map (db m87700) HM
Wyoming (Sheridan County), Banner — As a Cavalryman . . .
. . . you dress lightly because the weather is clear. You are carrying your recently issued seven shot Spencer repeater and a saber. Lt. Grummond will command and he carries a saber and revolver. Wheatley and Fisher, who are with you, carry 15 . . . — Map (db m87522) HM
Wyoming (Sheridan County), Banner — As a Plains Indian . . .
. . . your preparations for the battle began two weeks ago when some leaders, including Red Leaf, High Back Bone and Black Leg, determined that the soldiers from the Buffalo Creek Fort could be ambushed. At your main camp on the Tongue River two . . . — Map (db m87526) HM
Wyoming (Sheridan County), Banner — As an Infantryman . . .
. . . you are part of a detail formed this morning consisting of 49 men from companies A, C, E, and H of the 18th Infantry Regiment, you are told you will relieve a wood train under attack on Sullivan Hill for the third time in three weeks. On . . . — Map (db m87520) HM
Wyoming (Sheridan County), Banner — As the Attack Continues . . .
. . . the command retreats up the hill to this point, stopping only once or twice to fire at the pursuing warriors. Civilians Wheatley and Fisher, along with some non-commissioned officers, are making a stand 250 yards to the north, slowing . . . — Map (db m87523) HM
Wyoming (Sheridan County), Banner — At the Break of Dawn . . .
. . . you and fellow warriors prepare for battle. You wear your fines dress which includes your war shirt. The war pony you selected is painted and readied for battle as well. All of this preparation will give you spiritual strength and . . . — Map (db m87528) HM
Wyoming (Sheridan County), Banner — Big Nose . . .
. . . one of the Cheyenne members of the decoy party, is with you. He is riding a black horse belonging to Little Wolf, his brother, and is wearing Sweet Medicine Chief’s scalp shirt. His horse, tired from decoying the soldiers, stumbles . . . — Map (db m87524) HM
Wyoming (Sheridan County), Banner — Cemetery Site
Because of a healthy climate plus a short existence, Phil Kearny’s cemetery might have remained an almost vacant place. But warfare prevented that idea. Here rested eighty-one victims of Fetterman’s impetuosity; three heros of the masterful Wagon . . . — Map (db m87703) HM
Wyoming (Sheridan County), Banner — Corporal Adolph Metzger . . .
. . . like you, will die today. History will record that he is of German descent and a combat veteran of the Civil War and Plains Indian Wars. Two weeks ago, on December 6th, he helped Col. Carrington rescue Lt. Grummond from certain death. . . . — Map (db m87525) HM
Wyoming (Sheridan County), Banner — During Your Advance . . .
. . . you are joined by 27 more soldiers of Company C, 2nd U.S. Cavalry, under the command of Lt. George Grummond. Captain Fred Brown and two civilian volunteers, James Wheatley and Isaac Fisher, also join up. Your detail heads up Piney Creek . . . — Map (db m87521) HM
Wyoming (Sheridan County), Banner — Fetterman Massacre Memorial
On this field on the 21st day of December, 1866, three commissioned officers and seventy six privates of the 18th U.S. Infantry, and of the 2nd U.S. Cavalry, and four civilians, under the command of Captain Brevet-Lieutenant Colonel William J. . . . — Map (db m85998) HM
Wyoming (Sheridan County), Banner — Fetterman Monument
On July 3, 1908, Henry B. Carrington, Frances Grummond Carrington and veterans of the Fort Phil Kearny garrison attended a memorial ceremony to dedicate this monument. Colonel Carrington and others recounted the events surrounding the battle of . . . — Map (db m87407) HM
Wyoming (Sheridan County), Banner — Fort Phil KearnyRegistered National Historic Landmark
The Land The land under view where the Great Plains meets the Rocky Mountains was once the Red Man's land of milk and honey, then as now teaming with wildlife. It was a most productive--thus favorite--hunting ground. But it was also a . . . — Map (db m21870) HM
Wyoming (Sheridan County), Banner — Fort Phil Kearny
has been designated a Registered National Historic Landmark Under the provisions of the Historic Sites Act of August 21, 1935 this site possesses exceptional value in commemorating and illustrating the history of the United States. U.S. Department . . . — Map (db m87402) HM
Wyoming (Sheridan County), Banner — In the End . . .
. . . the soldiers are surrounded and defeated. You begin gathering used arrows, soldier weapons, loose horses and tending your injured. Some warriors were hit by accident when warriors attacked from both sides of the trail. Other warriors . . . — Map (db m87531) HM
Wyoming (Sheridan County), Banner — Laundress Row: No Hog Ranch Here
All military posts had laundresses, with some having poor reputations as ladies-of-the-night, or for conducting shady activities. This may not have been the case at Fort Phil Kearny. There were four to five laundresses at this fort, each assigned . . . — Map (db m87657) HM
Wyoming (Sheridan County), Banner — Lesson LearnedArchaeology at Fort Phil Kearny
Documented archaeology began at Fort Phil Kearny in 1961 and reoccurred in 1970, 1991-92, 1999 and 2000. The initial work was done by Gene Galloway who salvaged artifacts during the county road construction. In 1970-71 George Frison studied the . . . — Map (db m87667) HM
Wyoming (Sheridan County), Banner — Lodge Trail Ridge
Lodge Trail Ridge divided the drainages of both Piney Creeks with the drainage of Peno (now Prairie Dog) Creek. Up this divide, north beyond Phil Kearny, climbed the Bozeman Trail on its route to Montana. There, December 21, 1866, in violation of . . . — Map (db m87698) HM
Wyoming (Sheridan County), Banner — Northern Plains Indian Wars
< Marker #1 : > By 1866, Twenty Years of Confrontation . . . . . . had occurred on the Northern Plains. Indian tribes clashed over the vast resources of food, water and grass. European Americans pressured all the tribes on the quest . . . — Map (db m87421) HM
Wyoming (Sheridan County), Banner — Officers RowSurgeons, Chaplains, and Captains Awash in Controversy
Officers Row was a group of seven to ten non-descript log structures providing housing for officers and their families. They were probably a combination lumber, log, canvas, and dirt construction with one room, seldom larger than 24 by 30 feet. . . . — Map (db m87619) HM
Wyoming (Sheridan County), Banner — Pilot HillPicket Post
Pilot Hill – overlooking Piney and Little Piney Creek Valleys, the Bozeman Road, the Sullivant Ridge with its wood roads was a constantly manned lookout. From this post the sentry signaled to the Fort news of events as they occurred – . . . — Map (db m87702) HM
Wyoming (Sheridan County), Banner — Portugee Phillips
In honor of John (Portugee) Phillips who Dec. 22-24, 1866, rode 236 miles in sub-zero weather through Indian infested country to Fort Laramie to summon aid for the garrison of Fort Phil Kearny beleaguered by Indians following the Fetterman . . . — Map (db m86069) HM
Wyoming (Sheridan County), Banner — Post Commander’s Quarters:The Best Structure on Post
1867 quartermaster inspections of Fort Phil Kearny indicated the poor condition of many of the buildings on post and that they needed rebuilding. These included the barracks, officer’s quarters, post headquarters and more. The post commander’s . . . — Map (db m87621) HM
Wyoming (Sheridan County), Banner — Powder River Indian Wars – 1865 to 1868
      In 1863, a party led by John Bozeman blazed a trail from the North Platte River, northwest across the Powder River Basin and along the foothills of the Big Horn Mountains to the gold fields of Montana. Established in violation of the 1851 . . . — Map (db m86159) WM
Wyoming (Sheridan County), Banner — Protecting the Travelers or the Garrison?
The mission of the Fort Phil Kearny garrison was to guard travelers on the Bozeman Trail, but it soon became apparent that the guards would also need protection. Therefore, on July 13, 1866, Captain Tenador Ten Eyck began building a fort which had . . . — Map (db m87405) HM
Wyoming (Sheridan County), Banner — Site of a Sawmill
As explained in No. 1 of this series, wood was the life blood of Fort Kearny. The founding soldiers had carried into this wilderness a sawmill. It was set up without the walls of the stockade as here illustrated. And here, as supplied by logs . . . — Map (db m87701) HM
Wyoming (Sheridan County), Banner — Site of Fort Phil Kearny
Site of Fort Phil Kearny July 13, 1866 August 1868 Marked by the State of Wyoming — Map (db m87406) HM
Wyoming (Sheridan County), Banner — Sullivant Ridge
Fort Phil Kearny, built of wood and fueled by wood, required a never ending supply of wood. A supply obtained despite hostile activities by Sioux and Cheyenne. Source was the “Pinery” four miles west against the mountains. The route . . . — Map (db m87691) HM
Wyoming (Sheridan County), Banner — The Band:For Conflict or Conflict
The 18th Infantry’s 40-piece Regimental Band was housed at Fort Phil Kearny in a 24 by 64 green log, panel constructed, dirt roofed barrack. The band provided drummers and buglers for drill, ceremony, and combat commands during the day. In the . . . — Map (db m87629) HM
Wyoming (Sheridan County), Banner — The Bozeman Trail. . . its Approach from the South.
As shown above, so ran, through treaty guaranteed Indian Land, a white man’s route of commerce. Like any road it was an environment and ecology disturbing intrusion. Which, in this case, made it a challenge bound to produce a redman’s reaction . . . — Map (db m87704) HM
Wyoming (Sheridan County), Banner — The Bozeman Trail       1863 – 1868
The Bozeman Trail was established in 1863 by John Bozeman and John Jacobs as a shortcut to the Montana goldfields. It started from Virginia City, at Adler Gulch, in Montana, heading southward across Wyoming and the Powder River country where it . . . — Map (db m87519) HM
Wyoming (Sheridan County), Banner — The Cavalryman’s Quarters:Few and Far Between
It is a false perception that the frontier posts of the American West were garrisoned with large troops of cavalry. Actually a post’s usual population was largely infantry with a few cavalry for support, reconnaissance, escort, or mail delivery. . . . — Map (db m87641) HM
Wyoming (Sheridan County), Banner — The Civilians:Living Outside the Post
Because the regulations would not allow non-military dependent civilians to reside inside Fort Phil Kearny, several civilian dwellings existed outside the post stockade on the valley plain below, and in the Quartermaster corral to the south. These . . . — Map (db m87638) HM
Wyoming (Sheridan County), Banner — The Combatants: Soldiers
The average age of an enlisted man in the United States Army was twenty-three years old. Although Fetterman’s command included veterans of the Civil War, many of the men were inexperienced in Indian warfare and had limited training with their . . . — Map (db m87514) HM
Wyoming (Sheridan County), Banner — The Combatants: Warriors
Plains Indian warriors varied in age from teens into their thirties. Being superb horsemen and skilled marksmen with bow and arrow, these warriors used their athletic skills and knowledge of the terrain to trap their enemies. Although they often . . . — Map (db m87515) HM
Wyoming (Sheridan County), Banner — The Discoveries
Upon hearing rifle volleys north of Lodge Trail Ridge, Col. Carrington sent Captain Tenodor Ten Eyck with a relief column of 75 men to assist Fetterman. After the battle, Ten Eyck’s testimony described the discovery of a valley full of Indians in . . . — Map (db m87532) HM
Wyoming (Sheridan County), Banner — The Fort Kearny Sawmills
Before you lies the frame of a LANE & BODLEY sawmill. This was one of two steam-driven sawmills brought west for Colonel Carrington’s command. The sawmills were used to cut lumber into boards for construction of buildings, furniture and other . . . — Map (db m87705) HM
Wyoming (Sheridan County), Banner — The Guard House:Not just a Jail
Even though Fort Phil Kearny, like most frontier posts, had plenty of use for a jail, this was not the main function of the Guardhouse. The 50 by 32 foot, shingled building with a brick chimney, was used primarily for guard-mount. Guard-mount was . . . — Map (db m87637) HM
Wyoming (Sheridan County), Banner — The HospitalAny Attempt to relieve the suffering . . .
. . . at Fort Phil Kearny was seldom successful at either of its two hospitals. The original hospital was a 24 by 84 foot structure similar to the barracks in construction. During this hospital’s short service it sadly served as the morgue for . . . — Map (db m87624) HM
Wyoming (Sheridan County), Banner — The Magazine:Storing Munitions and More
All military posts had a magazine for storing munitions. At Fort Phil Kearny the Magazine was 16 by 16 feet, with a 11 foot dirt covered ceiling and it was buried eight feet in the southwest quadrant of the parade ground. It is referred to in . . . — Map (db m87644) HM
Wyoming (Sheridan County), Banner — The Post Headquarters:Administering Fort Phil Kearny and the Mountain District
From this building the commander of the Mountain District of the U.S. Army issued orders to Forts Phil Kearny C.F. Smith, and Reno. The Mountain District was made up of the 2nd Battalion 18th Infantry until 1867 when it was reorganized into the . . . — Map (db m87633) HM
Wyoming (Sheridan County), Banner — The Quartermaster Corral:Civilian Quarters, Storage, and Shops
While not as well built and fortified as the military stockade to the north, the quartermaster’s stockade provided protection for the Quartermaster Department’s supplies, draft animals, work shops and civilian employees. Most of the supplies . . . — Map (db m87647) HM
Wyoming (Sheridan County), Banner — The Sutler’s Store:A Social Club with Eastern Delicacies
Even the most remote of frontier posts could not do without its Sutler Store. Fort Phil Kearny’s was established and built by John Kinney in partnership with others, including one Fenn Burnett. The building was 24 by 64 feet and constructed in a . . . — Map (db m87631) HM
Wyoming (Sheridan County), Banner — Touring the FortA Guide to Fort Phil Kearny
Fort Phil Kearny State Historic Site is administered by the Wyoming State Parks and Historic Sites Department and supported by the Fort Phil Kearny/Bozeman Trail Association. All parties are committed to the preservation and interpretation of the . . . — Map (db m87673) HM
Wyoming (Sheridan County), Banner — Two Scenarios: Fetterman Fight, December 21, 1866
The Fetterman Fight was a clash of forces using different warfare tactics. In 1866, the military used Civil War tactics of massed soldiers formations under a central command using concentrated gunfire. The skirmish lines had men placed at . . . — Map (db m87517) HM
Wyoming (Sheridan County), Banner — Weapons of the Fetterman Fight
Officers generally carried Models 1860 Colt or 1858 Remington .44 caliber revolvers. They also carried M-1860 Light Cavalry sabers, like the cavalry. An Infantry Soldier carried a Springfield Model 1863 rifle-musket, .58 caliber. He was . . . — Map (db m87518) HM
Wyoming (Sheridan County), Banner — You Pursue . . .
. . . the soldiers from Peno Creek. They retreat south up the hill along their road. A small group of them stop among some rocks to the north. Their fast shooting guns slow the attack, causing many casualties. The remaining soldiers retreat . . . — Map (db m87529) HM

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