Throughout the 1800s, as settlers began traveling through and staking claim to land in the West, forts sprang up along the path to give weary travelers and railroad workers food and other supplies. The remnants of many of those forts are in Sheridan County today
CONNOR BATTLEFIELD STATE HISTORIC SITE
Located in Ranchester off of Interstate 90, this was the site of the Battle of Tongue River between the Army and the Arapahoe tribe. It was the single most important engagement of the Powder River Expedition of 1865 and caused the Arapahoe to ally with the Sioux and Cheyenne at the Fetterman Fight a year later.
The park has picnic areas, a playground, overnight camping facilities, fishing access as well as historic interpretations.
Fort Fetterman is 20 miles south of Sheridan. On Dec. 21, 1866, a force of 3,000 Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapahoe Indians ambushed a detachment of 81 men and officers under the command of Brevet Lt. Col. Fetterman. This was the worst defeat experienced by the U.S. Army during the Indian Wars until the defeat of Custer some 10 years later.
FORT PHIL KEARNY STATE HISTORIC SITE
Fort Phil Kearny was one of three military posts established along the Bozeman Trail, and is located 25 miles south of Sheridan. This fort was built in 1866 as a cutoff from the Oregon Trail. Immigrants used this trail en route from Fort Laramie to the Montana gold fields. It was abandoned by the Army in 1868 under the terms of the Treaty of Fort Laramie in an effort to establish peace with the Indians, who under Red Cloud constantly harassed the garrison during its existence. The military portion of the fort was 600-by-700 feet, surrounded by an 8-foot stockade of heavy pine logs. As the Army abandoned this fort, the Indians burned it to
LITTLE BIGHORN BATTLEFIELD NATIONAL MONUMENT
George Armstrong Custer, who had a reputation for doing as he pleased, received information that Indians were camped on the Little Bighorn in 1876.On June 25, 1876, without authorization from his superior officer, Custer led his men into an ambush which killed over 250 men and Custer himself. It was a crucial engagement, as it was the last major Indian victory in North America. This site has a museum and historic interpretations of the battle.
ROSEBUD STATE PARK
Located approximately 30 miles northeast of Sheridan off Highway 334, this site is of the 1876 campaign of General George Crook. On June 16, 1876, Crook and his men moved toward the Rosebud. The next morning while they were camped at the head of Rosebud Creek, shots rang out and his men turned to meet the Indians on the ridges above them.
The battle raged for three hours. Nine men were killed and 30 were seriously wounded. They remained and camped for the night. The next morning, after burying their dead, the troops withdrew to the camp on the Goose Creeks. Crazy Horse stopped the expedition, protected his villages and his warriors returned victorious.
WAGON BOX FIGHT STATE HISTORICAL SITE
This fight site is located about five miles west of Fort Phil Kearny near the town of Story. On Aug. 2, 1867, a detachment of 32 men and officers under the command of Capt. James Powell expected to be massacred by hundred’s of Red Cloud’s braves. However, the men had one advantage — they had cover behind a corral of 14 wagon boxes and new rifles which could fire rapidly and repeatedly. Over the eight hours of battle, they were able to repulse the many attacks of Red Cloud’s warriors.