Of all the US Army posts in the West, none witnessed more history than Fort Laramie, positioned in the northern Great Plains join the Rocky Mountains. From its beginnings as a trading post in 1834 to its abandonment by the army in 1890, it was involved in the buffalo hide trade, overland migrations, Indian wars and treaties, the Utah War, Confederate maneuvering, and the coming of the telegraph and first transcontinental railroad.
Douglas C. McChristian has written the first complete history of Fort Laramie, chronicling every critical stage in its existence, including its addition to the National Park System. He draws on an extraordinary array of archival materials — including those at Fort Laramie National Historic Site — to present new data about the fort and new interpretations of historical events.
Emphasizing the fort's military history, McChristian documents the army's vital role in ending challenges posed by American Indians to US occupation and settlement of the region, and he expands on the fort's interactions with the many Native peoples of the Central Plains and Rocky Mountains. He provides a particularly lucid description of the infamous Grattan fight of 1854, which initiated a generation of strife between Indians and US soldiers, and he recounts the 1851 Horse Creek and 1868 Fort Laramie treaties.
Meticulously researched and gracefully told, this is a long-overdue military history of one of the American West's most venerable historic places.
The book is published by University of Oklahoma Press.