99¢ kindle edition

99¢ kindle edition

99¢ kindle edition

99¢ kindle edition

All About

the Trail






Fantastic Facts

Fort Caspar

Ft. Caspar was built in the Trail's later years--primarily to protect the telegraph office here. Because it was located at a popular river crossing, the fort was also the site of several ferries--and later a log bridge (pictured above).

As hostility with the tribes in the region increased, the fort was expanded and about 100 soldiers were eventually garrisoned here.

Unlike the other forts on the Oregon Trail, this was the site of a major attack. In July of 1865, a military wagon train was heading towards the fort from the west. Suddenly, thousands of Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapaho attacked. Only three of the 25 soldiers in the wagon train survived. In a separate battle, four more soldiers were killed the same day.

But the attacks were not unprovoked. The tribes considered these raids to be retaliation for a brutal massacre a few months earlier in Sand Creek, Colorado. There, over 100 defenseless Native Americans were cruelly slaughtered. Toddlers were shot for target practice; babies were scalped; a pregnant woman was sliced open.

Col. John Chivington led the Sand Creek Massacre:
"Damn any man who sympathizes with Indians. I have come to kill Indians and I believe it is right to use any means. I long to be wading in gore."

In 1867, less than a decade after it was constructed, the tribes burned down Fort Casper.