Fort Reno (Wyoming)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For other uses, see Fort Reno (disambiguation).
Fort Reno
Old Fort Reno
Fort Reno (Wyoming) is located in Wyoming
Fort Reno (Wyoming)
Location Johnson County, E of Sussex on Powder River
Nearest city Sussex, Wyoming
Coordinates 43°49′39″N 106°14′24″W / 43.82750°N 106.24000°W / 43.82750; -106.24000Coordinates: 43°49′39″N 106°14′24″W / 43.82750°N 106.24000°W / 43.82750; -106.24000
Built 1865
Architectural style Fort
NRHP Reference # 70000672
Added to NRHP April 28, 1970

Fort Reno (also known as Fort Connor or Old Fort Reno) was a wooden fort constructed in 1865 by the United States Army on the Great Plains frontier in the Dakota Territory in present-day Johnson County, Wyoming. It served to protect travellers on the Bozeman Trail from warring Native American tribes.


Teamsters' quarters, and two sutler's buildings.

All of the buildings had sod-covered roofs and dirt floors. Under the command of Capt. George W. Williford, Company D 5th U.S.V.I., who died of illness on April 29, 1866, and his successor Capt. George M. Bailey, the companies garrisoned the fort during the harsh winter of 1865–66, enduring both desertions and illnesses, and one death by accidental gunshot.[1]]]

Reinforcement and abandonment[edit]

Fort Reno marker

During Red Cloud's War the following summer, Col. Henry B. Carrington of the 18th U. S. Infantry led a force of 700 men into the Powder River country to begin construction of two other new posts farther to the north. They reached Fort Reno on June 28, 1866, relieving Companies C and D of the 5th U.S. Volunteer Infantry, which had finished construction of the post and wintered there. 104 of the original 137-man garrison remained, the rest having died of scurvy. When Carrington resumed march on July 9, two companies remained to replace the 5th U.S.V.I. troops, who returned to Fort Kearney to muster out of the service on October 11 "without a single regret." The newly arrived Regular Army soldiers constructed a log stockade around the unprotected garrison buildings, complete with log bastions on the northwest and southeast corners. They also built a sturdy adobe commander's quarters. In 1867, the post was renovated and expanded. The garrison (whose number ranged from 125 to a high of 300 soldiers) endured the routines of camp life and the harsh winters and hot summers, occasionally skirmishing with hostile Indians and keeping the southern end of the Bozeman Trail open and passable.[1]

The 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie ended Red Cloud's War and essentially ceded much of their old hunting grounds to the Lakota. Along with Forts C.F. Smith and Phil Kearny, Fort Reno was abandoned as a condition of the agreement. Shortly after the military left, the entire post was destroyed by fire, possibly ignited by Cheyenne warriors. Gen. George Crook's troops briefly visited Fort Reno in March 1876, but found that all that was left were some adobe walls and building debris. Nevertheless, he used the site as a supply base.[1]

Bodies left in the post cemetery were later reinterred and placed at the Custer Battlefield National Cemetery during the 1880s. The grounds that comprised the fort site have generally returned to a natural prairie sod cover. The site, approximately 12 miles (19 km) northeast of Sussex, Wyoming, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on March 28, 1970. There is a large stone monument and several interpretive signs marking the site[2]

Two other army posts were also named Fort Reno—one Fort Reno Park in the defenses of Washington D.C. during the Civil War, and another frontier outpost Fort Reno (Oklahoma) built in 1874 in what is now Oklahoma.


  1. ^ a b c Robert A. Murray (1968). Military posts in the Powder River country of Wyoming, 1865-1894. University of Nebraska Press. p. 189. Retrieved 19 August 2012. 
  2. ^ .Fort Reno, Fort Phil Kearny, retrieved August 19, 2012 

Photo Gallery[edit]