Friday, March 20, 2015

Fetterman Site

The discovery of gold in 1863 in Montana led to thousands of miners and settlers passing through one of the last unspoiled hunting grounds of the Sioux Indians in Wyoming. The U.S. government had signed a treaty with the Indians giving them the territory, but the travelers and settlers began competing for the dwindling resources of the land and the Indians responded by attacking the wagon trains and stealing livestock. In response, the government established 3 forts for the protection of the people the Indians thought of as trespassers.

In December, 1866, a detachment of 79 soldiers and 4 civilians pursued a handful of Indians on their ponies over a ridge on this field. They rode straight into an ambush laid by more than 2,000 warriors. Within a few minutes, all were dead. It was the Army's worst defeat in the war against the Indians until Little Big Horn 10 years later.   

The monument states, "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. Fetterman were killed by an overwhelming force of Sioux under the command of Red Cloud. There were no survivors."

Monday, March 2, 2015

Shell Falls, Wyoming

11 miles northeast of Shell, Wyoming on the Bighorn Scenic Byway (Highway 14) is the famous Shell Falls. At an elevation of 6,400' above sea level, Shell Creek crashes down 120 feet over steeply pitched granite and then returns to being a gentle running creek below the falls. During the spring runoff (the time Lil Dude Troll visited and took these pictures), the water drops at the rate of 3,600 gallons per second.