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Bill Thayer

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Fort Laramie National Monument • Wyoming

by David L. Hieb

a booklet published by the
National Park Service
No. 20 in its Historical Handbook Series

facing p1

[image ALT: An engraving of a scene from the American West: a vast and very flat plain, with a large wooden stockade in the middle distance, to the viewer's left: over its main gate, a squat square tower, but otherwise just a single story, although a tall one. The foreground shows five prominent Indian tepees and many small knots of native Americans, either on foot or on horseback. It is a view of Fort William, the first Fort Laramie, in 1837.]

Fort William, the first Fort Laramie, in 1837. From a painting by A. J. Miller, Courtesy Mrs. Clyde Porter.

Table of Contents

Part 1:
Early Fur Trade on the Platte, 1812‑30
Fort William, the First "Fort Laramie," 1834
Fort Platte and Fort John on the Laramie
The First Emigrants
The Mormon Migrations, 1847‑48


Part 2:
Fort Laramie Becomes a Military Post
The California Gold Rush
The Fort Laramie Treaty Council, 1851
The Emigrant Tide and Indian Troubles, 1852‑53
The Grattan and Harney Massacres, 1854‑55
Handcart to Pony Express, 1856‑61


Part 3:
The Civil War and the Uprising of the Plains Indians
Peace Talk and War on the Bozeman Trail, 1866‑68
The Treaty of 1868


Part 4:
The Fight for the Black Hills
Last Years of the Army Post, 1877‑90
The Homesteaders Take Over
Efforts to Preserve the Post


Part 5:
Guide to the Area
How to Reach Fort Laramie
Related Areas


Technical Details

Edition Used, Copyright

I transcribed my own hard copy, a 1961 reprint of the 1954 edition. A work of the United States government, it is in the public domain. (Details here on the copyright law involved.)

A comprehensive resource is also available online: Fort Laramie and the U. S. Army On the High Plains 1849‑1890 (National Park Service Historic Resources Study, 2003: 569pp + a bibliography running to 30 unnumbered pages). If it vanishes from the Web, I've kept a copy: please contact me.

For citation and indexing purposes, the pagination is shown in the right margin of the text at the page turns (like at the end of this line); p57  these are also local anchors. Sticklers for total accuracy will of course find the anchor at its exact place in the sourcecode.

In addition, I've inserted a number of other local anchors: whatever links might be required to accommodate the author's own cross-references, as well as a few others for my own purposes. If in turn you have a website and would like to target a link to some specific passage of the text, please let me know: I'll be glad to insert a local anchor there as well.


As almost always, I retyped the text by hand rather than scanning it — not only to minimize errors prior to proofreading, but as an opportunity for me to become intimately familiar with the work, an exercise which I heartily recommend: Qui scribit, bis legit. (Well-meaning attempts to get me to scan text, if success­ful, would merely turn me into some kind of machine: gambit declined.)

My transcription has been minutely proofread. In the table of contents above, the sections are shown on blue backgrounds, indicating that I believe the text of them to be completely errorfree. As elsewhere onsite, the header bar at the top of each chapter's webpage will remind you with the same color scheme.

The printed booklet was very well proofread; I found only two very minor typographical errors: I marked them with dotted underscore like this; as elsewhere on my site, glide your cursor over the underscored words to read what was actually printed. A few odd spellings, curious turns of phrase, etc. I marked <!‑‑ sic  in the sourcecode, just to confirm that they were checked. Bullets before measurements provide conversions to metric, e.g., 10 miles.

Any other mistakes, please drop me a line, of course: especially if you have a copy of the printed book in front of you.

[image ALT: A drawing of a group of about 20 low buildings, the tallest having three or maybe four stories, in a flat area at the foot of a range of hills, with a small river flowing in the foreground. In the center, a very tall flagpole can be made out. It is a view of Fort Laramie, Wyoming in the late 19c, and serves as the icon used on this site for my transcription of the National Park Service booklet 'Fort Laramie National Monument, Wyoming'.]

The icon I use to indicate this subsite is part of the drawing on the cover of the printed booklet; it doesn't seem to be a historical depiction of the fort, but rather a modern drawing in the style of the sketch by Bugler Moellman on p15.

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Page updated: 14 Aug 17