Buffalo, elk, pronghorn, deer, mountain sheep and wolf skulls and bones at Fort Sanders, 1870

History of Fort Sanders

Buffalo, elk, pronghorn, deer, mountain sheep and wolf skulls and bones at Fort Sanders, 1870

By orders from the war department, Fort Sanders was established on July 10, 1866, three miles south of Laramie City, and was at first known as “Fort John Buford.” On September 5, 1866, the name was changed to Fort Sanders, in honor of W. P. Sanders, captain in the Second United States Cavalry and later a brigadier-general of volunteers. It was established as a protection for the Denver & Salt Lake stage line and the emigrant trains passing over the Oregon Trail. The Union Pacific Railroad was completed to this point late in the spring of 1868, and on June 28th of that year the reservation was enlarged to embrace a tract of land nine miles square. At that time the buildings consisted of log structures with quarters for six companies, officers’ quarters, a guardhouse, post store and stables. The fort was abandoned in May, 1882, and in 1889 part of the reservation was granted to the State of Wyoming for a fish hatchery.

On the highway from Laramie to Denver, where the old fort formerly stood, there is now a monument bearing the following inscription: “This monument marks the site of Fort Sanders, established September 5, 1866, abandoned May 18, 1882. Named in honor of Brig. Gen. William P. Sanders. Erected by the State of Wyoming and Jacques Laramie Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, June, 1914. From July 10 to September 5, 1866, known as Fort John Buford.”

Source: History of Wyoming, Volume 1, by I. S. Bartlett, Chicago, The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1918

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