Fort C.F. Smith Post Returns
Record of Events – Fort C.F. Smith
Returns from U.S. Military Posts 1800 – 1916
National Archives Series M617 roll 1190
Combined Arms Research Library
Ft. Leavenworth, KS
August 31st 1866
Left Fort Philip Kearney D.T. August 4th 1866 en-route to garrison Fort C.F. Smith M. Ter. and marching 12 miles camped on Peno Creek. 5th Aug. '66 marched 12 miles camping on Goose Creek. 6th Aug. '66 marched 15 miles camping on Tongue River. 7th Aug. '66 marched 16 miles camping on Little Horn River 8th Aug. '66 marched 16 miles camping on Mud Creek. 9th Aug. '66 marched 15 miles camping on Rotten Grass Creek. 10th Aug. '66 marched 5 miles camping on Big Horn River 13th Aug. '66 marched 4 miles to the selected site [on Big Horn River] for Fort C.F. Smith M.T.
The Site selected for the Fort is on an elevated plateau, 300 yards from the River Bank, 8 miles above the mouth of Rotten Grass Creek and 2 miles below the debouchment [sic] of the River from the mountains.
The Ferry by which all trains cross the river, is within 800 yards of the Fort.
September 30th 1866
Companies D and G 2nd Batt. 18th U.S. Inft. form the garrison of Ft. C.F. Smith M.T.
Parties procuring Timber and Hay, are occasionally attacked by Indians, two casualties have occurred. Corporal Alvah H. Staples Co. D 2nd Batt. 18th Inf. and Private Thomas Fitzpatrick Co. D 2nd Batt. 18th Inf. who were killed by Indians Sept. 20th 1866, about three miles from this Post [note, the following was crossed out--whilst with Haying Party], and Private Charles Hackett Co. D 2nd Batt. 18th Inft., who was badly wounded by Indians in a skirmish, whilst en-route with Mail Party from Ft. Philip Kearney D.T. to Fort C.F. Smith M.T. September 21st 1866.
The mail Party consisting of 20 men under charge of Sergt. John Murphy Co. G 18th Inft. left this Post Sept. 11th 1866, and arrived safely at Ft. Philip Kearney D.T. On their return they came up to the Hay Fields of Ft. Philip Kearney D.T. which were on fire and extinguished them. On day after they engaged about 200 Indians and fought against them two days! 4 Horses were lost and one man wounded in Action. After this they arrived safely at this Post Sept. 22nd '66.
Nov. 1st 1866
The troops have been engaged in building Quarters, & erecting Stockade.
Charles Hackett D Co. died Oct. 4th '66 of wounds received in skirmish with Indians.
Wood details &c from the Fort are frequently attacked by Indians, no further casualties have occurred; two horses with equipment have been captured.
Nov. 30th 1866
The Indians have committed no depredations during the month.
Dec. [31st?] 1866
The principle portion of the Mountain Crow Indians have been encamped close by during the Month.
No hostile Indians have made their Appearance.
January 31st 1867
The band of Mountain Crow Indians which has been encamped in the neighbourhood moved to the Wind River valley on the 4th inst.
The Sioux sent information by the Crows that they would attack this Post with three thousand warriors. No hostile Indians made their appearance during the month.
No communication or mail since Nov. 28th '66
March 1st 1867
No hostile Indians have made their appearance during the month.
Two couriers arrived on the 7th Feb. with dispatches from Ft. Philip Kearney D.T. and started on their return on the 9th.
Since that time repeated efforts have been made to communicate with that Post by courier, but have not been successful.
Have been warned by the Crow Indians, of an intended attack on this Post by the Sioux and Cheyennes, during the present month.
April 1st 1867
The troops of this garrison have during the month been employed in building quarters, and laying in a supply of wood.
April 30th 1867
The troops of this command have during the month been employed in garrison duty, and laying in a supply of wood.
May 31st 1867
A large party of hostile Indians, consisting of Sioux, Cheyenne, Arapahoes, and Gros Ventres of the Prairie, have been in the vicinity of this Post during the last 10 days. On the 26th they ran off several ponies belonging to the Crow Indians, and the Post Sutler's entire stock of mules. No government stock lost.
June 30th 1867
Troops engaged in doing garrison duty getting out timber, and building company barracks.
Skirmish with Indians on the 25th inst.
July 31st 1867
The garrison has been engaged in getting out timber for barracks, guarding details cutting hay, hauling wood, & other like duties.
Cos. H & I 27th Inf. arrived at this Post July 23rd to form part of garrison.
August 31st 1867
On the 1st inst. a party of nineteen soldiers and six civilians under command of 2nd Lieut. S. Sternberg 27th Inf. who were guarding a party cutting hay were attacked by a force of Indians variously estimated at from 500 to 800. The troops were partially protected by a brush and log corral and fought heroically three or four hours until relieved by troops sent from the Post. The Indians were severely punished and sustained a heavy loss estimated at eight killed & thirty wounded. With the exception of one they carried off all their killed & wounded. Our loss was Lieut. Sternberg, one private & one citizen Killed and one Sergeant & two privates wounded.
Since that time the troops have been engaged in performing the usual garrison duties building quarters, guarding hay and wood parties and escorting Supply trains between this Post and Fort Reno, D.T.
September 30th 1867
The troops have been engaged in guarding trains between this point and Fort Phil Kearney DT, building barracks, guarding wood trains, and performing the ordinary garrison duties.
On the 29th inst. one Commissioned Officer and thirty six enlisted men with one howitzer were sent to the relief of the train of Mr. Richard bringing supplies to the Post, said to be corralled by a party of one hundred disbanded Montana Militia on the "Rose Bud", or "Still Water", - 85 miles west of the Post.
October 31st 1867
The troops have been engaged in guarding trains between this Post and Ft. Phil Kearney D.T. guarding wood trains, building barracks, and performing the ordinary garrison duties.
November 30th 1867
The troops have been engaged during the month in guarding trains between this Post and Ft. Phil Kearney D.T., guarding wood-trains, building barracks, and performing the ordinary garrison duties. On the 4th inst. the escort to a train returning to this Post from Ft. Phil Kearney D.T. under command of 2nd Lieut. E.R.P. Shurley [sic] 27th U.S. Inf. were attacked by a large party of Indians near Peno Creek D.T. The Indians captured one (1) mule team, wagon, and contents, the property of the U.S. and a quantity of Sutlers supplies for this Post, the following are the
Lieut. E.R.P. Shurley 27th Inf., wounded Nov. 4th 1867 Priv. Harold Partenheimer "G" Co. 27th Inf. Killed Nov. 4th 1867 Priv. Peter Donnelly "H" Co. 27th Inf. Killed Nov. 4th 1867 Priv. Gordon Fitzgerald [G?] Co. 27th Inf. Wounded Nov. 4th 1867 Priv. Jas. McKeever "G" Co. 27th Inf. Wounded Nov. 4th 1867 Priv. Michael Kerr "G" Co. 27th Inf. Wounded Nov. 4th 1867
November 30th 1867 [sic] The Troops have been engaged in guarding trains between this Post and Ft. Phil Kearney D.T. guarding wood trains, building barracks, and performing the ordinary garrison duties. On the 4th inst. the escort to a train from this Post to Ft. Phil Kearney D.T. under command of Lieut. E.R.P. Shurley 27th Inf. were attacked by a large party of Indians near Peno Creek D.T. The Indians captured one mule team, wagon, and contents, the property of the U.S. and a quantity of Sutlers Supplies for this post.
Lt. E.R.P. Shurley 27th Inf. and 3 Enlisted men wounded 3 [sic] Enlisted men Killed
December 31st 1867
The troops have been engaged in guarding trains between this Post and Ft. Philip Kearney D.T. guarding wood-trains, building barracks, and performing the ordinary garrison duties.
January 31st 1867
Mail from the East by Indian carriers arrived Jan. 8th and [19th ?].
Troops and the several Departments were inspected by the Comd'g Officer Jan. 31st.
The Troops have been engaged during the month in building quarters and performing all the other ordinary garrison duties.
Drill, Upton's Tactics have been had every day. Theoretical recitations, once a week.
No Target Practice during the month.
February 29th 1868
Mail from the East by Indian Carriers arrived Feb. 11th 1868.
Troops and the several Depts. Inspected by the Comd'g Officer Feb. 29th
The troops have been engaged during the month, in performing the ordinary garrison duties.
Drills, Upton's Tactics have been had every day. Theoretical recitations once a week. [TN-Target Practice was held, results not copied]
March 31st 1868
Mail from the East arrived on the 11th, 21st and 26th of the month.
The Command and several Departments were inspected on the 31st by Brvt. Major Genl. J.E. Smith Col. 27th Inf.
The troops have been engaged during the month in performing the ordinary garrison duties.
Drills, Upton's Tactics every day. No Target practice during the month.
April 30th 1868
The troops have been engaged during the month in performing the ordinary garrison duties, and were inspected and mustered by the Brvt. Maj. Comd'g on the 30th inst.
On the 16th inst. a band of Indians, about 30 in number, attempted to run off a herd of mules belonging to a Citizen near the Post, but were unsuccessful, the Citizens being promptly assisted from the Garrison.
On the 28th and 29th respectively, similar parties of Indians made attempts to cut off the mounted pickets belonging to the Post, but were frustrated each time.
For Target Drills etc. – See next Page. [TN-Target results were not copied]
May 30th 1868
Mail from the East arrived on the 2nd, 13th, 22nd, and 27th of the Month.
A party of 50 Indians charged by the Fort on the 5th Inst.
"E" Company 27th Inf. of this garrison proceeded to Fort Philip Kearney D.T. on the 2nd Inst. and returned on the 13th Inst. as escort to train with medical supplies for this Post.
With this exception the troops have been engaged in performing the usual garrison duties.
Target practice during a portion of the month.
June 30th 1868
Mail from the East arrived on the 15th and 30th of the month. Companies "D" and "I" 27th Inf. relieved from duty and left this Post for Fort Philip Kearny [sic] D.T. on the 18th Inst. The troops have been engaged in performing the usual garrison duties. There has been no target practice during the month.
July 31st 1868
Mail from the East arrived on the 26th Inst. Mail for the East left on the 19th of the month.
1st Lieut. J.H. Neff 2nd U.S. Cavalry died on the 7th Inst. 1
Post C.F. Smith M.T. abandoned on the 29th Inst. 2
- Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army, Francis B. Heitman p. 742 indicates Lt. Neff's name is Albert John Neff (Cullum 2150) and that he died 5th July 1868. See also the informative page at Find-a‑Grave.
- General Orders 80, May 19, 1868 Dept. of the Platte ordered the abandonment of Posts C.F. Smith, Phil. Kearney, and Reno.