1879 Exploration of Black Canyon
On May 17, 1879, Brackett rode out with several officers, along with a small detachment of the 2nd U.S. Calvary, to see Black Canyon for himself and “the great canon of the Bighorn Mountains.” In addition, they would view the ruins of Fort C.F. Smith, abandoned over a decade before. Riding hard over the next two days, the men were camped at the ruins on the night of May 18th.
The Greatest Sublimity
The party rode sighted elk, buffalo, bighorn sheep and white tailed deer on the opposite side of the canyon. They followed along the northern rim to where it entered Bighorn Canyon at a right angle, Brackett estimated that it was 30 miles in length. After spending the night once again at the ruins of Fort C.F. Smith, the expedition returned to Fort Custer the next day.
On the Map
Did You Know?
Fort C.F. Smith, was the most isolated of the posts which guarded the Bozeman Trail. Active from August 1866 to July 1868, it was under constant threat from the Sioux and Northern Cheyenne tribes during Red Cloud’s War. The U.S. government was forced to abandon the fort and trail. Some historians have called this conflict, “the first war the United States ever lost.” More...