Christmas at Fort C.F. Smith
Life at Fort C.F. Smith did have its brighter moments. Despite the trying circumstances, the commanding officers, soldiers and civilians at the fort, were able to celebrate Christmas twice. The two celebrations differed in flavor, but the overall tone was one of relaxation.
1866 - A White Christmas
1867 - A Family Affair
A tree was easily procured from the nearby mountains, popcorn was made from several ears of corn brought by Mrs. Burt, and candy was made to fill cornucopias made of yellow paper. Several rooms in the Burt’s quarters were decorated with evergreens, holly and red berries. On orders from Captain Burt, three sleds were made by the post carpenter. One of these was used by his own children, another by the post baker’s three kids and one for Iron Bull’s daughter.
A hunt was organized whereby soldiers were able to obtain several deer. Thus for dinner, roast venison was served along with soup, vegetables, and current jelly. The Burts even topped their dinner off with a plum pudding.
The second Christmas was also the last. Fort C.F. Smith's existence was merely temporary. A year later, hollow ruins were all that was left as icy winds whipped the vacant post.
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...