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Historical Background

Survey of Historic Sites and Buildings

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Soldier and Brave
Survey of Historic Sites and Buildings

National Historic Landmark FORT DOUGLAS

Location: Salt Lake County, on the Fort Douglas Military Reservation, northeastern edge of Salt Lake City.

This fort was founded in 1862 in the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains on a rise overlooking Salt Lake City by Col. Patrick E. Connor and his California Volunteers. Commanding the Military District of Utah, Colonel Connor supervised Army operations in Utah, Nevada, and part of Wyoming. The garrison protected the overland mail and transcontinental telegraph lines from the Indians; kept the Mormons under surveillance; guarded the transportation routes crossing Utah in all directions; and aided road-surveying parties. One of the few instances in which the troops saw action in the Indian campaigns was Colonel Connor's 300-man campaign in the fall and winter of 1862-63 against marauding Shoshonis, Snakes, and Bannocks, in northern Utah; in January 1863 he dealt a severe defeat to the Shoshoni Chief Bear Hunter in the Battle of Bear River. Once the Civil War ended, Regulars replaced the Volunteers. The Army inactivated the post in 1967, but retained about 100 acres for Reserve training and the Deseret Test Center headquarters. The State of Utah has since acquired a large portion of the remainder of the acreage.

officers' quarters
Officers' quarters at Fort Douglas in the 1890's. (National Archives)

The modern military installation of Fort Douglas grew up around the old fort and has changed its historical appearance. Remaining stone structures, which replaced the original log and frame buildings and date from the 1880s, are grouped around the parade ground. They consist of a number of officers' quarters, the old headquarters building, post office, stables, and chapel. The post cemetery includes the bodies of soldiers killed in the Battle of Bear River.

NHL Designation: 05/15/75

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Last Updated: 19-Aug-2005