Historical Details

Hat Creek Dateline: 1877/06/15

Courtesy of The Lusk Herald, 09/26/1990

Company K abandons Camp Collier
by Ed Cook, Contributing Writer

Captain William S. Collier and his command, Company K Fourth Infantry, marched in here late today. They had been ordered to abandon Camp Collier located at the mouth of Red Canyon, near the Cheyenne River. Collier and his company will camp here tonight and then proceed on toward Fort Laramie tomorrow. They will march all of the way to Cheyenne and then enjoy an easy ride on the Union Pacific Railroad back to their Fort Bridger barracks.

Several wagon loads of quartermaster and commissary supplies accompanied the troops when they arrived. These supplies will remain at Camp Hat Creek for the use of Lieutenant Frank Taylor and his Fourteenth Infantry Company stationed here. One wagon also carried the two company laundresses, their equipment and four children, on the way to Fort Laramie.

The army had anticipated closing Camp Collier for several weeks while construction of the new stage road was underway. With the new road, via Jenney Stockade in use not many travelers are using the Red Canyon road. In early June orders were telegraphed from Fort Laramie to orchestrate the removal of public stores and transfer Company K, Fourth Infantry to Fort Bridger, where they had been prior to their call to establish Camp Collier in June of 1876.

In the last year this sub-post of Fort Laramie had taken on an air of permanence with several comfortable log buildings replacing their original canvas shelters, inside of their log stockade. The grounds had even been ornamented by rows of evergreen, set out by the soldiers. Harlow's eating house at the Red Canyon station had also been a well-managed and popular stop on the stage route to Custer City.

Before this small garrison abandoned their post and marched south all of these building were stripped of doors, windows and all reclaimable lumber. This property along with all quartermaster and commissary stores was then transferred here to Camp Hat Creek. This dismantling and packing proceeded rapidly and on June 13 Camp Collier was officially abandoned. Collier's company then marched down the familiar Cheyenne road, a route they had helped establish and make safe.

(Information source: "Fort Laramie in 1876," by Paul Hedren; "The Cheyenne and Black Hills Stage and Express Routes," by Agnes Wright Spring.)

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