Hat Creek Dateline: 1877/06/28
Replacement infantry arrives in area
by Ed Cook, Contributing Writer
Company I, Fourteenth Infantry, commanded by First Lieutenant Frank Taylor marched south on the Cheyenne-Black Hills Trail this morning. They are rotating to Camp Douglas, Utah Territory. Company F, Third Cavalry has replaced the infantry company here.
First Lieutenant Smead and 20 men from Company F arrived here a few days ago. The rest of the company, and their captain, Alexander Moore, plan to join Smead's detachment within the next two weeks.
Since the surrender of the Sioux Chief, Crazy Horse, here in early May, the garrison at Camp Hat Creek has redirected its activities from warring Indians to stage robbers, escort duties, usual garrison duties and numerous two- and three-man sorties locating and repairing breaks in the telegraph line. After Company F arrived to replace them a few days ago, Lieutenant Taylor and his men have been busy taking down and packing their company's property in their six-mule wagon. They will be on the march to Cheyenne for several days and teen enjoy a ride across Wyoming on the Union Pacific Railroad, on their way to Camp Douglas.
In response to the upsurge in harassment of road agents on the Black Hills Road, major Andrew W. Evans, commander of Fort Laramie, has offered the stage company a guard of two infantry men for a coach whenever requested. The stage company is also making arrangements to have cavalry escorts for "treasure coaches," especially over the road from Jenny Stockade to Hat Creek. The new cavalry company will probably have a lot of this kind of duty to perform.
The coaches from Cheyenne have been hauling large quantities of fruit, from California, to the Black Hills. The fruit shipments go through unmolested by the road agents, and have been arriving in the hills in excellent shape. Tons of vegetables are also starting to move north on the Cheyenne-Black Hills Company's fast freight wagons.
The freight wagons, although not as glamorous as the sleek Concord Coaches, are indeed the very lifeline of the stage company. The daily strings of the freight wagons not only provide the necessities of life for the miners and equipment used in the mines in the hills, they also keep the stage stations supplied with food for the passengers, feed for the horses and other items needed to keep the wheels of the concords rolling.
Hay is also one of the main items that needs to be provided for the stage stations. The stage company has just advertised for hay contracts for each of the stations between Cheyenne and Deadwood.
The contracts call for not less than 25 tons each, "free from weeks, brush and old grass, to be put in good and well built stacks at each station, not less that 17 feet high, not less than 20 feet wide at bottom of stack." An agent from the company will measure the hay after 30 days from the time the entire amount is delivered.