Bozeman Trail

In the early 1860s John Bozeman and John Jacobs promoted a trail for pioneers travelling from Fort Laramie to Virginia City in Montana. The Bozeman Trail was popular with people migrated by wagon train and this resulted in attacks from Red Cloud and Sioux war parties.

On 2nd August, 1867, several thousand Sioux and Cheyenne attacked a wood-cutting party led by Captain James W. Powell. The soldiers had recently been issued with Springfield rifles and this enabled them to inflict heavy casualties on the warriors. After a battle that lasted four and a half hours, the Native Americans withdrew. Six soldiers died during the fighting and Powell claimed that his men had killed about 60 warriors.

Despite this victory the army was unable to successfully protect the Bozeman Trail and on 4th November, 1868, Red Cloud and 125 chiefs were invited to Fort Laramie to discuss the conflict. As a result of these negotiations the American government withdrew the garrisons protecting the emigrants travelling along the trail to Montana. Red Cloud and his warriors then burnt down the forts.

After the defeat of the Sioux in 1877 the Bozeman Trail was used as a cattle trail from Texas to Montana.