Reno Cantonment, (Ft. McKinney on the Powder River)Wyoming

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Pat Holscher
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I just posted a thread depicting Ft. Reno, Wyoming ( viewtopic.php?f=3&t=11399 ). This one depicts Reno Cantonment.

This post was a temporary post established by Crook in 1876 and has the odd distinction of being a fairly significant temporary base built within just a few miles of an abandoned fort, Ft. Reno. The post was built in September 1876 as a temporary supply depot for Crook's troops operating out of Ft. Fetterman, which was quite distant (I'd guess 80 or more miles).

I'm sure I've read in War Path and Bivouac about Fetterman's troops crossing this area, but I don't recall much what Finerty wrote about it, and I frankly can't recall whether he mentioned Ft. Reno or Ft. Phil Kearny being dispiriting due to having been burnt down. I sort of recall it was Ft. Reno, but I may be off base. At any rate, it's curious that he chose this spot. Reports indicate that some adobe walls were left standing but broken down when he arrived. If so, nothing of adobe walls remains today. Crook chose to locate his post some three miles back down the Bozeman Trail.

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Reno Cantonment was hastily thrown up but a stunning 42 buildings were built in a mere three months. The post was then used as a supply point for troops operating in the Powder River Basin in the winter of 1876, showing perhaps that Patrick Conner's choice of nearly the same spot was a strategically necessary one. When Crook located here in 1876 his supply depot was even more isolated than Ft. Reno had been, however, as the Oregon Trail stations had been closed and the nearest base was Ft. Fetternman.

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The post supported operations that winter, most notably the campaign by Ranald Mackenzie that resulted in the Dull Knife Fight. A Lt. McKinney was killed in that battle and the post renamed after him, but this post proved very difficult to supply with lumber, forage and water, so the decision was made to abandon it in 1878 in favor of a new location, also named Ft. McKinney (and now the Wyoming Veteran's Home) near Buffalo Wyoming. Perhaps ironically, the new Ft. McKinney was much closer to the old Ft. Phil Kearny than this location.

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Nothing is left of Reno Cantonment. It was only occupied for two years, but it was fairly substantial. It's all gone now.

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The cottonwood line is the Powder River.


Pat

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Pat Holscher
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Per the Calendar entry, added to the National Registry of Historic Places on this day in 1977.
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Rick Throckmorton
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Being stationed there in 1876, would be like being stationed on the moon today. Weeks of travel to get back to a semblance of civilization. God forbid you would need intense medical attention or some other emergency struck where you would need assistance.
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How many Renos were there and how many posts, camps and stations were named after them?
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Rick Throckmorton wrote:Being stationed there in 1876, would be like being stationed on the moon today. Weeks of travel to get back to a semblance of civilization. God forbid you would need intense medical attention or some other emergency struck where you would need assistance.
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And just imagine what Ft. Reno, which is just a couple of miles to the north, was like in 1865. And some of the troops stationed there were Galvanized Yankees, who must have been wondering about their loyalty realignment.

Cantonment Reno was located where it was because Ft. Reno, abandoned after Red Cloud's War, was too much of a mess to use, which says something about how rapidly things can decline when abandoned.
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Couvi wrote:How many Renos were there and how many posts, camps and stations were named after them?
I can think of two Ft. Reno's in Wyoming and one in, I think, Oklahoma, but who they were named after I don't know. Oddly enough, in Wyoming, there's a Reno Junction that's also in the Powder River Basin, where the two Wyoming Ft. Reno's are located, but it isn't named after the post, but a local rancher.
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Pat Holscher wrote:
Couvi wrote:How many Renos were there and how many posts, camps and stations were named after them?
I can think of two Ft. Reno's in Wyoming and one in, I think, Oklahoma, but who they were named after I don't know. Oddly enough, in Wyoming, there's a Reno Junction that's also in the Powder River Basin, where the two Wyoming Ft. Reno's are located, but it isn't named after the post, but a local rancher.
Fort Reno is near the town of El Reno west of Okalhoma City. Wikipedias says:"Fort Reno was established as a permanent post in July 1875, near the Darlington Indian Agency on the old Cheyenne-Arapaho reservation in Indian Territory, in present-day central Oklahoma. Named for General Jesse L. Reno, who died at the Battle of South Mountain, it supported the U.S. Army following the Cheyenne uprising in 1874.

Today, the grounds of the old fort are home to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Grazinglands Research Laboratory. The laboratory's mission is to develop and deliver improved technologies, management strategies, and strategic and tactical planning tools which help evaluate and manage economic and environmental risks, opportunities, and tradeoffs, for integrated crop, forage, and livestock systems under variable climate, energy and market conditions."
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The Fort Wiki reports:

1. Ft. Reno outside of Washington D. C., originally called Ft. Pennsylvania, and built as a defense fort during the Civil War. Named for the late Jesse Lee Reno.

2. Ft. Reno, Wyoming, the first Powder River Basin Ft. Reno, also named for Jesse Lee Reno.

3. Ft. Reno, Wyoming, the second one. They note that it is "Along Powder River about 3 miles South of Fort Reno (2) difficult to find without local help" which is true. Naming isn't explained, but presumably it was named that as the original intent of Cantonment Reno had been to establish a camp at old Ft. Reno.

4. Ft. Reno, Oklahoma, also named for Jesse Lee Reno.

5. Camp Reno, Arizona, named for Marcus Reno during his lifetime. This only operated from 1867 to 1870.

Jesse L. Reno seemed to be well remembered at the time. I don't know anything about him.
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Pat Holscher wrote:

Jesse L. Reno seemed to be well remembered at the time. I don't know anything about him.
19th century equivalent of 'Kilroy'?
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Todd wrote:
Pat Holscher wrote:

Jesse L. Reno seemed to be well remembered at the time. I don't know anything about him.
19th century equivalent of 'Kilroy'?
Perhaps!
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Bump.
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