Fort D.A. Russell (2)
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Fort D.A. Russell (2) (1867-1948) - Established 21 Jul 1867 by Col. John D. Stevenson, 30th U.S. Infantry, and named for Brig. Gen. David A. Russell. The fort was renamed Fort Francis E. Warren in 1930. In 1948 the post was renamed Francis E. Warren Air Force Base and is still an active military installation. Also known as Post on Crow Creek and Camp Carlin.
Fort D. A. Russell was established in 1867 as a frontier infantry and cavalry post serving as a supply depot and to protect transcontinental railroad construction crews. The original building construction was nearly all wooden frame buildings built around a 800' X 1040' diamond shaped parade. The diamond shape of the fort was established to provide more protection from the harsh winters. Troops from Fort D.A. Russell participated in the Sioux Indian Wars of the 1870's and the associated Camp Carlin served as a supply depot for forts in Wyoming, Nebraska,Utah, Idaho and Colorado.
The Fort, with its strategic location and railroad connection, was declared to be a permanent post by the War Department in 1885 and an extensive building program began. The post was sized to house eight infantry companies. The building program replaced the wooden structures with the trademark red brick buildings that mostly remain today. Over 27 permanent brick buildings were completed during this initial period including the first brick hospital in 1887.
Fort Russell was enlarged to a brigade-sized post in 1906 and the building program continued. By 1910 the size of the post had been tripled and many of the present day red brick quarters, barracks and support buildings were complete. During the peak operations of the fort as an infantry and cavalry post some 20, 000 horses and mules were on post, making Fort D.A. Russell the largest cavalry post in the United States. Significant infrastructure, in the form of stables, a veterinarian hospital, an indoor riding arena and polo facilities were built over the years to support the horse cavalry.
The post expanded east of the original post and included a series of five parade grounds starting at the original diamond shaped parade ground and ending at the main gate. On the south side of the parade grounds were the enlisted barracks along with a number of support buildings including a number of guardhouses. Behind the Barracks were a number of large brick stables.
The North side of the parade grounds was lined with mostly officer housing including a Staff circle for the the hospital officer staff. Two hospitals were built adjacent to the staff circle and an enlisted hospital corpsman barracks. The first hospital proved to be too small for the enlarged post and a new hospital was built in 1909. Some senior NCO housing was also provided along the north side of the parade grounds.
During World War I, the post expanded to accommodate thousands of cavalry and infantry troops mobilized for the war. The post provided artillery and cavalry training for troops headed overseas and as the United States entered the war in 1916 it became the largest exclusive military post in the United States.
Post World War I
After the war each of the five parade grounds was named after a significant battle in World War I. The named parades were Marne, Aisne, Vesle, Champagne and Argonne. In 1927 the last cavalry unit left and the infantry became the major tenant on the post. In 1930 the post was renamed Fort Francis E. Warren after a Cheyenne resident who served as United States Senator for 37 years.
With the beginning of World War II, Fort Warren became a Quartermaster Training Center with twenty thousand men in training here. In 1947 Fort Warren was assigned to the Air Force and became Francis E. Warren Air Force Base.
This is an active Air Force Base. None of the original 1867 Fort D. A. Russell structures are extant, but most of the 1885 and later red brick barracks, officer's quarters, offices, and cavalry stables survive and are still in use.
Location: The Main Gate of F.E. Warren AFB is at exit 11 on I-25 just west of Cheyenne, Laramie County, Wyoming.
Maps & Images
Lat: 41.156112 Long: -104.868094
- Hart, Herbert M., Tour Guide to Old Western Forts, Pruett Publishing Co., Boulder CO, 1980, ISBN 0-87108-568-2, page 197
- Frazer, Robert W., Forts of the West, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman OK, 1965, ISBN 0-8061-1250-6, page 184
- Roberts, Robert B., Encyclopedia of Historic Forts: The Military, Pioneer, and Trading Posts of the United States, Macmillan, New York, 1988, 10th printing, ISBN 0-02-926880-X, page 858
- Barnes, Jeff, Forts of the Northern Plains - Guide to Historic Military Posts of the Plains Indian Wars, Copyright 2008, Stackpole Books, ISBN-13: 978-0-8117-3496-7, ISBN-10: 0-8117-3496-X, page 175-180
- Wikipedia - Fort D.A. Russell
- State Site - Fort D.A. Russell
- North American Forts - Fort D.A. Russell
- F.E. Warren AFB - History
- Library of Congress - Fort D.A. Russell Photos
Visited: 4-11 Jun 2010
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