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You can find this site of the Battle of Tongue River near Ranchester, Wyoming on-road US14. On this site during the early morning hours of August 29, 1865, General Patrick Edward Connor led over 200 troops in an attack on Chief Black Bear's Arapaho village. Connor had departed from Fort Laramie on July 30th with 184 wagons, a contingent of Pawnee scouts, nearly 500 cavalrymen, and the aging Jim Bridger as guide. His column was one of three comprising the Powder River Indian Expedition sent to secure the Bozeman and other emigrant trails leading to the Montana mining fields. During the Battle of Tongue River, Connor was able to inflict serious damage on the Arapahos, but an aggressive counterattack forced him to retreat back to the newly established Fort Connor later renamed Reno) on the banks of the Powder River. There he received word that he had been reassigned to his old command in the District of Utah. The Powder River Expedition, one of the most comprehensive campaigns against the Plains Indians, never completely succeeded. Connor had planned a complex operation only to be defeated by bad weather, inhospitable terrain, and hostile Indians. Long-term effects of the Expedition proved detrimental to the interests of the Powder River tribes. The Army, with the establishment of Fort Connor (Reno), increased public awareness of this area which in turn caused more emigrants to use the Bozeman Trail. This led to public demand for government protection of travelers on their way to Montana goldfields.

 

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