24 June 1997

Day 11 - Pryor Creek, MT to Ft. Custer [Hardin], MT

Distance travelled: 42.2 miles
Winds: head
Grades: Mostly up
Weather: fair
Condition of roads: bad
Delays: Bicycles – 50m/Tires – 0/Lunch –0/Other – 0
Actual travel time: 8h
Rate per hour: 5.3 mph
- Lt. J.A. Moss Report to the Adjutant Synopsis of the Trip

Places & times mentioned: Pryor Creek [past Billings]; Crow reservation; Spring Creek; Fort Custer [Hardin] MT

“June 24 we left the old cabin at 6:30 with our clothes still wet. The first six miles was over the wet gumbo mud, and we worked like beavers to get out of this section as soon possible. We were between two fires –hard roads, headwind and uphill on one hand and scanty rations with no means of getting any more on the other. We were on the Crow Indian reservation and far from a railroad. The corps finally got out of this bad country and had good wheeling for some distance, having to face a strong wind. We went down a gradual hill and crossed Spring creek; where we got good water, the first since leaving Billings. From here on a steady hill was to be climbed for three miles until we reached the railroad. A few slight accidents occurred but were permanently fixed on the road. At 10:30 we arrived at Fort Custer, after one of the hardest days we ever had. A distance of over 42 miles was covered today in spite of the opposing conditions. The corps was warmly welcomed at the fort and were comfortably quartered in the garrison. Our stay here will be of one days duration, after which we will head southward into Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Missouri.
The trip so far has resulted in very few accidents, considering the number in the corp, and all the accidents to this time have been caused by carelessness and were of little importance, most of them being permenantely repaired on the road. The men are in good condition and enjoy the trip. Not more than six punctures have been received.
EDW. H. Boos Official Reporter
Daily Missoulian From Fort to Fort, July 10, 1897

“Fifteen minutes later Pryor Creek was forded, and a little later, we came upon a deserted Indian Cabin, in which the night was spent.
Our supply of rations being about exhausted, breakfast the next morning consisted of a cup of weak coffee, partially sweetened, and a small piece of burnt bread. At 6.40 o’clock the Corps started for Fort Custer, 42 miles away. On account of the gumbo mud, it took three hours to cover the first six miles. We then struck good roads, and although the grades were many and the wind against us, 3.30 o’clock that afternoon found us at the Fort. The country traveled over during the day was dreary, hilly and uninteresting, with scarcely a sign of civilization.”
- Lt. Moss Report to the Adjutant General (pg. 5)

“The next morning, soon after reveille, we were much amused at seeing “Cloud-in-the-face,” his squaw, one pappose, two other Indians and their squaws coming over the hill as fast as their legs would carry them, evidently fearing to be late for breakfast mess call—but as far as we know they are yet to break the fast of the previous night.
At a quarter of seven the corps started for Fort Custer, forty-two miles away. On account of gumbo mud we were three hours covering the first six miles. The command then struck good roads, and although the grades were many and the wind against us, 3:30 that afternoon found us at the fort.
The country traveled over during the day was dreary, hilly and uninteresting, with scarcely a sign of civilization.”
- Lt. Moss, Los Angeles Times The Army A-Wheel, Nov. 7, 1897

1 comment:

Mike Higgins said...

[Sheridan’s second new fort was located on the bluffs overlooking the confluence of the Little Bighorn and Bighorn rivers, some fourteen miles from the Little Bighorn battlefield. Called Bighorn Post and then Fort Custer, and for a while renowned as the greatest cavalry station in the nation, the garrison chiefly tended the nearby battlefield and its national cemetery and mediated affairs on the adjacent Crow Indian Reservation.
Getting There - Built by General Sheridan as a show of force in 1877, Fort Custer was abandoned and fully dismantled in 1898. A commenorative monument marks the site. At the Interstate 90 interchange on the east side of Hardin, follow Montana 313 (sic – it has to be HWY 212) south across the Bighorn River. Take the first right turn south of the bridge, cross the railroad tracks, and drive to the top of the bluff. The monument is south one-quarter mile. The fort site is in the field on the right. This is private property.]
Traveler’s Guide to the Great Sioux War , Paul Hedren pg. 104