Fort D. A. Russell


From Wyoming Tales and Trails

This Page: Fort D. A. Russell Target and Maneuver Range.

Big Horn Basin Black Hills Bone Wars Buffalo Cambria Casper Cattle Drives Centennial Cheyenne Chugwater Cody Deadwood Stage Douglas Dubois Encampment Evanston Ft. Bridger Ft. Fetterman Ft. Laramie Ft. Russell Frontier Days Ghost Towns Gillette G. River F. V. Hayden Tom Horn Jackson Johnson County War Kemmerer Lander Laramie Lincoln Highway Lusk Meeteetse Medicine Bow N. Platte Valley Overland Stage Photos V Rawlins Rock Springs Rudefeha Mine Sheepherding Sheridan Sherman Shoshoni Superior Thermopolis USS Wyoming Wild Bunch Yellowstone

Table of Contents
About This Site

Maneuvers, Regular Army, Camp Otis, Fort D.A. Russell Target and Maneuver Reserve, Pole Mountain, Wyoming, July 1910.

In the foreground is the Headquarters Camp. In the middle of the photo is the encampment for the 12th Cavalry and in the distance, barely visible, is the encampment for the 8th Cavalry. The Target and Maneuver Reserve was originally created in 1879 as a wood and water reserve for Fort D.A. Russell. The reserve was located about about 22 miles east of Laramie at Pole Mountain near the headwaters of the North Branch of Crow Creek.

11th Infantry Encampment, Camp Otis, Fort D.A. Russell Target and Maneuver Reserve, Pole Mountain, Wyoming, July 1910.

The tents in the foreground housed non-commissioned officers. Participating in the maneuvers in addition to the 8th and 12th Cavalry and the 11th Infantry were the 15th Infantry and the 18th Infantry. Camp Otis was named after Major General Elwell S. Otis who led American Land forces in the Phillipines during the Spanish-American War. Many of the forces in the Phillipines came from Fort D.A. Russell. Additionally, as previously noted, units of the Wyoming National Guard led the assualt on the City of Manila.

The Wyoming National Guard was organized in 1891 with its first encampment near Laramie at a camp named after Acting Governor Amos W. Barber. The legislature had, however, overlooked appropriating money for the encampment. Thus, transportation was provided without charge by the Union Pacific, other expenses were met by under the auspices of the Laramie Board of Trade and by the officers and Acting Governor Barber's staff. surplus tents and other equipment were provided by the Seventheenth Infantry. The First Regiment of the National Guard consisted of seven companies: Company A, Laramie City; Company B, Cheyenne; Company C, Buffalo; Company D, Rock Springs; Company E, Green River; Company F, Douglas; and Company G, Sheridan. Most of the companies had only just been formed. Indeed, many of the men in Company F had never worn their uniforms until they arrived at the encampment.

Hospital Tents, Camp Otis, approx. 1910.

Ultimately, the Army acquired in excess of 62,00 acres for the Reserve. It was extensively used prior to the World War I. Its use declined following the war and in 1925 the bulk of the Reserve was transferred to the Medicine Bow National Forest with the army retaining approximately 3,300 acres.

Camp Otis, 1909.

The military retained the rightto utilize the entire area. Use, however, prior to World war II, however, was limited and the area was primarily devoted, as it is today, primarily for recreation.

Setting up tents, Camp Otis, undated.

In 1936, the area was used for the filming of the cavalry sequences in Cecil B. DeMille's The Plainsman. With the change of name of Fort D.A. Russell, the area became known as the Fort Francis E. Warren Target and Naneuver Range. In October, 1936, President Franklin Roosevelt visited the range. He noted in a speech at Fort Warren that he had one concern, "I was telling the General when we were out a little west of here and saw the rifle ranges, that my only worry was that these boys who learned to shoot in this clear atmosphere would not be able to see the targets when they get back to the effete east."

During world War II, the area again was used for military training. In 1961, all military use was terminated and all administration was placed with National Forest Administration.

Training, Pole Mountain, 1943.

Next Page, Stage Lines.