A True Cavalry Fort In Sweetwater County

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If you are to get on I-80 and head east to exit 142, then head south on county road 19 until you reach BLM road 4409 and follow this until you reach BLM road 4410. Hang another left and follow this road until you see the remains of an few old buildings.

Now what are these buildings? Established in 1863, Fort Laclede was constructed by the U.S. Military and was occupied by Company B of the 11th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry as a Military Fort and Stage Station. The fort included barracks, corral and a gun tower. On surrounding hills, gun pits were constructed and maintained. In June 1865  the Cavalry had a skirmish with Indians roughly two miles east. The soldiers were drawn into an ambush and were rescued by other soldiers, assisted by employees of the Stage Station.

Photo Credit: Sweetwater County Museum

 

In August 1869 four men and a boy, all in masks, stopped the stage just west of the La Clede Station and took approximately $42,000 in gold bars and greenbacks. During the confusion of the holdup and getaway, the boy found became lost. He eventually wandered into a near-by Union Pacific work camp where he confessed to the robbery. He soon joined the lawmen who were looking for the bandits, and the stolen gold. They unfortunately lost the trail in lava rock, which is abundant in the area.

 

The Fort was abandoned later that year. The remaining four walls of the buildings at Fort La Clede show signs of what appear to be gun ports. The openings in the walls are by no means square and were evidently never intended to be fitted with any type of windows. These openings were probably covered with balnkets (or whatever else was handy) to keep out the wind and bitter cold of winter.

Photo Credit: Sweetwater County Museum

About 300 feet away from the remains of the La Clede Stage Station located along the road is an Overland Trail Marker. The ruins of the Fort and the Stage Station are on the south side of Bitter Creek.