Sketch from the Official Report of the Stanbury Expedition (1849)

Fort Bridger

A mountain man named Jim Bridger began this fort as a trading post in 1842. It soon grew to be one of the most important outfitting points for emigrants along the Oregon Trail.

Mormon settlement near Fort Bridger led to tensions between the Mormon authorities and the federal government. President Buchanan dispatched U.S. troops to the area in 1857 under the command of Colonel A.S. Johnston.

The Mormons responded by quickly mobilizing the Nauvoo Legion. This guerrilla militia force burned down Fort Bridger and Fort Supply, stampeded thousands of army cattle, and set fire to the prairie grass and seventy-two army supply wagons.

A modern reconstruction of the fort.
Photo courtesy of Fort Bridger State
Historic Site, Wyoming Division of

The so-called "Mormon War" ended when US troops under Johnston occupied Salt Lake City, the Mormon capital. Fort Bridger was later rebuilt and served as a station on the Pony Express and Overland Stage routes until 1890, when the fort was finally abandoned.

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