The Online Encyclopedia of Wyoming History

Thirteen Ways to Think About the Wagon Box Fight

Thirteen Ways to Think About the Wagon Box Fight

Quiz Yourself

Here are some questions to ask before you visit the site of the Wagon Box Fight, while you’re there, and again after you return:

  1. What was the Wagon Box Fight? When did it occur?
  2. Why was it called the Wagon Box Fight? Why did this conflict happen?
  3. What fort was nearest to the fighting? Did the Wagon Box Fight occur on the grounds of the fort, or somewhere else?
  4. Why was the timber in the Bighorn Mountains nearby important in connection with the Wagon Box Fight?
  5. Other than soldiers and Indians, were there any other people involved in this battle?
  6. What made this fight different from others that occurred during Red Cloud’s War?
  7. What weapons did the soldiers use? What weapons did the Indian warriors use? Name the tribes involved. Did either side have an advantage because of their weapons?
  8. What was Red Cloud’s War? Why did the Indian Wars occur?
  9.  How were wagon boxes used in this fight? How did they help or hinder the soldiers and the Indians?
  10. How many soldiers fought in the battle? How many Indian warriors?
  11. How long did the fighting last?
  12. What led to the end of the Wagon Box Fight? Which side won? Why?
  13. What happened to Fort Phil Kearny after this fight?

THERE ARE HUNDREDS of more good questions a person could ask about the Wagon Box Fight.

SEND three interesting Wagon Box Fight questions of your own to editor@wyohistory.org. Be sure to identify your school and classroom teacher or note if you are home schooled when you send in questions. Contact editor@wyohistory.org for information on a 2014-2015 contest for submitting the most questions.

Note to teachers:

This lesson addresses a number of the Wyoming State Social Studies Standards detailed in the 2013 draft of Wyoming Social Studies Content and Performance Standards, benchmarked for the ends of grades 2, 5, 8 and 12. All are available at http://edu.wyoming.gov/sf-docs/publications/DRAFT_2013_Social_Studies_Standards.pdf?

More specifically, the lesson addresses Content Standard 4, Time, Continuity and Change, under which students analyze events, people, problems, and ideas within their historical contexts, and Content Standard 5, People, Places and Environments, under which students apply their knowledge of the geographic themes (location, place, movement, region, and human/environment interactions) and skills to demonstrate an understanding of interrelationships among people, places, and environment.

Under Content Standard 4, the lesson addresses standards SS5.4.4. SS8.4.4 and SS12.4.4, which call for students to discuss, identify or describe historical interactions between and among individuals, families, and cultural/ethnic groups, and standards SS5.4.5, SSD8.4.5 and 12.4.5, which call for students to understand the difference between primary and secondary sources, and how to use them in their research.

Under Content Standard 5, this lesson addresses the Human Place and Movement standards SS2.5.3, SS5.5.3 (which specifically mentions American Indians and the Oregon Trail), SS8.5.3 and SS12.5.3, and the Environment and Society standards SS2.5.4, SS5.5.4, SS8.5.4 and SS12.5.4, which call on students to understand how people in Wyoming adjust and have adjusted to their physical and geographical environment.