Fort Morgan (Colorado)

Fort Morgan, first called Camp Tyler and Camp Wardwell, was established in the present-day city of Fort Morgan in Morgan County, Colorado as a U.S. military post in 1864. It operated until 1868. There is a historical marker in a city park in remembrance of its history.[1]

Fort Morgan
U.S. military post
Camp Tyler, Camp Wardwell
Fort Morgan
Coordinates: 40°15′41″N 103°48′00″W
CountryUnited States
CityFort Morgan


The station and military post, first called Camp Tyler, was established in 1859.[2] It is estimated that the Pike's Peak Gold Rush drew about 100,000 people to Colorado. The South Platte Trail was the safest route.[3] In 1859, a branch of the trail away from the South Platte River was established in the wilderness near the present day city of Fort Morgan during the gold rush to reduce the length of the trip to Denver. Fort Morgan was established in the mid-1860s as a defensive measure against the threat of attack by Native Americans.[4]

The military post was also called Camp Wardwell. Made a permanent fort with adobe and sod buildings in July 1865,[5] the fort was manned that year by Confederate prisoners of war, nicknamed "galvanized rebels", who had enlisted in the Union Army rather than continue their fate as POWs. Stationed with the soldiers was Captain M. H. Slater of the 1st Colorado Cavalry Regiment.[6] The goal of the post was to protect travelers along the Overland Trail (South Platte Trail) as well as neighboring ranchers.[6]

It was renamed Fort Morgan in 1866 for Christopher Morgan, the commanding officer of the 1st Regiment Illinois Volunteer Cavalry. He died January 20, 1866.[7][8] The Union Pacific Railway was built in the area and began offering rail service, which made the fort unnecessary by May 18, 1868 when it was abandoned.[8] A historical marker was established at the site of the fort at 229 Riverview Avenue by the Fort Morgan chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.[2]


  1. Jolie Anderson Gallagher (April 2, 2013). Colorado Forts: Historic Outposts on the Wild Frontier. Arcadia Publishing Incorporated. p. PT11. ISBN 978-1-61423-903-1.
  2. Stanley Buchholz Kimball (1988). Historic Sites and Markers Along the Mormon and Other Great Western Trails. University of Illinois Press. p. 161. ISBN 978-0-252-01456-7.
  3. Phyllis J. Perry (May 7, 2010). A Kid's Look at Colorado (Large Print 16pt). p. 117. ISBN 978-1-4587-5653-4.
  4. Jennifer Patten (June 11, 2011). In View of the Mountains: A History of Fort Morgan, Colorado. Jennifer Patten. p. PT14. ISBN 978-1-4581-2397-8.
  5. Jennifer Patten (June 11, 2011). In View of the Mountains: A History of Fort Morgan, Colorado. Jennifer Patten. p. PT14. ISBN 978-1-4581-2397-8.
  6. Frank Hall (1895). History of the State of Colorado, Embracing Accounts of the Pre-historic Races and Their Remains:. Blakely print. Company. p. 239.
  7. William Bright (2004). Colorado Place Names. Big Earth Publishing. p. 67. ISBN 978-1-55566-333-9.
  8. Robert Walter Frazer (1965). Forts of the West: Military Forts and Presidios, and Posts Commonly Called Forts, West of the Mississippi River to 1898. University of Oklahoma Press. p. 40. ISBN 978-0-8061-1250-3.
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