Fort D.A. Russell was established west of Cheyenne in 1867, garrisoned with cavalry and infantry. The first black troops stationed near the fort were Troop K of the 9th Cavalry, sent to Wyoming in 1887 by President Grover Cleveland to protect federal employees who were removing illegal fencing. In September 1898, four companies of the black 24th Infantry, fresh from combat in the Spanish-American War in Cuba, were posted at the fort.
Troop E of the 10th Cavalry was stationed at the fort in 1902. They were just back from the conflicts in the Philippines between U.S. troops and Filipino guerillas, which stretched on for years after the U.S. victory over Spain in 1898.
Soldiers from Troop E participated in Frontier Days that July, in a dramatic, staged rescue of a stagecoach from “hostile” Indians—actually Shoshone and Arapaho volunteers from the Shoshone Reservation in Fremont County. These were peacetime years, and the soldiers were fairly well received by the people of Cheyenne.
The 9th Cavalry arrived at Fort D.A. Russell in 1909. A year later the 9th was sent to the Mexican border in response to instabilities from the growing Mexican Revolution, but returned to Fort Russell after a few months.
The 9th was again sent to the border in September 1912. The 24th Infantry returned to Fort Russell in 1916 after an absence of many years, but stayed only a month before that regiment, too, was sent to the border in response to raids into Arizona by Mexican irregulars under Pancho Villa.
The fort was designated a National Historic Landmark on May 15, 1975.