Though construction of Fort Phil Kearny was complete by August of 1867, the need of wood for burning and alterations continued. Colonel John E. Smith, the post commander, located wood cutting camps on Big and Little Piney Creeks five miles west of the fort. Civilian wood cutters worked at the upper and lower pineries on Big Piney and at another pinery located on Little Piney.To protect the wood cutters from constant attack by Indians, blockhouses were built at the Big Piney Pineries and along the wood road to the fort. A company of infantry armed with the 50-70 Allin Conversion Rifle (a converted Springfield musket, which was breach-loading and fired metal cased cartridges) were assigned to protect the cutters and wood train. Their duties were rotated with other companies on a monthly basis. The soldiers operated out of a camp located at a corral built by the wood contractors to hold the mules at night. The corral was made of 14 wagon boxes, removed from the running gears, and placed in an oval measuring 30' by 70'. It was located on a plateau between Big and Little Piney Creeks, at the junction of the wood roads, and visible from Pilot Knob, a lookout point near the fort. One box at the west end of the corral and another on the south side were covered to protect supplies for the soldiers and civilians. An additional supply wagon was located ten feet to the west. The soldiers and civilians slept in tents outside the corral.