One of history's great but little celebrated rides was made between midnight December 21st and Christmas night December 25th in the year 1866. From here at Fort Phil Kearny, where annihilation of Fetterman's force had left the garrison in desperate straits, this ride spanned 236 miles to strategic Fort Laramie, the nearest hope for any succor. John "Portugee" Phillips, shrouded in snow and driven by an arctic wind, made that ride. He rode the Commanding Officer's superb thoroughbred and he rode by night and hid by day, or used the bitter yet advantageous storm to hide his movements and blot his tracks. Thus he eluded pursuing Indians who, anticipating a necessary dash for aid, sought to intercept the speeding pair - resourceful messenger and courageous steed.