The Mormons took possession of Fort Bridger in 1855, making much-needed improvements, including erecting a large cobblestone wall around the fort. However, in 1857, the fort was destroyed by the Mormons to hinder the advance of Albert Sidney Johnson's Army, which was being guided by none other than James Bridger. The army occupied the fort until 1890. Bridger tried to deal with the army regarding leasing the fort under the premise that the Mormons had forced him out and stolen it from him. During the 1870s and early 1880s, Bridger inquired about the army's lease, but without success.
Bridger died in July 1881. After his death, the government paid his widow for the improvements of the post, which consisted of thirteen log structures and the eighteen-foot-high cobblestone wall, which, ironically, were built by the Mormons.
See: Cecil J. Alter, Jim Bridger: A Historical Narrative (1986); Fred R. Gowans and Eugene E. Campbell, Fort Bridger, Island in the Wilderness (1975); LeRoy R. Hafen and Harvey L. Carter, eds., Mountain Men and Fur Traders of the Far West (1982); and Dale L. Morgan, ed., The West of William H. Ashley (1964).
S. Matthew Despain and Fred R. Gowans