"Cemetery" by NPS / Nathan King , public domain
Official Brochure of Fort Larned National Monument (NM) in Kansas. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).
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Fort Larned Fort Larned National Historic Site Kansas National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Visited and inspected the new buildings finished and in process at the Post. They are all of stone, and are really fine structures. Albert Barnitz, Capt. 7th US Cavalry, 1868 Supplies and Trade Items The commissary stocked goods from throughout the US. At Fort Larned, which lies just steps from the Santa The post evolved from a rough, temporary camp set The fort also hosted Indian agents for the Cheyenne, Fe Trail, cultures mixed every day. Soldiers met up in 1859 to guard the construction of an adobe Arapaho, Plains Apache, Kiowa, and Comanche Plains Indians, European American and Hispanic mail station. It was a bustling soldier town by 1867 tribes. In 1867, peace commissioners appointed by teamsters, homesteaders, hide hunters, scouts, and but became a near ghost town by 1878. The soldiers’ Congress met at Fort Larned to plan the Medicine railroad workers. US Army regulars served with primary purpose was to escort mail coaches and Lodge treaties. paroled Confederates. The fort housed African military supply wagons on the trail. Their broader Americans later known as Buffalo Soldiers, who mission was to keep the peace on the plains—and A huge American flag flew atop a 100-foot pole at the formed Company A of the 10th Cavalry. take action when required. parade ground center. Many travelers saw the flag as a beacon of strength and security, but for the Plains Indians it symbolized lost freedom. Touring the Fort Although Fort Larned is one of the From 1865 to 1868 over 200 civilians labored to complete ten sandstone buildings, boosting the local economy. Nine of these buildings still stand. Construction and the freighting of supplies among the western forts were welcome sources for civilian contracts. best-preserved western forts, its appearance today belies that of the late 1860s (depicted below). The many wood and adobe buildings outside the central parade ground (hospital, laundry, stables, mail station, bowling alley, teamsters’ quarters, and others labeled in italic) quickly deteriorated and do not survive. Santa Fe Trail Spanning 900 miles of the Great Plains, the trail offered riches and adventure for some—at the risk of hardship and peril. Many westbound wagons carried military supplies, metal tools, cloth, and alcohol. Other goods included hardware like fish hooks, trade items like cut glass beads, home goods like cookware, S an Trai ta Fe and staples like brown Havana sugar and coffee. Some Plains Indians viewed travelers on the trail as trespassers. As clashes grew more frequent, the US government ex panded the string of forts along the trail to protect American interests and promote peace. l / Stag First Mail Station US Postmas Pawnee Fo e R oute 60 to 292 men, but throughout Fort Larned’s lifetime its numbers rose and fell. Factors included the US Army’s need for troops to fight back east in the Civil War, the inter mittent nature of Indian hostilities, and evolving US government policy toward the tribes. ter General Joseph Holt asked the War Department to protect the Pawnee Fork mail station from Indian raids in 1859. The US Army soon arrived and by 1860 began constructing a permanent fort. In 1861 the garrison expanded from Quartermaster stables rk 1859 mail station Hospital Quartermaster wagon yard Laundry Barracks Visitor Center Shops Cemetery Barracks New commissary Blockhouse Adjutant’s office Company officers quarters Old commissary Commanding officer’s quarters Dugout Cavalry stables Quartermaster storehouse Company officers quarters Sa nt e aF il Tra Icehouse Teamsters quarters Sutler’s store Billiard room Sutler’s mess house Indian agency Indian Agency By 1866 two Indian agents had set up offices at Fort Larned—Edward W. Wynkoop for the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes and Jesse Leavenworth for the Kiowa, Plains Apache, and Comanche. In 1868, two days after Lt. Col. George Custer led an attack on a peaceful Cheyenne camp on the Washita River, Wynkoop resigned. Tribes Tribes visited the Indian agency (see illustration, right) to collect annuities—including guns, blankets, tools, clothing, coffee, and flour— promised them in the Little Arkansas and Medicine Lodge treaties of 1865 and 1867 in exchange for their lands (see other side). Congress intended the annuities to placate the tribes, help them adopt European American ways, and help them adapt to life on the reservations. Second sutler’s store and bowling alley Buffalo Soldiers One of the first African American cavalry units of the post-Civil War US Army, Company A, 10th Cavalry, arrived at Fort Larned in April 1867. In late December 1868 after a fight over a billiards game, the cavalry stables burned. Arson was suspected but no witnesses came forward. On the night of the fire, commanding officer Major John Yard had ordered Company A to guard a distant wood pile. Soon after, Yard transferred the unit to Fort Zarah rather than deal with the racial tensions. PHOTOS—NPS ILLUSTRATION—NPS / JAMES R. MANN Visiting Fort Larned Fort Larned National Historic Site is six miles west of Larned, Kansas, on KS 156. The fort is open daily 8:30 am to 4:30 pm; closed Thanksgiving, December 25, and January 1. Call or check our website for pro grams and special events through out the year. You must schedule guided group tours in advance. Accessibility We strive to make our facilities, services, and programs accessible to all. For information go to a visitor center, ask a ranger, call, or check our website. For Your Safety For a safe Help Us Protect the Park visit, use caution and common sense. Please observe all hard hat and other warning signs around buildings undergoing restoration or stabilization. Be alert for un even ground and non-standard steps. Please keep children a safe distance from the Pawnee River. The National Park Service works to stabilize the fort’s buildings and prevent deterioration. We need your help to ensure that future generations can see the fort as you see it today. Do not disfigure the fort by scratching, carving, or marking names and initials on walls or sandstone blocks. Federal laws protect all natural and cultur al features in the park. For a complete list of regulations including firearms, check the park website. Fort Larned National Historic Site is one of over 400 parks in the National Park System. To learn more visit www.nps.gov. More Information Fort Larned National Historic Site 1767 KS Hwy 156 Larned, KS 67550 620-285-6911 www.nps.gov/fols Emergencies call 911 IGPO:2020—411224/82468 New in 2017 Printed on recycled paper. Reshaping Landscapes and Nations FREEDOM After the 1680s, when Plains Indians first mounted food for sustenance. By the 1860s, a stream of new- horses, tribes including the Cheyenne, Arapaho, comers and changing US government policies limited Plains Apache, Lakota, Kiowa, and Comanche the tribes’ access to the bison herds and imposed prairies. There I feel free and happy, but when we moved across the region in pursuit of bison. The strict boundaries. Commerce, aided by the US Army, settle down we grow pale and die. animal provided for their material culture—skins had become an agent of change. Kiowa chief, Satanta, 1867 I don’t want to settle. I love to roam all over the for tipis, clothing, and trade, bone for tools—and UM AND KS MUSE FAIRBAN IUM PLANETAR LIBRARY OF CONGRESS At the Medicine Lodge peace negotiations Satanta explained why his people should not be ”concentrated” on reservations. By 1871, urged on by the military, Congress abandoned diplomacy and gave the tribes a stark choice, annihilation or the reservations. BOUNDARIES The Santa Fe Trail followed the same river that had served as boundary for the two groups. The river also formed Mexico’s northern border until 1848. COLORADO SPRINGS FINE ARTS CENTER / ROSS FRANK ECONOMY POWER International Trade Routes The Santa Fe Trail linked suppliers in the American West with traders in New York (above), New Orleans, and European cities. Kiowa leader Satanta grew wealthy as a supplier of bison hides. The idea of manifest destiny, that God intended the nation “to possess the whole of the continent,” was a justification for the US-Mexico War, 1846–48. ABUNDANCE As late as the 1860s many people saw the bison as an endless resource. Plains Indian stories tell of the herds’ origin in caves or below lakes from which they ”swarmed, like bees from a hive.” TRADE Hide hunters, encouraged by the US Army, harvested the bison to the point of near extinction. Bison bones thickly littered the prairies. In 1884 the last rail shipment of hides left the plains. Demand had exceeded supply. WIKIPEDIA CULTURE Santa Fe Trail Some goods shipped west along the Santa Fe Trail continued south to Chihuahua and Sonora along the Camino Real. Eastbound goods included gold, silver, donkeys, mules, furs, and wool. The Spanish dollar (left) was legal tender in the US until 1857. Plains Indian Art after the 1860s While imprisoned at Fort Marion, Florida, from 1874 to 1878, Plains Indians made these drawings on paper. Before the 1860s they would have painted on bison hide. LEDGER ART, CLOCKWISE FROM UPPER LEFT: BAD EYE, BULL RIDER BITER, KIOWA TIPIS SURROUND WAGON UNKNOWN ARTIST, ELK SOCIETY HORSE RAID ARROW’S ELK SOCIETY LEDGER MORNING STAR GALLERY / ROSS FRANK WILLIAM HAYES, GATHERING OF THE BUFFALO HERDS,1866 AMERICAN MUSEUM OF WESTERN ART ANSCHUTZ COLLECTION The new nation expands west. Santa Fe Trail traffic increases. Congress invests in the frontier forts. Peace Commission fails. By 1821 an overland trade route links Missouri and The US Army must protect the flow of military sup- The military expands its presence along the Santa Fe The US Army takes charge. Fort Larned provides the Mexican city of Santa Fe. The route crosses plies, the mail, commerce, and emigrants along the Trail and other trade corridors. support for the resulting campaign against the “open country” where Plains Indians live and hunt. trail, even as it fights the Civil War. Indians and hosts key military officers. 1821 Mexico wins independence 1836 Republic of Texas proclaims 1859 Colorado Gold Rush. Over 1860 Fort Larned established 1864 Kiowas take over 200 from Spain. Missouri becomes a state. Santa Fe Trail opens. Trade flows via the 900-mile-long trail between Missouri and Santa Fe and south to Chihuahua and Sonora. Traders call it the Mexican or Santa Fe Road. independence from Mexico. 1845 US annexes Republic of Texas. Mexico severs diplomatic relations, asserts ownership of annexed land between the Nueces and Rio Grande rivers. 100,000 gold seekers cross the Central Plains, many on the Santa Fe Trail. Many Indians resist the invasion of their hunting grounds and sacred places. when camp is renamed and moved to its present site. By September its population grows to 270 men, housed in rough wood and adobe structures. mules and horses from the fort’s corrals. Cheyennes attack a store and stage company at Walnut Creek. 1824 US Secretary of War 1846 US declares war on Mexico. establishes the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The goal is to manage US relations with Indian tribes. 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe- 1830 President Andrew Jackson signs the Indian Removal Act. It forces Indians from lands east of the Mississippi River to western areas including present-day Kansas and Oklahoma. The act establishes a legal precedent for removal and launches decades of treaty making. 1834 Indian Trade and Intercourse Camp on Pawnee Fork. Set up to guard a US mail station, it soon becomes known as Camp Alert because of constant threats from Kiowas and Comanches. Hidalgo. Mexico cedes over half its territory to the US. The cession includes all or portions of Texas, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, California, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Oklahoma, and Kansas. 1861 Kansas becomes 34th state. Civil War begins. 1862 Congress passes Homestead and Pacific Railway Acts. 1854 Kansas Territory established, US Army awards Hispanic merchant Epifanio Aguirre a contract to freight five million pounds of supplies to the frontier forts. Thirty miles north of Fort Larned, US troops kill Cheyenne peace chief Lean Bear as he proclaims friendship and holds a peace medal that President Lincoln presented to him. Indian attacks and US Army retaliation increase. Detachments of the 1st and 3rd Regiments, Colorado Volunteer Cavalry, massacre 230 Cheyennes and Arapahos who believe themselves under US protection at Sand Creek, Colorado Territory. opens Indian Country to European American settlers and increases need for military presence in the region. Act. The act loosely defines Indian Country, which includes the future state of Kansas. 1865 Civil War ends. Gen. Robert Company C, 3rd US Infantry, in front of Fort Larned barracks, 1867. KANSAS STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY E. Lee surrenders to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox. 1865 Little Arkansas Treaties with Southern Cheyennes, Southern Arapahos, Plains Apaches, Kiowas, and Comanches assign the tribes to reservations in present-day Oklahoma. The Indians keep the right to hunt north of the Arkansas River so long as bison are there. 1866–68 Civilian contractors construct Fort Larned’s permanent stone barracks, officers quarters, blockhouse, storehouse, shops, and commissaries. 1867 Kiowa chief Satanta issues warning to Indian Agent Edward Wynkoop’s interpreter: “The white man must build no more houses, must burn no more of their wood, must drink no more of their water, must not drive their buffaloes off, and the Santa Fe Line must be stopped.” 1867 Gen. Winfield Hancock 1868 Peace Commission is arrives at Fort Larned with 1,400 men. He summons several chiefs from a nearby village to a council at the fort. Fearing an attack, the Indians abandon their village. Hancock sends Lt. Col. George Custer in pursuit and burns the village, setting off Hancock’s War. In response, Cheyennes and Lakota attack stage stations, wagon trains, telegraph lines, and railroad camps. dissolved. Department of War enacts policy of “peace within, war without [the reservations].” Congress appoints four civilian and three military commissioners, including Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, to a Peace Commission. The aim is to ”concentrate” the Plains Indians onto reservations. Medicine Lodge Treaties. Hundreds of Kiowas, Arapahos, Cheyennes, Plains Apaches, and Comanches meet with the Peace Commission at Medicine Lodge Creek, Kansas. The resulting treaties fail to achieve peace. Gen. Philip Sheridan meets with Indian leaders at Fort Larned. Soon after, he launches a new strategy intended ”to make [the Plains] tribes poor by the destruction of their stock, and then settle them on lands allotted to them.” As part of this campaign, Custer leads an attack on a peaceful Cheyenne village on the Washita River. Peace chief Black Kettle and his wife, Medicine Woman Later, are among those killed. 1871 All treaty making ends. 1872 Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad reaches Fort Larned and the western border of Kansas. 1878 Fort Larned is decommissioned. NORTH WIND PICTURE ARCHIVES Plains Indian Tribes divided into two groups north and south of the Arkansas River. They fought for control of the grasses—to feed their horses—and bison herds until 1840, when they reached a peace.