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Fort Larned Kansas

Photos Mike Sinnwell August 2015

On October 22, 1859 Captain George H. Stewart, commanding Company K of the First United States Cavalry, was sent out with his company to establish a mail escort station on the line of the Santa Fe Trail. On October 22nd he selected a site on the south bank of Pawnee Fork, eight miles from the mouth of the river and established a camp, which was first called the "Camp on Pawnee Fork." The original structure was built of sod in the heart of Indian hunting grounds.

On February 1, 1860, the camp was renamed "Camp Alert" and just a few months later, it moved 2 ½ miles west on May 29, 1860, and was renamed again to Fort Larned, in honor of Colonel B. F. Larned, the current paymaster-general of the United States Army.

This was a key military post during the Indian Wars and also to protect people traveling the Santa Fe trail. It was a major supply point and it played a role in a number of treaties including the Medicine Lodge treaties of 1867. During the late 1860’s the Buffalo Soldiers were stationed at the post.