BRANCH: The Wet Route
DESIGNATION: Fort Dodge, Kansas
LOCATION: From the Site C-29 Marker, continue west 1 mile to the marker on the left.
GPS AT MARKER: N37 43.976 -- W99 56.143
TOPOGRAPHICAL EVIDENCE: None
PHYSICAL EVIDENCE: None
USGS AERIAL PHOTO: Fort Dodge, Kansas
MODERN DAY MAP: Santa Fe Trail Map Ford County, Kansas
TOPOGRAPHIC MAP: Topographic Map
HISTORIC DESCRIPTION: Fort Dodge was established as an U.S. Army post in April, 1865.
DISTANCE: From Site C-29, 1 mile.
Excerpted from Table of Distances:
Sanderson's Overland Stage Company
To Miles Fort Larned 31 Rock Hollow 9 Big Coon Creek 15 Aroyo Blanco 16 Little Coon Creek 4 Fort Dodge 11 Cimarron Crossing 25 Junction City Union August 4, 1866
COMMENTS: The above itinerary is that of The Dry Route. By extrapolation from this source, Fort Dodge is 1 mile west of Site C-29. Fort Dodge presently functions as the Kansas Soldiers Home. This location is also (Site I-30).
LEGAL DESCRIPTION: NW 1/4, Section 3, T-27-S, R-24-W, Ford County, Kansas.
Sketch by Theodore R. Davis
Township 27 South of Range 24 West, Ford County, Kansas
To the asst Adjutant General, Department of the Missouri
In Obedience to your endorsement dated Headquarters Dept of the Missouri, May 4, 1877, directing me to measure the "Wet and Dry" routes between this point and Ft. Dodge, I have to honor to submit the following report. The almost constant rains prevented my beginning the measurement until the 21st inst. I enclose herewith a sketch of the country passed over. The directions were taken by campass, and where opportunity offered I compared with the section corner stones placed by the government surveyor, and found that the course as indicated in the sketch is nearly correct. There were two odometers used, and from some cause that I can not discover one lost (by slipping of the wheel I presume) as by testing on a measured mile. I found that the other one measured correctly. The distances are therefore taken from that instrument as both trails are measured by the same instrument, and under nearly the same conditions of roads. I believe the distances in length of the two routes as given is nearly accurate. From Ft. Larned to Junction of Wet & Dry Routes near Ft. Dodge Ks. is Fifty & 97/100 miles, Dry Trails. From junction near Ft. Dodge to crossing of Coon Creek by the "wet route" Fifty and seven hundredths miles from crossing of Coon Creek to Ft. Larned, 9 6/100 miles. The wet route being 8 6/100 miles longer than the Dry.
On the Dry route there are no indications that water could be obtained in the Dry Season except at Big Coon Creek, thirty three miles from Ft. Larned, and possible in holes at Little Coon Creek, forty two miles and from all that I can learn from old plainsmen (Which agrees with the appearance of the trails) it was customary for all ox-trains going west from Ft. Larned to take the wet trail via Coon Creek, except after an unusually heavy rain, when water could be found in holes and ravines usually dry.
The trails at their greatest divergence are 10 miles apart. There was a bridge over the Pawnee below Ft. Larned, for a few months in 1865. I cannot ascertain exactly how long is was used, but about 4 months. Major H.C. Hass, Mo. Vols. was in command of this post at that time, and I am informed that he now resides in Leavenworth and might supply this information.
The Ford three miles below the Fort appears to have been the best, and has the largest trail leading to it. The next in importance as indicated by the size of the trail crossing it, was one mile below, the Fort, on the Dry Route to Zarah.
I am very respectfully your obt. servant,
William J. Lyster Capt. 19th Infty Commanding Post
Capt. William J. Lyster, Commanding Officer, Fort Larned, to Asst. Adjutant General, Department of Missouri, May 28, 1977, Post Orders Letters Sent and Letters Received, Records of the U. S. Army ____ Commands, 1821-1890, Record Group 393, National Archives and Records Service.
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