Best Preserved Frontier Fort in the West - Fort Larned Old Guard Newsletter

Visitation For 1998
by Gia Lane, FLNHS Ranger
     Travelers from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and 29 foreign countries visited Fort Larned in 1998. Visitation at the Fort remained steady for 1998 with 43,530 visitors counted. Compared to 1997's total visitation of 43,563, our 1998 visitation showed a negligible decline of 0.1%.

     Summer months traditionally yield the highest number of visitors, and 1998 was no exception. The month of July brought the highest visitation number, with 6,445 visitors representing all 50 states plus Washington, DC, and ten foreign countries in that month alone. According to our visitor registration log, the five most frequently represented states were (in order): Kansas, Missouri, Texas, California, and Colorado. More visitors came from Germany, followed by England, than other foreign countries.

     Last year also brought a successful school tour season. April, May, September, and October were favored. Some 3,447 school children and sponsors from across the state traveled as far as 300 miles round-trip to visit Fort Larned. In all, we conducted 100 school tours representing 82 Kansas schools.

     A well-attended Christmas Open House program in December boosted that month's visitation statistics up 37% over the previous year. This year promises to be another successful year for Fort Larned NHS with spring school tours filling the calendar, and special activities planned throughout the remainder of 1999.

Hollywood Comes To Fort Larned (maybe)
     Fort Larned National Historic Site has received a request from a representative of a major Hollywood director, Burt Kennedy, for permission to shoot portions of a short film about "Comanche" at the park.

     Comanche was Captain Miles W. Keogh's horse at Little Big Horn. The horse was found on the battlefield badly wounded the second day following the fight. He lived out the rest of his life honored by the Army until he died at Fort Riley on November 7, 1891.

     Much of the film will be shot elsewhere, but the director hopes to use Fort Larned for the Army post shots. The Kansas Film Commission recommended the fort to the filmmaker, who toured the area in late Match to discuss the project with park staff. The film will not be a major movie production, but is more of a "labor of love" documentary by Kennedy, who was highly decorated as a member of the First Cavalry Division in the Pacific during WWII. Filming is tentatively set for mid June.

     Kennedy has directed many movies and television productions, especially westerns. A few of his credits include The War Wagon, Support your Local Gunfighter, The Train Robbers, and The Return of the Magnificent Seven.

     His television credits include Alamo: 13 Days to Glory, How the West Was Won, and Wild, Wild, West Revisited. He also produces and writes screenplays, including "Comanche."

     National Park Service areas generally allow motion pictures to be filmed in the parks as long as park resources and the visitor experience are not compromised. Currently, parks are not permitted to collect "location fees" for movies, although Congress is considering legislation to change that. Parks do not exercise editorial control over movies shot within their boundaries.

     Since we would like to have more visitors take advantage of our facilities at Fort Larned National Historic Site, we might benefit from the exposure a movie made here would give us. It will be interesting to see (if the film is shot here) if we experience an increase in visitation.
Steve Linderer, FLNHS Superintendent

Eventful Day For The Old Guard
     Everyone is invited to the annual meeting and a special program about the Hancock Expedition and the Cheyenne and Sioux village site. It promises to be an exciting and eventful program. It all takes place on Saturday, April 24.

     Living-history reenactors will portray soldiers at Fort Larned and Indians at the village site. There may be 16 tipis, a veritable village, weather permitting. The Kansas Corral of the Westerners will join the Old Guard for this meeting.

     The day will begin with the unveiling of Jerry Thomas' large painting of the village site. It is extraordinary, dramatic and historical, and prints are to be available for sale. Remember, these limited-edition prints will be the primary source of funds to purchase the village site.

     The speakers each bring a special expertise to the program. Cheyenne Chief Lawrence Hart, an authority on Cheyenne culture and history, will provide historical perspective about Cheyenne and Euro-American relations. He will define issues of conflict and evaluate the importance of what happened to the Cheyennes in April 1867.

     Cheyenne Chief Gordon Yellowman, professional artist and leader in preservation of Cheyenne culture, will identify cultural differences between Cheyennes and whites, identify leaders of the peace and warrior factions of the tribe, and assess the impact of the destruction of the village on the Cheyennes.

     Professor Timothy A. Zwink will discuss the Hancock Expedition, looking at the military side of the story. He will also assess the impact of the burning of the Cheyenne and Sioux village and explain how Hancock contributed to an expansion of warfare on the plains.

     Louis Kraft, biographer of Indian Agent Edward W. Wynkoop, will present Wynkoop's views on the incident at the village in April 1867. Wynkoop was present, and he was caught in the middle, trying to prevent the destruction of the village.

     Participants will have an opportunity to tour Fort Larned NHS before lunch, served by the Wet/Dry Routes Chapter of the Santa Fe Trail. Much of the afternoon will be spent at the village site. The Cheyennes will conduct a blessing ceremony, after which guests may tour the site and visit the Indian encampment.

     Activities will return to the fort for the evening, with a dinner served by the Wet/Dry Chapter. Following a brief business meeting, the program will close with a spectacular presentation of "Life in Custer's Cavalry" by Albert and Jennie Barnitz portrayed by Cecil and Jayne Pearce. Barnitz was an officer in the 7th Cavalry, part of the Hancock Expedition.

     Plan now to be a part of this Special Fort Larned Old Guard program to highlight the fort and the village site. It promises to be a day to remember. Reservations and prepayment for meals are required by April 16 (seating for meals is limited).

     Thanks to a generous donation from Patricia Campbell, the Old Guard has purchased a supply of pins stating "I visited Fort Larned NHS" to present to school children who tour the fort.

     On another front, Fort Larned Old Guard is seeking additional appropriations from Congress to complete work on some of the Fort's buildings. In every way possible the Old Guard seeks to enhance the remarkable resource we have in. Fort Larned National Historic Site.

     The Fort Larned Old Guard board of directors extends special thanks to those who have contributed to the village site project. The next land payment is due in June, with the final payment due one year later. With your help, this will be a grand achievement for historical preservation. I hope to see you on April 24.
Leo E. Oliva, Fort Larned Old Guard Chairman

Historical Perspective
     The Old Guard annual meeting program will include a presentation by Louis Kraft entitled "Indian Agent Ned Wynkoop and the Pawnee Fork Incident." Kraft is currently writing a biography of Wynkoop. The biographical information that follows is adapted from Robert M. Utley's Life in Custer's Cavalry, Diaries and Letters of Albert and Jennie Barnitz:

     "A man of ability and humanity, Wynkoop played a key role in the relations between the Southern Cheyennes and the whites from 1864 to 1868. As a major in the 1st Colorado Cavalry in 1864, he commanded Fort Lyon when the tension began to build that led ultimately to the Sand Creek Massacre.

     "Wynkoop came to have an understanding and sympathy for the Indians not shared by most Coloradoans and certainly not by his superior, Colonel John M. Chivington. The latter of course prevailed, with Sand Creek the result.

     "After the war, as Indian agent for the Cheyennes and Arapahos, Wynkoop worked hard from 1866 to 1868 to prevent hostilities. He vigorously championed the cause of his charges and defended them when accused of depredations.

     Often he was right but often, also, wrong, and he lost credibility with both army officers and frontier settlers. Wynkoop's office was first located at Fort Zarah and was then moved to Fort Larned.

     "After the Cheyenne outbreak of 1868, he resigned in disillusion. His letter of resignation was a long and labored vindication of the Cheyennes, whom he pictured as innocent victims of blundering government policies. After the Battle of the Washita he publicly likened Custer to Chivington and the battle to Sand Creek.

     "Born in Philadelphia on June 19, 1836, Wynkoop emigrated to Kansas in the mid1850s. In 1858 he joined the Pike's Peak gold rush and was one of the founders of Denver. With the outbreak of the Civil War, he was commissioned in the 1st Colorado Volunteers and in March 1862 fought as a company commander at Apache Canyon and Glorieta Pass, where the Confederate invasion of New Mexico was turned back.

     "After his resignation as Indian agent in 1868, Wynkoop returned to Pennsylvania and went into the iron-making business. Ruined by the Panic of 1873, he participated in the Black Hills gold rush and briefly fought Indians, in company with the "poet-scout" Captain Jack Crawford, in a local ranger unit. Thereafter he wandered from one job to another, including Adjutant General of New Mexico and warden of the New Mexico Penitentiary. He died in Santa Fe on September 11, 1891, and was buried in the national cemetery there. A biographical sketch by his son, Edward E. Wynkoop, appears in the Kansas Historical Collections, volume 13 (1913-14), pages 71-79."

     Agent Wynkoop accompanied General Hancock to the Cheyenne-Sioux village site in his capacity as Indian agent to the Cheyennes, Arapahos, and Plains Apaches. He was an unhappy witness to the destruction on April 19, 1867. After he unsuccessfully appealed to Hancock to spare the village, the agent defended his position in a series of letters.

     The last edition of OUTPOST included the first portion of a long letter from Wynkoop to his superior, Superintendent Thomas Murphy, dated June 11, 186 7. The letter concludes:

     "The Indian village consisted of 14 Lodges of Sioux' and 132 Lodges of Cheyennes. Immediately upon the Indians flight, Gen. Hancok, intimated his intention of destroying the village, which I protested against over my official signature, and a copy of which letter I have already transmitted to the Department.

     "The Indians upon their flight were by order of Gen. Hancock pursued by Gen. Custer with his cavalry and in a communication he forwarded to Gen. Hancock he stated that the Cheyenne Indians had fled south, while he was continuing on the Sioux' trail which led toward the north; at a later date he reported that the Sioux' upon crossing the Smoky Hill had burned a Ranche and killed three men, upon the receipt of which communication Gen. Hancock immediately ordered the intire village to be destroyed; notwithstanding there was no evidence that the Cheyennes had committed any overt act since their flight. Their village was destroyed as well as the Sioux. In a former communication I have forwarded an inventory of the property contained in both villages, although the Sioux' are not included in my agency.

     "About the time of the destruction of the village; six Cheyenne Indians while crossing the Arkansas River on foot above Fort Dodge were attacked by a command of Cavalry and killed; nothwithstanding all these facts there is as yet no evidence that any of these persecuted Indians of my Agency, have in any manner retaliated; since their flight they have remained far south of the Arkansas River and the only Indians who have committed any depredations since that time have been the Kiowa's; the same Indians whom Gen Hancock proposed to "arm, feed, clothe and mount"; for the purpose of making war upon these poor persecuted Cheyennes whom from the time of the base treachery practised Sand Creek by our own race should have the sympathy of all humanity.

     "Gen. Hancock has declared war upon the Cheyennes, and ordered all to be shot who make their appearance north of the Arkansas or south of the Plate Rivers; the question is what have these Indians done to cause such action and it is to be hoped that the Department will have such question answered."

Chronology Displaced: One Day Lost In The Hancock Account
by David Clapsaddle Fort Larned Old Guard Member
     In the well-documented expedition of 1867, troops under the command of Major General Winfield Scott Hancock arrived at Pawnee Fork on April 7. They encamped one mile east of Fort Larned at the site designated as Camp 11 by First Lieutenant (Engineer) Brown.

Brown's Map Camp 11

     On April 13, after waiting out a snowstorm and counciling with warriors from the Cheyenne-Sioux village located upstream on the Pawnee, Hancock led his troops westward along the Pawnee's south bank. Enroute, Lieutenant Brown's engineering squad constructed a pontoon bridge across the Pawnee near the present town of Burdett.

     Crossing the stream without incident, the troops proceeded west on the north bank of the Pawnee to occupy Camp 12, 2 3/4 miles west of the crossing site, or 21 miles and 223 yards from Camp 11 near Fort Larned. This location is near the confluence of Buckner Creek and Pawnee Fork.

     On April 14, the columns continued west 1 1/2 miles where they surmounted a low ridge to confront several hundred warriors from the aforementioned village drawn up in a line of battle. Subsequent to a council between Hancock and his officers and a complement of Cheyenne and Sioux warriors, the Indians returned to the village followed by Hancock's command. Hancock described the march as follows:

     "The command followed in the direction the Indians had taken, and after a march of ten and one half (10 1/2) miles from our camp of yesterday, we approached their villages which were found to be situated in a beautiful grove on the North Fork of Pawnee. We encamped within one half mile of their villages, which we found to contain about three hundred (300) lodges---Sioux and Cheyenne."

     Other primary resources tell a similar story. Both Henry Stanley and Theodore Davis, correspondents accompanying the expedition, described the troops camping near the village on April 14. Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer, Captain Albert Bernitz, and Surgeon Isaac Coates likewise placed the troops in camp near the village on the 14th.

     Secondary sources are also in agreement. Authorities such as George Bird Grinnell and Donald J. Berthong reported that the troops camped close to the village on the same day as the confrontation west of Camp 12. Later writers such as Minnie Dubbs Millbrook, Robert Utley, Wilbur Sturtevant Nye, John H. Monnett, and Stan Hoig follow suit.

     Both eyewitnesses and 20th-century writers echo the Hancock report. Not a single writer departs from the notion that the troops camped near the Cheyenne--Sioux village on April 14.

     There remains, however, a notable exception: Lieutenant M.R. Brown.

     Brown's map of the expedition, studded with helpful notes, has the troops encamped on the north bank of the Pawnee on April 14 at Camp 13, 10 miles and 839 yards from Camp 12.

Brown's Map Camp 12

     Brown described the location as being "1 mile below the Indian camp." In the same notation, he added, "Moved from this camp on the morning of the 15th built a permanent log bridge across the Fork and camped south bank 1 mile 752 yards."

     Brown's map clearly delineates Camp 13, the bridge location, the march up the south bank of the Pawnee, and Camp 14, about half a mile from the village.

     Brown's record is at odds with the previously mentioned accounts. However, if his observations are correct, the generally accepted chronology of Hancock's expedition from April 13 forward is askew and the itinerary is misrepresented. Such calculations omit a full day, disregard Camp 13 on the north bank of the Pawnee, and dismiss the construction of the permanent log bridge.

Brown's Map Camp 13 & 14

     To those concerned with the finer details of the Hancock Expedition, Brown's record presents an interesting problem. How can his account be reconciled with those previously discussed? Parenthetically, none of the other sources, primary or secondary, so much as mentions Brown one time.

     Perhaps further investigation will shed light on this dilemma.

     Letters Received by the Office of Adjutant General, 1867, roll 562, microcopy 619, National Archives & Records Services, Washington, DC

     Henry M. Stanley, My Early Travels and Adventures in America (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1982), page 239.

     Theodore Davis, "A Summer on the Plains," Harper's New Monthly Magazine, (volume 36, number 213, February 1868), page 295.

     General George Armstrong Custer, My Life on the Plains (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1966), page 49.

     Robert M. Utley (editor), Life in Custer's Cavalry Dairies and Letters of Albert and Jennie Barnitz, 1867-1868 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1987), page 33.

     W.J.D. Kennedy, On the Plains with Cluster. The Journal of Isaac Coates, Army Surgeon (Boulder, Johnson Books, 1997), page 66.

     George Bird Grinnell, The Fighting Cheyennes (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1955), page 252.

     Donald J. Berthong, The Southern Cheyennes (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1963), page 276.

     Minnie Dubbs Millbrook, "Custer's First Scout in the West," Kansas Historical Quarterly, volume 39 (Spring 1973), page 81.

     Robert M. Utley, Cavalier in Buckskin: George Armstrong Custer and the Western Frontier (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1989), page 49.

     William Sturtevant Nye, Plains Indian Raiders: The Final Phases of Warfare from the Arkansas to Red River (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press., 1987), page 72.

     John H. Monnett, The Battle of Beecher Island and the Indian War of 1867-1869 (Niwot, Colorado: University of Colorado Press, 1992), page 51.

     Stan Hoig, The Battle of Washita (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1976), page 6.

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